Banana Republic

November 29, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Banana Republic store at Grand central station.

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Woodside, Queens.

posted by Jahanzaib at

Woodside, Queens at 58th street.

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Con error.

posted by Jahanzaib at

Ever since our meter is upgraded to add $0.50, additional surcharge for bailing out MTA, I'm getting this weird error, which says Con upon trying to load a fare, I think it is abbreviation of Connection. Workaround is, wait for few seconds, when Con disappears, try putting meter in hire again.
But today, I picked up a passenger, tried four good blocks to put meter on hire, but each time this stupid error message kept coming up, I told the passenger about the situation, offered him to either get another cab, or go on flat rate, which he usually pays to the destination, he prefer hiring cab behind me, I rebooted the system, every thing was good again.
It was very slow week, as i expected, I took almost two days off, for the Eid plus every one seems on vacations anyway for the thanksgiving weekend.
Nothing special happened tonight, except a stupid guy I picked up, he read my name and tried to have conversation in Arabic, I did not pay attention, then he called me in English, I replied and he was like "I was talking to you in Arabic, why don't you reply?" I said, I don't speak Arabic, "then why is your name Muhammad?" because I'm a muslim. I did not want conversation to go beyond this point, but he kept asking, where I'm from and I told him, Bronx,"I mean ethnicity" he asked again, just to end the conversation i told him central asia, he kept going on stupidity and said "wait, wait your name is Muhammad and you are from central asia?" I just wanted to bang his head at this point, but stayed calm and replied, "there are more than 15 muslim majority countries in central asia, why is it impossible?" he kept me busy with these kind of silly questions until I dropped him off, he was Egyptian as he claimed, I wonder why doesn't he know Arabs are only 15% of muslim population. Pakistan and India togather have more muslim population than of all Arab countries together.

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November 28, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at


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Comment are back.

November 27, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Somehow comments on my blog were not apearing, I was notified by one of my friend early this morning. I tried but my own comment went through, I told my friend that " he needs to learn how to comment".

Then I checked my statmeter, which shows number of attempts been made to post comments, but they were not apearing on the blog, comments were only working with google account, when tried to post comment as anonymous and Name/url option, they were not getting published on the blog.

I have fix the problem, feel free to comment, because comments keep a blog alive.

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Eid Mubarak

posted by Jahanzaib at

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, today is Eid-al-Adha, which is religious muslim festival. it use be fun, when I was kid, it is still fun for the children, perhaps. For adults like me, it is just like a normal day.
I went to local mosque near my house to offer prayer and took these photos.

These are prayer mats or carpet, it points toward holy Kaaba in city of Makkah.

Hugging each other is a way to greet each other, which is very common in eastern cultures, and after Eid Prayer espcially hugging each other and saying Eid Mubarak is custom, One has to hug almost every one around him. And yes muslims do not hug opposite genders unless they are married to one another.

After Eid Prayer, there was a feast in the mosque.

It is called "Jalebi" pronouce as "Ja-lay-be", which is a sweet, and i love it very much.

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Black Friday

posted by Jahanzaib at

Around mid night people started lining up for the upcoming Black Friday sale, outside Best Buy Store at E 86th street and Lexington avenue.

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Happy Thnaksgiving

November 26, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Hope all of you and your loved ones are able to enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving and appreciate blessing of it.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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posted by Jahanzaib at

I started working an hour late this evening and ended early, only this statement, tells that I haven't made any money.

It was raining in the evening, my back hurt for past two days, I just wanted to take a day off.but about 6:00 PM decided to go for work. Today was busiest traveling day around the nation, every highway was jammed pack with traffic.

As soon I entered into Manhattan, at E 119th street and second avenue I spotted a fare, hailing for cab, he was a construction worker, still in his work clothing.

As soon he entered he said "take me to casino", GOD traffic was so bad into the Bronx, especially Major Deegan expressway was bumper to bumper, and this fare wanted to go all the way to Yonkers, Empire City Casino to be specific.

I did not want to take him, but had no option, I asked do you want to go on flat rate?, he knew the double the meter rule and insisted to go on meter.In ideal conditions this fare would have cost him about $30.00, but as traffic was bad, it took me fucking hour and half to the destination.

"Quanto amigo?" the guy who was Mexican asked me, it was $62.80 on the meter. "WHAT, where you picked me up from?" he asked me, and I replied from the city. "No amigo, it is $30.00 always, I come here almost every two weeks" Ignoring the fucked up traffic, he said. I don't know, what I know is you have to pay me the metered fare. At this point he again said he will pay only $30.00.

I locked my doors, get away 5-6 blocks from Casino while calling 911, he said "do whatever you want to do, I'm not scared of police" but after 10 minutes agreed to pay $63.00, before police's arrival, wasted my 15-20 minutes in rush hour.

When I took fare price from him, he asked me to drop him in front of casino again, and I told him " your fare is finished" either you have to walk or get another cab, and he replied I'm in the cab, lets go, I was pissed off at this point, and told him " no I wont, because I'm not suppose to make pickups outside five boroughs, and Yonkers is not a NYC borough.
He got out, noted down my medallion number, upon which I decided to honor him as first asshole of this blog.

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Reason, guys turn gays.

November 25, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Amsterdam avenue at West 92nd street, was closed due to accident.

Picked up a fare, near West 100th street and Broadway, young Hispanic couple. They were going to 187th street and wadsworth avenue, in Washington heights.

Right after guy finished telling me the destination, girl started arguing with him "I can't believe this, that was just ridiculous", at this point I got interested in the conversation, in the beginning, guy was just trying to clear his position that he was not aware of it, and that why would he will do this if she was around?

It turned out, it was his birthday, he planned to celebrate that special day with her. Unfortunately he asked his friends a good place to celebrate and they refer Ba Da Bing, which happens to be a strip club, Ta Da.

Now you get the picture, girl was accusing him doing that on purpose and considered direspect to her, guy was apologetic, that he did not know Ba Da Bing is a strip club,if he would "why would i go in there, with you?" this was his argument.

He kept asking her, why wouldn't she let it go, it was a mistake and he was sorry for that on his part. But girl was not in mood to let go of it, kept crying and blaming him, ignoring that he apologized for his part.

Then guy lost it, and started cursing her out, which started new argument of him being absuive to her all the times.

Enjoying that Spanish, English and Spanglish argument, i took West 178th street exit from Henry Hudson Pkwy. At this point guy started talking to me, "you see, this is the problem with girls" he told me and kept on saying he is looking forward for "Men friends", at least they don't hurt your feelings on your birthday. At this point he asked me if i can be his friend, and kept asking my number till we arrived at the destination, so we can start a relationship. It was a fun ride.

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Generous tips, please.

posted by Jahanzaib at

You don't start good, most probably you will not finish good, this is what experienced drivers will tell you. For a good start, driver must be in the city early and must stay in city, at least during rush hours.

Today, it started bad for me. First while I was trying to enter into Manhattan, traffic was not moving at all, it took me half an hour to cross third avenue bridge.

Luckily I got fare early, near E 116th street and Second avenue going to Penn. Station, I hate it, it takes for ever going cross town during evening rush hours.
After that, I got little momentum, and was able to spot fares quickly. Around 6:45 PM, I got another fare going to Penn. Station,passengers were waiting for cabs and no cab was around, as it happens during that time. I drove to front of taxi stand, thinking while I drop off my fare, other cabs can come and pick up fare behind me, leaving some space for them, taxi dispatcher directed passenger to cabs behind me, after I finished with my fare, and ready for hire again,dispatcher kept sending passenger to cabs behind me. To make dispatcher aware that I'm ready for hire, I honked, as soon as I honked, there was a hasidic jewish guy, who was going to cab behind me, instead he ended up in my cab, "I'm going to bensonhurst, take Brooklyn battery tunnel" he told me, and I was like, FUCK, thinking my day is ruined.

While I was in battery tunnel, strange thing happened, instead of Brooklyn battery tunnel's toll, computer popped up Holland tunnel's toll, out of habit I just pressed OK on beep, and noticed $9.50 on my meter instead of $6.07, I kept driving with out telling to the passenger, he was busy advising young fellow, "you must be responsible because you are married now". Young fellow said "I'm just 21", "doesn't matter" hasidic man replied, "you are married, you must not act like other kids".

When we reached at the destination, I asked, "are you paying cash or by credit card?" he answered by credit card, at this point I told him about the tolls mistake, and said you can go ahead with payment, I will give back the difference in cash. He asked me how much toll he was suppose to pay, "$4.57" I said, "and how much did computer charged?" he asked again, "$8.00 by mistake" I replied, "Ok, i'll pay you the full amount, and whatever the difference is, you can keep it as a tip" he told me.

that is so generous of you, getting me out of Manhattan during rush hours to the end of planet, ($8.00-$4.57)- 5%, no one have ever paid me that much tip. Off course i did not say later to him.

After dropping him off, I decided to go to JFK airport, which turned out to be mistake, as it took me good two hours to get job from the airport going to Williams burg, She paid me good tip. With short haul ticket I decided to take another chance on JFK airport, which turned out to be best decision I made during shift, got a fare from Kennedy to upper east side, they even tipped me more.

it was already 12:15, and city looked like ghost town, still was lucky enough to get few more fares, and did end my shift better than thought.

conclusion: experienced drivers are not right always ;)

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Empire State Building

November 24, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Empire State Building,In fog, View from E 29th Street and Third Avenue.

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November 23, 2009
posted by Jahanzaib at

Finally, I have finished with my blog design, I'm quite satisfied with it, It is simple and yet has a Cab Driver's Blog look.

As this is the first post on this blog, I should introduce myself, I guess.
My name is Muhammad, an immigrant, New Yorker for almost ten years and a cab driver. I was born in a small and remote village in Pakistan, graduated from Karachi University in Ship Technologies, in year 2000. Same year my family got immigrant visa to U.S.

We landed in new York, on July of 2000, since then I'm a new yorker. It is pretty hard to settle in new place, more harder if you don't know any one. To make ends meet I worked as construction helper, behind the counter jobs, jobs where you don't make money, but they take care of your bills and rent etc.

As you might know, in NYC almost 70% cab drivers are south Asian descend, I knew people who were driving cabs and were making decent living, biggest thing was they were also able to save few bucks, only thing that kept me back from driving cab was "I don't know my way around city".

After encouragement from people, who were driving already, I applied for FHV license, from 2005 to 2008, I drove as a chauffeur in black car company "limousine company". Until 2007, I was pretty satisfied with that, as I had plenty of time for myself, yet doing my job, making money.

Then economy started falling, the company I worked for had Lehman Brothers Account, which was one of the biggest account for us and many more companies, my company lost the account. That was just the start, even after losing Lehman brothers account, drivers were able to make their living. By the end of 2007 economy and banks started falling so fast, unimaginable, so does black car business which mainly works with those big banks. I spent whole 2008 in “ hope for the best” kind of feelings, and went in debt during this period, I was working 15-18 hours, and after paying lease for the ca , company dues, was only able to save money for the next week's gas.

Early in 2009, one of my friend from black car company, started driving yellow cab and was able to make some money, upon his referral, I took the test, and since march of 2009, I'm driving yellow cab.

Right now my plans are to work as cab driver at least for 2 years, get out of debt, save some money and start my own business in near future.

During that period, I will continue writing some stories, along the way, I might learn English, Which many customers think, I should.

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