Gypsy cab is actually street taxi in Kazakhstan. All you need to do is stand by the edge of the road with your arm out, within three minutes, some cars will stop. I was the taxi lady of the trip who tried to get ourselves a cab every single time. It was so fun, trust me!
- Tell them where you are going, or show the place from google map if you don’t speak Russian
- Bargain time! We have 5 people, usually they will start from 1000 tenge (USD$3). But then we always lower it to 700/800 tenge for a 15-20min ride, and 500 tenge for a short ride. sooooooo cheap!
- Get in the car! The driver are usually very friendly and will start to a conversation once you get in the car, even they know limited English. (We have no worries about the safety of the cab as we always have more than 3 people. But if you are taking the gypsy cab alone, you might need to do some mental checklist quickly, to decide if the cab is safe to get in)
People in the car: one male driver (30+)
After some standard questions e.g. where are we from, how many days have we been staying, etc. He started to ask about our language and religion. He asked if we have heard of Allah. With his limited English, he was telling us that he trusts one god, and everything in the world is created by him. At that moment, we thought he was trying to teach us about Islam, but then he started to switch on the radio with some mumbling sounds . Oh…. it’s praying time for them. All of us kept quiet immediately and waited for him to finish. He started to teach us the Kazakh and Russian of directions after that, because he can totally tell that we have problems directing him to our hostel.
People in the car: one male driver (40+), one lady (30+)
We didnt expect them to stop, because they have 2 people in the car. The lady was the driver, and the guy was sitting in the front seat. We realised they can’t speak English at all, so (Fun thing) we used the Russian-English translation app in iphone to communicate with them. We replied them by pressing the audio file of different sentences. He tried hard enough to chat with us though. After awhile, our car get stopped by a police on the highway. Alright, interesting. We thought it was just a normal car check, but then after checking the licence and documents; the police told the lady to get out and brought her to the back of the car to talk. We felt something was wrong because the guy eventually got off too. The whole thing lasts for 20 mins, and we were struggling if we should get off or stay. But then it would be very suspicious if we get off, so we just waited in the backseat. Weird enough. They exchanged seat after the incident. The guy sat on the driver seat instead of the lady. He told us he needed to pay the police. We reckoned either he paid some penalty to the police or bribed him (Our friend told us the police in Kazakhstan are very corrupted).
Ah ha. good taxi experiences in Kazakhstan..