Taxi Blockade

After a particularly long, hot day of driving, we were held up by a traffic jam a mere five kilometers from our destination by some bored taxi drivers.

Because we were finding the Pacific coast of Mexico so hot this time of year, we decided to book it from Acapulco to Puerto Escondido so that we could high-tail it to the hills. It was a slog of a drive. We were fed up with the topes that each little town we went through had put across the highway, which require us, in our loaded down van, to slow to a crawl and uncomfortably bump up and over before accelerating back up to speed only to find the next tope. Needless to say, we were excited to finally be pulling in to Puerto Escondido with the RV park we planned to stay at dialed into the GPS so that we could get off of our sweaty backsides and tilt back a cool cerveza. The taxi drivers had something else in mind.

Traffic jam

Traffic jam

Just outside Puerto Escondido, we came to a traffic backup. It looked to be mostly semi-trucks, and one driver waved for us to pass. So we hesitantly pulled into the lane for oncoming traffic, passing the line of traffic. Soon there were about four lanes of stopped cars and we took our spot at the back of a line. Great, we were in a traffic jam. Tim was driving and in no mood to sit and wait, so he jumped out to go see what the holdup was. After 100 meters of parked cars, he found the source of the blockage. Some 30 green and white taxis were parked in the middle of the intersection blocking all possible traffic in both directions. The drivers were standing around chatting or looking at their cell phones with not a care in the world.

Blockade

Blockade

Blockade

Blockade

After some asking around, Tim found out that some people had been waiting for up to four hours for the taxis to move. Furthermore, no one seemed to know why they were blocking traffic. He asked if it was due to money or some other understandable reason to strike, but no, apparently they had no rhyme or reason. People were walking through the blockade with their belongings and getting into maroon taxis or colectivo vans on the opposite side so that they could get to their destinations. Those who were in their own cars or trucks, as we were, were milling about talking to each other. Soon people started to get angry. A choir of car horns started blaring, and those waiting in the jam started to organized into a group.

The taxi drivers get confronted.

The taxi drivers get confronted.

Why are you blocking the road?

Why are you blocking the road?

In contrast to the taxi drivers in their clean white uniforms, this group consisted of many burley truck drivers, women who need to get their young children home and generally frustrated people. Things came to a head and the group started yelling at the taxi drivers. You could feel the tension in the air. One of the more vocal truck drivers told the taxi drivers that if they didn’t move there would be a fight. The now angry mob easily outnumbered the taxi drivers and so they yielded. Tim ran back to the van and the traffic quickly began to move.

We were relieved to have only waited about half an hour and actually found the whole ordeal somewhat amusing, especially Emily, who realized that there was no reason to wait on the cold beer.

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