I've been trying to capture just what it feels like to ride in a taxi here but I have had little luck. Afterall, how do I take a video or photo that comunicates what it feels like to drive into an intersection on the wrong side of the road, through a red light, with cars coming at you from both sides and straight ahead with a driver who is furious that anyone else is in his way? Well that is just what happens every 30 seconds here. Although the picture doesn't quite capture this, I think it communicates some of the feeling (yes that is a beer can in the cup holder - we're not sure if it was a joke or not). Lights and lanes are mere suggestions and the speed limit is how fast can you go with out hitting anyone.
I was amazed by the insanity of the taxi drivers in China but I believe the ones here are far worse. Yesterday we had a guy that I'm pretty sure was high. He constantly drove on both sides of the road yelling at the oncoming traffic to get out of his way while singing and bobbing his head fiercly along with the 80's rock music on the radio. I don't believe he used his brake once on the 10 minute trip home. I think the best comparison would be to watch a 6 year playing a racecar game and instead of wrecking, you come 2 inches from hitting the other car.
Despite the danger, taxis are also the easiest way to get around. It only costs $1-1.33 to go anywhere within the city and it's relatively quick. The other option is to take a combi which is a large van that you jump on and off of usually while it is still moving. Many of the locals say the combi drivers are worse than the taxis (if you've seen the Harry Potter movie with the night bus, it's pretty similar) but it's cheap (only 20 cents per person).
Here in Arequipa the taxis can be bit dangerous (there are different scams to rob passengers) so you usually call a cab to pick you up, especially if you're a gringo. It usually isn't a big deal because there are so many they arrive within 2-3 minutes. To contrast this while we were in Lima with the Cubas's, Cesar preferred to call his "friend" to come pick us up. The problem being that his friend was usually on the other side of town and we'd have to wait an hour for him to arrive to drive us only a mile or two. Of course we only would call his friend right as we were ready to walk out the door. This has resulted in Hannah and I's new favorite expression, "Let me call my friend."
A little more about the earthquake for those who are interested. It originated in the north of Chili about 400-500 miles away and although it was just slightly weaker (7.7) than the one that hit Peru recently. I believe it struck a relatively remote area and didn't do too much damage. You can read more about it here.