We white folks in Latin America need to change the way we signal cabs. We are used to cabs signaling their availability to us, by means of lighted signs on top. If they are available, and we want one, we signal them. Here in Peru, as in many other developing countries, cabs have no such indicators and instead aggressively honk at white people, all of whom are potential passengers, incapable of walking anywhere and thrilled when they have the privilege of paying three times the normal rate for a ride. You know what I’m talking about.

My proposal is that we whiteys walk around cities with signs of our own, indicating that we DO NOT want a taxi right that moment, even if we are walking down the street all by ourselves. As soon as the sign comes down, we are indicating that now we DO want a cab. The ensuing chaos for our business would present us with at least 17 taxis, some stacked on top of one another, within shouting distance of us, such that we could negotiate prices down to the lowest bidder. At the very least, we wouldn’t get honked at so incessantly.

A mototaxi (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A mototaxi (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

This occurred to me last night when a cab saw me coming from about 100 yards away and honked and flashed his lights my entire approach. I think I saw the car vibrating in anticipation. I ended up taking a mototaxi (a classic developing world type of transport here in Peru, which is exactly what it sounds like) and I think the taxi driver may have generated an ulcer on the spot. We could have avoided that terrible medical tragedy with a better taxi system.