TAXIS, like the Grim Reaper, are one of the world's great constants; wherever you go they're always there—unless it's raining, or a curfew or a national disaster. But times are tough for these ubiquitous people carriers who face the pushed-up spiraling fuel costs in the face of moves for more environment-friendly cars.
This lot don't just turn your A into B, they turn your cash into experiences. All hail. As www.travel.cnn.com explains, here are the world's top 10 taxis worthy of mention.
Mexico City's VW Beetles
In Mexico, the herbie's ozone-destroying, chain-smoking twin VW Beetles, has been described by www.travel.cnn.com as pollution-belching bugs. Apart from being squeezed into a tiny seat, there is also the risk of being robbed at knife point if you travel in an unlicensed cab.
Shanghai's VW Jettas
With Shanghai's cabs you need to wipe your feet - after you get out of their fleet of Volkswagen Jettas. It's never clear if the Perspex screen around the driver is to keep phlegm in or out. But to zip in a cab over the city's elevated neon expressways is to truly experience modern Shanghai - cheap, fast and just a little bit dirty.
If you drive a Porsche for a living you can paint it any color you want, OK? Most major cities have novelty boats, helicopters or luxury car taxis, but somehow being picked up by a Porsche makes more sense in Moscow where oligarchs have money to burn and are apparently willing to pay a $168.34 or US$95 flag-fall. Cheaper options are available, but this is Moscow, so not much cheaper.
Hong Kong's Toyota Crown Comforts
Colour-coded in primary reds, greens and blues, Hong Kong's boxy Toyota Crown Comfort taxis have a reassuring Toy Town feel, with prices to match. Drivers will go anywhere for a quick dollar, even in a typhoon.
This is the look she gives you right before she becomes an evil demon racing taxi mistress. Prepare to cry.
If Germany's speed unlimited autobahns aren't fast enough, you can hire a souped-up BMW taxi to rocket you around the country's NÃ¼rburgring Grand Prix circuit.
You'll be charged a small fortune for this and you'll end up almost exactly where you started, but there the similarity to other taxis.