After stepping off the EuroStar train in Prague, Chris and I were greeted with peculiar handwritten alerts on cement walls that read: “Taxis” with arrows pointing the way to what we assumed was a taxi stand. Sure, it looked shady (and I had read already that the taxi system in Prague was corrupt), but I refused to take the metro since we had five bags with us! The “taxi stand” was really just a six-foot-two man wearing a cap. “Where do you want to go?” he asked in English with a strong Czech accent. I couldn’t pronounce the hotel correctly, so I had to show him the name in our guidebook.
After a long pause, he said slyly, “Yes—it’ll cost 800 koruna [$40 dollars at the time]—it is very far!” I knew that was a lie! It was only a 10-minute cab ride without traffic because I calculated it using my map. Chris looked at me nervously and said, “It’s too expensive, let’s go!” I turned to the man and demanded, “400 koruna.” Surprised, he shot back, “No!” I crossed my arms and looked at him coldly. “500 koruna,” I continued; he shook his head again and I replied, “550!” The taxi-stand man turned to the driver. They spoke in Czech, and the driver nodded his head, agreeing with the price.
We dragged our luggage over to the “taxi,” a regular black car that had no official markings on it at all. We arrived safely at the bottom of a hill that I assumed curved up to our hotel. With a welcome champagne in hand, we learned from the hotel that a taxi should've cost 400 korona!