See previous Where is… another great circle around Bethel
Taken for a ride in Bethel. A lively if faintly condescending L.A. Times report captures the joy of getting around in the Kuskokwim village that is “the unlikely taxicab capital of the United States.” With one driver for every 62 residents, the cabbies “drive circles around other towns,” says the Times. “Well, it’s just one circle: Only 10 miles of road are paved.”
Sound familiar? The Associated Press gave the story a good ride – Taxis on the tundra, Rachel D’Oro, ADN – back in July. [And even earlier, CABBIE TOWN, Doug O’Harra, July 9, 1989, ADN http://tinyurl.com/2fzvde] But the Times piece is a fun read, nicely colored with personalities and a fine sense of place: Bethel cabbies “overhear arguments and lovestruck whispers, they listen to confessions and tall tales and regrets. They pick up children from school. They shuttle travelers to and from the airport. They deliver everything – moose meat, groceries, heavy-machine parts. They chauffeur all-night revelries, wedding parties and sometimes the dead.
“The taxis come in all makes and models, all colors and conditions, from brand new to barely legal. By the end of the day, they all end up looking uniformly Alaskan – that is, covered in a film of silt, slightly beat up but more or less functional.”