Michal Linial: No Witches in Portugal

It gives me great pride to present:

 

Michal Linial:  March 2012

No witches in Portugal

Landing in LISBOA, Portugal last night. I need to get to my hotel in Cascais. The nice lady in the tourist information ordered a taxi and happily said: “Do not worry, our drivers speak excellent English.

Five minutes later my driver arrived, a huge person, nicely dressed with a fancy nice black car. “To Cascais, What is the price” I asked in a fluent English.  Well, it depends he replied…

My huge driver, was very fluent in English as promised… Then he starts… Three years ago I had a ski accident, at that time I was much heavier… I was wondering how such information might be relevant to our trip… My driver continues: “From the time of the accident my leg is not the same. This is why I bought this car with a “gear” instead of an automatic transmission, so I can practice my left leg. Most of time I can move it, but I still do not feel it when it is cold”… “Is it cold today?” I asked. No, today it is fine. Yesterday it was cold.

How long is it to Cascais? I was asking. My driver relied honestly: “it depends on the road”… Oh, I said… waiting for an explanation. It took a minute for him to explain: “You know, I always drive by my feelings. Sometime, I have a feeling that it is not good to take the freeway. Today I have this feeling. “OK, it is best that you listen to your feelings”, I relied quietly. He continues: “You know, there are no witches in Portugal, but it is better to listen to them”. Of course, I said.

You know he continue, my brother in law who was a driver in our taxi company had a bad feeling 4 months ago when he took the small road instead of the highway, and indeed he died. A truck crushed him. But the passenger, a British person that was in the car was not hurt. The passenger had his seat belt fasten, like you… Do you want me to show you where he died?, it is on the way to the hotel, he insisted. Sure I replied. If it is on the way, and you feels that we should not take the highway, let’s go on the other road…

We drove on a neglected road. It was not too cold… My huge driver mentioned me the spot where his brother in law died…  We are now 10 min from the hotel he updated me. But I missed the entrance. You know, he continued, once I drove with my mother, I missed the entrance to the road. Then, I knew that I should not get into this road. Do you mind that I will drop you here? it is no more than 200 meters to your hotel. I happily paid the 60 Euro, another tip for 10 Euro for the good witch that was with us.  

While I was walking with my luggage on the hill to the hotel, a taxi was stopping behind me. It was my big driver again… He said: I forgot to give you my card. Please call me when you want to go back to the airport. it will be only 30 Euro. We can take the highway. I am still in Portugal for another 2 days. I will call him if it will not be too cold.

Michal Linial: Vive La Technology

     
    Nebi Samuel
     
    It was a long night after crossing the Atlantic. I got to the airport and indeed the big signs of ‘Welcome’ and “TAAM SHEL BAIT” (taste of home) had a special appeal. It was 3:30 in the morning when I took the Taxi. The driver was very talkative and wanted to know where I am coming from, are the stories that he had heard on America true. Specifically he wanted to know if I went to the Twins to see the city from the tallest buildings etc, etc.
    I replied shortly: “Yes, New York is as everybody said”. For the Twins, I replied: “No, there is no elevator there anymore”… I tried to be polite but at the same time to keep our touristy discussion to a minimum.  The Taxi driver turned out to be quite sensitive to my poor situation and told me very proudly: “Please tell me where, and I will take you, I have a new GPS, just tell me the address and the GPS will show me the way”. Indeed, I shared with him the importance of the GPS technology and even told him that I may soon buy one for my own car. My address is Nave Sha’anan 18, I told him, and 2 minutes later, I was asleep, this time very confident that in 45 min I am at home and to my bed. The next thing I know is Continue reading

1:0 to Italy: Michal Linial

Coming back from Hinxton, the most exciting genome center in the world and the most boring place after 5pm… At 5:30, a shuttle bus takes all the ‘workers’ to the big city – to Cambridge. The shuttle bus dropped us in the middle of town and without noticing, I remained alone. I quickly looked around; actually, there was no one on the street… OK I decided, the evening is not lost yet, I will go to London…
 
I waited 5 minutes and a Taxi stopped next to me. To the train station” I said. My taxi driver started the ride and then slowed down, stopped for a minute next to an open bar looked extremely worried and after 2 minutes speeded up again. We moved another 100 meters and again, he slows down and stop for 2 minutes next to a TV screen in the next open bar. He looks bothered and mumbled to himself, I hate him, Continue reading

Cosmonaut: Michal Linial

  

Ladies and gentelmen, I am very happy to present to you:

Being a Cosmonaut

A story by Michal Linial

I am back from the airport… not in the best mood for a long discussion but quite open to hear refreshing political statements. 50 minutes taxi ride that is all what it takes… This time, the communication took its own turns… I start with my regular question: “What is new this week”. This time, my Russian Taxi driver ignored my question and asked back: “How many planets are there?” I told him that to the best of my knowledge there are 9 planets that orbit around the sun. Really, he shouted: “my wife tells me there are 8 and she tells me she is a cosmonaut” and he continues, she knows nothing! I said that there might be some debate, so 8 is a good number and probably I got confused. My Taxi driver got really mad now: “You are not a cosmonaut and you know better”.
Two minutes later, he asks me again “how old is the earth”. This time I was a bit less decisive and told my taxi driver that I am not sure, but the accepted number is 4-5 billion years. To make sure this time there will be no conflicts with his marriage, I immediately added, the universe is much older, also, many people believe that the earth is much younger. My taxi driver now is very excited and answers me without hesitation: “You see, I can not even ask my wife this question, she says she is a cosmonaut, but I am sure that if I ask her, she will not know”… Continue reading