24 January 2009

My pleasure

Last night’s shift began on a high and I kept smiling all the way through. A normal enough Friday shift, and by normal I mean rest-of-the-year normal, not month-of-Sundays-January normal. There was plenty of work, and I was well into the afternoon rush, shuttling passengers to the airport.

Once again, the airport road system has changed, so that was an added challenge. Paul, my day driver, has been telling his passengers that the new layout is a joint venture between the airport and the taxi industry to make the trip as long as possible, and honestly the roads in and out are the most appalling series of loops and zig-zags and detours.

I dropped my passenger at the terminal, and headed back into the city empty. Once I was clear of the roadworks, my phone rang. The young lady on the other end identified herself as a Qantas representative, and while I was wondering about the various reasons for Qantas to call me, she totally floored me, telling me I’d won a prize in a travel writing competition.

This was a competition I’d entered well before Christmas, and after looking at the vast quantity and quality of the other entries, displayed online, I’d given up hope that my modest little piece about Guernsey had any chance at all.

But apparently it had ranked ninth, giving me a shot at one of the twelve prizes on offer. I’ll have my choice of four weekends away at an Australian resort, and a condition of accepting the prize is that I have to write and submit a 500 word article on the weekend, with photographs and video footage shot on the Nikon camera which comes as part of the prize.

“Ooooh, with pleasure!” I sighed into the phone.

So I’ll be a guest writer for Qantas’s Travel Insider e-magazine, once I return from the weekend, which I’ll have to take in the next three months. Maybe this will be a shot at a new career - taxidriving is a job I love, but travelling the world and getting paid to do it, well it just doesn’t compete, does it?

We’ll see. Writing tight, focussed articles for professional publication is a long way from my usual rambling style.

The photograph above is of St Peter Port in Guernsey. A darling little town and it was no trouble at all to write a paragraph about it. The hard part was keeping it down to the 250 words required by the competition terms.

The Qantas lady congratulated me again, the call ended, and I pulled into a government office building to collect a public servant for her trip to the airport. She must have wondered why she had the happiest cabbie on earth as her driver!

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