Monthly Archives: June 2011
Paula’s Aunt & Uncle with Michelle at the Kona Surf Hotel Bar
American Express Platinum Card
I wrote about Paula’s Aunt & Uncle coming to visit us in Hawaii in my last post. They actually came because her uncle was Paula’s Dad’s brother and they really came to see him. They finally stopped because they couldn’t stand Paula’s Mom. Her Uncle was some high executive that worked for a large national electrical company in England. He was tasked with selling large power generating plants to a lot of the Arab Countries in the middle east. He once told us that they have so much cheap gasoline there that when they fill up their autos they spill gallons on the ground and think nothing of it. So they were pretty well off and lived in a large apartment in London not far from Piccadilly Circus. Her Uncle liked to drink and that did not sit well with Paula’s Mom who preferred prescription drugs herself.
One time when they came (This was in 1979 that I wrote about on my blog yesterday) they brought their son and his wife and their daughter. I gave her Uncle a motorcycle ride because I knew that when her Uncle and her Dad were young men in Pakistan, they used to ride small motorcycles and he probably never rode anything like the “Pocket Rocket” that I had access to. This is that story: While we were in Hawaii a young guy named Rusty bought a new Yamaha 650– Very Fast bike, and he rented a room from us in 1979 — then he decided to go home to AZ where he was from. He had financed the bike at the Credit Union and when he left he just parked the bike at the Credit Union parking lot and took off. I took him to the airport so I knew about the bike being parked there with the keys in it. So when I came back from the airport I stopped by and picked up the bike and rode it home. Paula took me back to get my taxi and I rode that motorcycle almost a year until the tags had expired several months then I just parked it back at the Credit Union parking lot. Wheeee! He returned a couple of years later and I didn’t say anything to him about the bike but he probably would had a good laugh about it.
Me and My Rabbit Taxi “Yellow One”
Our “Rabbit Transit” business cards
Paula and I both had Volkswagen “Rabbits” for our personal taxi’s. Everywhere else in the world these are called “Golfs” Paula’s aunt and uncle used to visit Hawaii about ever-other year and one time in 1979 they had moved from London and retired to Wales. Her uncle had bought a Golf and was praising it to High Heaven. He suggested that I get one for the Taxi business. I found out that they produced them with diesel engines and I was very interested in checking one out. Of course at that time In Hawaii the only Volkswagen dealership on the Big Island was in Hilo. So Paula and I headed off to Hilo after her aunt and uncle returned to Wales. We arrived at the dealership just in time to see this salesman drive up in his demo Rabbit that was yellow and had several Rabbit Decals on it. Paula liked it right away and so I told him we wanted to buy his demo Rabbit. He was shocked and said that there were several other Rabbits in stock that we could buy but he wasn’t going to sell his demo. I said okay and where can I find your boss, please? Needless to say I drove that demo back to Kona later that day. I was surprised that when I asked him where he got his Rabbit Shaped business cards he actually told me and called the company there in Hilo and told them that he was giving me permission to use that die to cut out the Rabbit shape at no charge. That Rabbit was one of the best investments I ever made. I put 325,000 miles on it on an island 3o mile wide and 60 miles long. I could seat 4 people very comfortably and their luggage would fit in the huge hatch area. Once I took 6 Japanese guys and 2 just hopped into the rear hatch like they did it every day. I also took 6 Americans once and 4 people sat in the rear seat and two ladies rode up front with me. They lady who sat practicably on the gear shift had to lift one cheek for me to shift and they all just cracked up every shift. I only had one place where I just couldn’t go up this steep, steep driveway with four people and tons of luggage. Thankfully the front door to their condo was very close to the street and we managed those bags okay. After my great experiences with the 1979 VW Rabbit, I decided to purchase one for Paula to use as a Taxi.
Unfortunately by that time all the 1979 models were sold out and the new 1980 models were being made in the USA. The engine and transmission were still made in Germany and we never had any problems with those parts– everything else just fell apart! The roof leaked (they both had roll-back sunroofs) the headliner fell down, the upholstery wore out, the dash cracked and separated and it just rusted away. It did make money for a few years but the appearance was so bad that we had to replace it, and not with another USA built Rabbit either.
Sorry for my absence lately, I don’t have a good excuse but I hope that you will bear with me as I promise to do better. I also wish to remind you how lucky I was that Paula Was My Girl.
Paula with her VW Rabbit Taxi, R2D2
Paula with her VW Rabbit Taxi, R2D2 at her Mom & Dad’s House
Paula in Hawaii
As you can see in the top black & white photo most of the people who joined Paradise Taxi in the beginning days were husband & wife owner-operator teams. I had this photo professionally taken to run in the local newspaper because I firmly believed in the power of advertising.
Paula enjoyed the fuel economy of her 1980 VW Rabbit taxi which got almost 50 miles per gallon consistently. She also liked the fact that it was fun to drive. She learned to drive in a stick shift car from her dad and always preferred them over an automatic transmission. I did a play on words with our two Rabbit Taxis. I called them “Rabbit Transit” instead of “Rapid Transit”. We enjoyed the freedom that being our own bosses gave us, but that came at a price too. The buck always stopped with us, and sometimes that was a pretty hard load to bear. So it is with most things in life, rewards & responsibilities. It was good that we enjoyed each other’s company because we were almost always together every day. I will never be able to express now much it meant to me that “Paula Was My Girl”