One horse town?

Once in Mongolia, a taxi driver tried to rip me off. We agreed on a price before I even got in. But, a few minutes down the road I saw the meter was out of control. “Wow, that’s a huge number, but hey, that’s not the price right?” I ask, jokingly.

“No, no no!” My driver shook his head enthusiastically. “It’s only….(slightly less crazy price)”.

“No way (slightly less crazy price) is crazy! I’m not paying that!”

The driver slammed on the breaks. We were in the middle of nowhere. Gambling on brinkmanship paying off, I told him I would just hitch-hike. At first he laughed. There was no traffic, it was blistering hot and I had a fairly sizable rucksack. To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do- cave and pay double, or hitch-hike on some lonely road with no food or water.

He tried to negotiate, but I stonewalled. I gave him a choice- the original price, or I hike. He said no, so I said I’d hike.

He refused to open the boot (where my rucksack was) until I paid him, pointing out that we’d already gone half way. By now, we had both decided I was serious.

So, we found ourselves at an impasse. I wasn’t leaving without my bag; he wasn’t leaving until I paid him something. I decided there was only one alternative. Over the years, I’ve learned that when the going gets tough, have a siesta!

I reiterated his choices, then told the driver to wake me up when he came to a decision. I stretched out on the back seat of the taxi and had a doze.

It was lovely. Shady, with a gentle breeze occasionally slipping through the half open window. In the distance, I could hear him screaming manically. I grinned.

Ten minutes later, he re-offered the original price. “But…” fuming, he muttered, “you are a very, very bad man.”

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