I would like to open this blog on a topic that most new comers have to confront from the time they step out of the airport: taxis. Cab drivers in Beirut have an acute sense for recognizing people who are not from around here (although sometimes it is so evident you are not from here that the driver doesn’t need any particular talent to know you are totally clueless).
However, there is a happy consensus that “service” will cost regularly 2,000 LL (about a $1.50). So, as a foreigner, you are stuck with $10 rides, telling yourself “Boy, this is expensive.”, till you discover “Service”. And by the way, service and taxi is exactly the same car.
On a side note, one of my favourite things is that when a taxi stops and you a) ask for service or b) are going to a place they are not going to, they will either turn their head without a word and drive off, or insult you a little bit.
But coming back to my initial point about the driver’s 6th sense on foreigners… Unfortunately, knowing the real taxi or service rates will not save you from some skillful techniques to rip you off anyways. Some of my favorite examples:
“It’s 10,000 during Ramadhan”
“Hey, Bibi, can you give me $10 for gas?”
“No, not 10,000, it’s 10 dollars”
“10 dollars, with leather seats and A/C”