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Driving Around the World in D.C.

Chart: D.C. Cabdrivers' Top 10 Countries of Origin

"Most of the cabdrivers have college degrees," he says as we head back toward The Post. "But sometimes it's hard to get a job, so we just end up driving cabs rather than sit and wait for someone to employ you."

Anthony has two kids in college and a daughter in high school who has been accepted into a summer program at Harvard.

"And all because of this taxi I drive," he says.

I hail my next cab. There are 1,383 drivers from Ethiopia, I tell the driver after getting in.

"Is that right?" says Mulugeta Makonnen from Ethiopia. "How many from Eritrea?"

He writes down the numbers on his clipboard.

"Driving a cab is good," he says. "You can work anytime. You want to be with your kids, you can. You're your own boss."

I get out and raise my hand, and the saffron-color-turbaned Narinder Singh pulls over. He tells me he's from India. I look at my list. "There are 236 cabdrivers from India," I tell him.

"Most are from Punjab," he says. That's where he's from, part of the Sikh community near the Golden Temple of Amritsar. It was stormed by the Indian army in 1984.

He was inside with his wife and their two children. "I see in front of my eyes one thousand people killed by Indian government, by helicopters and tanks," he says as the cab idles outside The Post.

Then it's into another cab. I chat with the driver, who doesn't want his name printed but tells me he's from Eritrea.

Finally, it's time for my last trip, back to the office. Alfred "Big Al" Price has driven a cab for close to 29 years. He's not too keen on the foreign-born drivers.

"It used to be Nigeria. Now the Ethiopians done took over. They don't know nothing about this city. All they want to know is 'Airport.' When I got in, you had to know all the precincts, all the hospitals, all the places downtown. You had to know Northwest and Northeast, Southwest and Southeast.

"They don't know nothing about Southeast."

Julie Feldmeier helped research this column. Join me today at 1 p.m. for my online chat. Go tohttp://www.washingtonpos.com/liveonline.


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