Quite recently we had a short visit to family and friends in Bogota. The day after Christmas we would travel to London to visit Pablo, Ingrid and Juan. We went to the Northern part of the city, close to Soratama, northeast of Bogota.
How to get there? After walking a bit, Constanza called a yellow cab. It was one of those small cabs out of the 53,000 that conforms the yellow shade moving all over the city. This was a small car with a corpulent driver. Though we started to chat, he was the one who steered it most of the time. He steered both, the car and our conversation.
Our conversation was not on major Petro and the traffic jams, or about the lack of work because of the excess of yellow taxis all over the city. He started by telling us that based on his experience, he followed a few rules for choosing a passenger. Anywhere in the city he would pick up women, because they were not aggressive. You could not expect a woman attacking or robbing you. Choosing a woman could happen in the Southern or in the Northern part of Bogotá.
Choosing a man as a passenger would be a completely different matter. If he was in the Southern part of the city, he would reject one or several male passengers. They have proven to be dangerous. In the north, you could feel that men were friendlier, so it was a bit easier to get them on board.
It was at this moment when he told us that before driving a taxi, he used to be a body guard. He had to guard important military people, and he had to face so difficult situations that his work was very dangerous. Several times he had to kill in order to defend a general or a lieutenant. His job became so dangerous that his health started to deteriorate and he was even scared from his own shadow.
When we were reaching our destination he was telling us that you can trust men in the North because they are wealthier, while people in the South – particularly the neros – are poorer and it is difficult to accept them as passengers. They can rob and kill you! When you get men on board you have to distribute the money you have on several places inside the car. You have to keep a gun too and once they start to collect the money, you get your own weapon and shoot them!
Instead of travelling to the South, he had chosen to be a taxi driver, giving attention to a small neighbourhood, choosing female passengers. Immediately we started to see the taxi cabs and then we realised that most – if not all – of the passengers were women!