In the air again

After too many weeks in the same place, I start to feel restless and long for a change. What a great opportunity therefore, that I was able to travel to Perugia, where I am attending the Master thesis defense of one of my students. Francesco had been studying as Erasmus student at Stockholm University, and recently finished his MSc thesis. He had worked with a sediment core from a lake on the island of Gotland, and had used oxygen isotope analyses to reconstruct past variations in temperature and precipitation.
Traveling is always connected with surprises. My first surprise this morning was my encounter with the taxi driver. Not only did the taxi come too late to pick me up but when I told the driver that I would want to get to the airport, his first reaction was “why don’t you take the train”? “Because I wanted to take a taxi”, I answered. He went on and on about me taking the train, and told me how difficult it was to drive on possibly icy roads (the roads were not icy), through the city centre, that there were huge line-ups, and so on. To make things worse, he went right into the city centre, instead of choosing the direct route to the airport and things became difficult of course. “You won’t reach the airport in time”, he said. “Of course not, if you drive like that and right into all the morning queues” I answered him, “obviously you do not want to drive me to the airport”. “You should have taken the train, I told you” was his only reply. And suddenly he said “now is your last chance to get off, we are at the Central Station and from here you can catch the train to the airport; I don’t think I will get you to the airport in time” (we had 45 minutes to go!). I was amazed to have such an environmentally conscious taxi driver, who tried everything to get me out of the taxi and onto a train, but I was also getting pretty annoyed that he more or less refused to drive me to the airport. After all, I had made my choice to use a taxi; and not to walk, take the subway, walk again, and then take the train. But early in the morning I am not in my best mental state and I decided that if I had to sit any longer in this taxi and with this driver, I might do something that I would regret afterwards. So I told him to stop the taxi immediately and got off (I did pay the fare), and on the train instead. It was a relief! Now – was the taxi driver a good guy, who wanted my best, or was the guy cheating on me, and just wanted to get home or get the next customer to earn more money? I wanted to find out, so I contacted Taxi Stockholm already on the train on my way to Arlanda and received an immediate reply – they excused themselves for what had happened and offered me some taxi cheques as compensation. Obviously they know how to treat their customers.

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