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In this lesson you’ll learn how to get to places by taxi. There are two options in Egypt to take a taxi, you call and the taxi will come to your address, or you stop a taxi on the street and you take it from there. The most common way to take a taxi, though, is the latter.
Let’s see how that goes in Egypt.
Imagine you are in Maadi, and you want to go to City Stars, one of the biggest shopping malls over there. Stop a taxi on the street and ask the driver:
City stars?
Let’s break it down:
(slow) City stars?
Once more:
City stars?
سيتي ستارز؟
So you basically say the name of your destination. Now one of two things will happen. In Egypt, taxi drivers won’t always want to go to your destination. It might be out of their usual course, or too crowded. If the driver doesn’t want to go to City Stars, he will simply say no, and just drive away. If he doesn’t mind going to City stars, he will say “mashy”, meaning “ok” or just shake his head in approval. In that case, hop in!
Taxi drivers in Egypt love to talk. They will almost definitely ask you where you’re from and if you can speak Arabic. Try as much as possible not to be too friendly as it can be misunderstood, but don’t ignore him either.
So say you’ve reached your destination. Let’s say you want to get off at a certain place, so you want to say “I want to get off here, please”. You should say:
hena, law samaht.
(slow) hena, law samaht.
هنا, لو سمحت
hena means “here”.
(slow) hena.
and then we have law samaht meaning “please”.
(slow) law samaht.
law samaht.
Once more all together that’s
hena, law samaht.
In English the whole sentence will be translated as “Here, please.”. It might sound too short, but this is how we say it in Egypt.
Now it’s time to pay the fare. This part is a bit tricky so pay attention. There are 2 types of taxis in Egypt: taxis that have a fare counter, and others that don’t.
Always ride a taxi with a fare counter, as it leaves no place for negotiation when it comes to the fare. Taxis that have counters are white, with black stripes. You’ll find the counter next to the driving wheel on the right. When you get in the taxi, make sure the driver resets the counter. If he does, it should read “2.5” meaning 2.5 pounds. That’s the start fare of a taxi in Egypt.
When you’re getting out, look at the counter’s screen and you’ll know how much you have to pay. Add a pound or 2 to that amount if the taxi driver was a nice person. When you’re handing him the fare, you should say:
Shokran means “thank you”. We learned that in the first lessons of our series.
Now you’re at City Stars- Have fun!