We have been told that the one word understood in all countries of the world is “taxi.” We don’t know if that is correct, but we do know that around the world one of the most abused phrases is “English- speaking driver.” We have hired quite a few drivers thus advertised who could not carry on the simplest conversation that we could comprehend.
We had one such driver in Kuwait City who was selected by our hotel to take us to a business appointment in a large bank in the middle of the city. By the time we drove from the suburban hotel into town it was obvious that verbal communication would be impossible.
I could only show him an address written in English, which he could not read. And the street signs were in Arabic, which I could not read. I guessed that the bank would be in a prominent location, so with hand motions I directed him along what seemed to be the principal streets and was lucky enough to find the well-marked bank in a few minutes.
The lesson I finally learned was to talk to taxi drivers enough to check their English before getting into their cab. Remember that.