Moral of the story: Walk or take a bus

Gina and I had a school to attend in Tuzla. We were to be there at 5 o'clock, and it was already 10:45. So we decided we better take a taxi to the bus station so we could at least make the 11 o'clock. When we finally found a taxi at 10:55, I was in too much of a hurry to ask him how much. I knew it was a 5 deutschemark ride, and he might charge us more as foreigners, but I'd just let him so we could get to the station quickly. After the one kilometer ride, it was 10:59 and our bus would be pulling out, so I just handed the guy 10 deutschemarks. As we were getting out, he said, "Ten more." I said, "Are you serious?" He said, "20 marks!" Keep in mind that a day's wage here is 10-20 marks. I surveyed the situation. We had taken the cab from the Croat to the Muslim side of town. There were dozens of Muslims around the car. I got out and said loudly enough for all of the Muslims to hear, "I'm not going to pay you 20 marks for a one kilometer ride!" Everybody looked, and the Croat driver, making a good evaluation of his situation, peeled away. Problem solved.

At the bus stand, a man approached us and asked if we wanted a ride to Sarajevo. I said we're going to Tuzla, so he offered to drive us there-for the price of the bus tickets! For 60 marks, he would take us 250 kilometers to Tuzla. I asked what kind of car it was, and he assured me it was a luxury automobile.

Five minutes later, we were chugging along in his 1985 Opel Cadett--about the equivalent of an aging Ford Escort. We had to give him half up front so he could buy gas, but then we continued on our way. He was a decent guy, just trying to eke out a living for his family by stealing customers from the bus lines. All went fine until we stopped for lunch about an hour outside of Tuzla. We had lamb, and I don't know if it had mad cow or something, but he drove like a man possessed for the final 60 minutes. We screeched around every corner, barely hanging on. One corner we slid off the road onto a gravel sidebar and caused some villagers selling their wares to dive into the bushes. He continued on, undaunted. About 7 kilometers outside of Tuzla, he saw two women hitchhiking towards Sarajevo. He honked and waved and shouted, then swerved off the road and told us this was as far as he would go. He dumped us off and did a u-turn towards the women. Fortunately, Gina and I caught a city bus for a mark a piece and still arrived at the school an hour early.

Interestingly, Tuzla has the best taxi system in Bosnia. There's hundreds of cabs, and you can travel anywhere within the city for one mark apiece.