The Czech taxi driver was called Richard Dolan, according to the ID card on his dashboard.
I asked about my Irish ancestry on the way to the airport after a few days in sunny, if chilly, Prague. He shrugged.
“Perhaps something wonderful, wonderful, wonderful…” he replied in broken English. He never checked. Other Irish passengers have pointed that out as well. He seemed surprisingly angry about his legacy, and took us on a somewhat illogical route out of the old town through a residential area with large detached houses on plots of land. small.
“The rich, the rich,” he pointed out.
If tourism returns, we ask, make small talk with the taxi. Another shrug. “Weekends, yes,” he told us. “It’s not summer yet,” he added.
As we hit the road late Sunday afternoon to the motorway in the very heart of Europe, we simultaneously gave instructions on gas prices. More than 50 koruna, he said. It’s bad for a taxi driver.
It was just over €2, so we agreed. He said it went up to 54Kc, close to €2.20, in some places, and we sympathize.
The chat concerns how he will manage: the tariffs are set by the local government and have not been changed since 2017, so every journey is profitable for him. He agrees life is hard, but then again, it’s always hard.
Taxi drivers are everywhere, eh?
But Mr. Dolan was busy. He has been transporting refugees from the Ukrainian border near Lviv for the past few weeks.
“Women, children, anytime, anywhere in the 800km journey that his company has been drafted by the government for,” he said.
“Women… children,” he repeated, wincing and shaking his head at some memory he hadn’t experienced. The men were forced to stay and fight.
“This little suitcase, this is all they carry,” he said, quickly lifting his hand to point out the size smaller than our weekend bag in the trunk.
A park we roamed earlier in the day put up an exhibition of photos and stories about the history of Ukraine and its noble people. Without exception, public buildings fly the flag of another country with the two familiar colors of blue and yellow today.
Occasional graffiti – “Get off Ukraine, Putin!” – something like that, clearly seen on bridges. There is a palpable sense that the locals are worried. After all, their landlocked country is much closer to the war zone than ours.
And, in the way of taxi drivers, the sport turns to football. His favorite football team, Sparta Prague, isn’t doing too well, but Czech billionaire owner Daniel Kretinsky has bought part of British club West Ham United and Mr. Dolan hopes that they can. “swap some players”.
He was laughing, it was a joke.
I asked him how he thought the war would end?
He pointed the gun with his finger at his head and made a pop.
“Putin,” he spat.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/from-fuel-prices-to-football-taxi-small-talk-now-includes-war-41451807.html From fuel prices to football, ‘taxi trivia’ now includes war