Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If you're in Oz for long enough...

They say that if you stand long enough at Times Square, you see the entire world passing by. British Airways uses the flavour of that line in their ads as well...

Across Australia - easily impressed by things as I am - the number of nationalities being represented has been an eye-opener. And it's been the drivers' seats of the taxis that have been the most illuminating.

I've met people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh obviously. Add to that Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Italian, Polish, Senegalese, Japanese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Ukrainian, Czech, Serbian, Chechen, Eritrian, Fijian, Russian, Iranian, Korean, Thai, Jordanese people, and it's been fascinating.

Now I get rather touristy (read curious and questioning) when I meet new people in new countries, so I have been doing a lot of talking to each of these people and getting political insights; about their countries, about the United States - about which everyone has something to say, and about India - about which everyone has something 'educated' to say as well.

Now, most of these people were in Melbourne. That's the city that draws most immigrants. Unfortunately I didn't have my 8.1 megapixel Pentax there, otherwise I would have put together a bit of an album. But here's Noor Mohammad Ashani from Peshawar, who drove us from our hotel to the airport in Sydney.

A common thread between most of these people who have spent between 4 months and 27 years in Australia among them: they hate Australians. They want Australia to lose every sporting event. They think the Aussies are racist. They think the Aussies are haughty and pricey and abusive to outsiders.

My observation: Most taxi drivers are cheats. Definitely all the ones from other countries.