Friday, September 10, 2004

New Orleans (IV)

A random act of kindness from a taxi driver.
I was just walking back from a far away neighborhood where I ended up after a dinner with a friend. I walked her home and on my way back to the hotel, I stopped and ended up listening to some blues in a half deserted pub. The music is good enough to keep me there until the end of the set. When I exit the pub I decide to walk back to the hotel. The street is deserted but I feel at ease in this town which reminds me of France.
I have not walked 2 meters when I see a cab pulling next to me. I signaled to the driver that I am walking but I see the passenger window going down and I hear the driver telling me "I'll drive you for free". More intrigued than anything else, I approach the car smiling. "Really? For free? What kind of taxi driver are you?" He smiles. "The kind that gives free rides. I'll drive you anywhere you want". I open the door and jump in still laughing, and gives him the address of my hotel. It's a posh hotel in the center of the French Quarter. I insist that he could drop me anywhere, really, but he shrugs my argument off and start driving. We talk. He is a student in architecture, born in New York and raised in Pakistan. He'll be done in a couple of years. Drive a cab to pay for his studies. I laugh again. "At this rate, you'll never graduate!". We arrive at the hotel and I ask him for a card so I can give him a call for the ride back to the airport (a large fare) but realize that he wants to drive me there for free. I insist to pay the full price and some more. We're in front of the hotel arguing about it for about 5 minutes. I finally exit the car laughing and loving this town a bit more.

In the hotel, the small lizard that I disturbed on my way to the computer room. It slips under the door of room 258. I'll have to check my room carefully.


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