Sunday, February 13, 2011

Toula toula

After the final race in India, we had the afternoon to do as we pleased. We grabbed a taxi; well actually, the taxi driver grabbed us. As soon as we stepped out of the hotel, he greeted us with, 'Hello, my friends. Where would you like to go?' We headed into the 'city' (Well not old school Bombay, but some shops and restaurant area) at the taxi drivers suggestion. I can't help but feel we got a little ripped off with the taxi fare but it was still much less than what you would pay in Australia so I didn't care.

All of the taxi’s in India are very basic vehicles. Having a stereo is purely a luxury, so to break the silence, the taxi driver sang for us. There are stories of Indian taxi drivers back in Australia doing this but I just assumed it was one or two eccentric cabbies. More interestingly, our taxi driver must have just popped a valium as he was quite calm and relaxed and did not use his horn once the entire trip!!

After walking around the streets and taking several photos we headed back to the taxi. The driver insisted that he would wait for us and drive us back to the hotel. When we jumped in, the taxi would not start, so we got out and gave him a push start. Luckily, almost every car in India is the size of a Smart Car in Australia so you could pretty much pick up the taxi if you want to move it. The trip home took a little longer due to the peak hour traffic so to make conversation I asked some questions.

One of these was how to say 'Thank You' in India. The driver took a long time to reply and with a cheeky smile he said, 'Toula toula'. I saw his smile and tried to call his bluff. 'You are trying to trick us!' But he stood by his claim and said 'Toula toula'. When we arrived at the Hotel and as I paid I said, 'Toula toula', to which the taxi driver began to laugh. He said, 'Have a good day, my friend.'

Inside the hotel, I asked the concierge what 'Toula toula' means. He began to laugh as well, before informing me that it is a joke that the locals play on foreigners. 'Toula toula' is what you say if you want to buy a small amount of marijuana. I could just picture myself at customs in the Mumbai airport, saying ‘Toula toula’ to the security guards. I don’t think that they would have laughed as much.

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