It was a very warm afternoon and I was sweating in and out, standing under the heat of the Maldivian Sun, waiting for a taxi to take me for a ride to the ferry terminal.
I just finished a meeting with my client, a Maldivian gentleman, and he was nice enough to help me get (wait for) a taxi. Their office is in the weirdest of locations in Male’, a one way street, almost like a dead end. It was almost near the pier area, a place that looks more like for cargo and shipments than for people.
It took us about 20minutes to get a taxi. A lot of taxis passed by but none were vacant until finally, one stopped. I bid my client goodbye and sat on the front passenger seat, which I don’t usually do.
The driver was talking in Dhivehi (Maldivian language) and I thought maybe he has a blue tooth on his ear talking on the phone. Until I realized he was talking to me.
“I don’t understand Dhivehi,’ I said. But he kept talking. He was smiling. I thought he was just friendly. So as he kept talking, I asked ‘Ehentha?’ which is almost similar to “Is it?”
He looked at me, surprised that I was able to utter one word. He was very happy and he started talking in Dhivehi again laughing, waving his hands in excitement and then finally his excited hands landed on my knee. I was shocked. I couldn’t say anything. He removed his hand and he started talking in a mix of Dhivehi and English. He was asking questions but I never answered. It was a very uncomfortable feeling and I felt like I just wanted to jump off the taxi. I could have but these are the times when I panic and I couldn’t think clearly.
A few minutes more I saw a lady waving a few meters away from the taxi and he stopped. The driver asked me in his broken English if I would be willing to share the taxi with this lady and even though I never liked taxi sharing, that day, I said yes.
It was the longest 15min-taxi ride I ever had in Male’ and I hope it would never happen again.