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Papa the Driver Interview

Papa the Driver is China´s most famous taxi driver for skateboarders. He has driven about 15 professional skateboarding teams since now and knows every spot around the province of Guangdong. It´s hard to communicate with Papa, because he don´t speak any word of english. But we had the chance to get Papa doing an interview for us and are proud to present Papa´s first full length interview.

[Interview: Niklas Isenberg | Photos: Florian Hopfensperger]

Hi Papa, whats your real name? Tell us a bit about yourself.
My real name is Xin De Ge  and I am 59 years old. I was born in HeNan, a province in the middle east of China. Now I live in Guangzhou where I also work. I drive around all Guangdong province. But mainly in Guangzhou. It depends on the job.

How did you become papa the driver and what are you doing when there are no skate teams in china?
There was a filmer with long hairs, covered with a lot of tattoos (Zero filmer Lannie Rhoades), almost 2 years ago. He looks like 50 years old, skinny and tall. He starts calling me Papa. I am driving for a van company. So any job what they make me to do, I will do. Sometimes there’s calling people with their privat phone like skateboarders. So I am gonna tell the van company and they know already what’s up.

Security I will let know who the boss is. Sometimes I can punch them too.

Do you get paid well? What would you do if another Taxi-Driver tries to get in the skate-taxi-business? 
One Full day of driving like with the Skateboarder Crew I make between 700 and 900 RMB (ca. 80 – 100 Euro). I gotta pay something back to the company. But well there’s still enough for the day left. Sometimes I can’t drive, because people calling very random and I confirmed another job already. But the same van company I am working for will send another driver who I will tell where to drive. All the skateboarders wanna drive with me. I learn with them. I see new spots, what I mark down in my phone right away. To show them to another crew. If someone else wanna steal my job, it doesn’t matter for me. All skaters wanna have anyway papa.

What are your special services despite being the best driver of course?
I will try to explain what Spots you can skate in what area. Take them to there. Take them to places to eat and help them to get their tricks.

How do you react when police or security is coming? Do you try to manage the situation?
Police is not really coming. Security I will let know who the boss is. Sometimes I can punch them too.

Do you have better chances with women, since you became papa the driver? 
Should come to Guangzhou and look on my Phone. I have many cute photos!

Are you learning a little bit of english? What else did you learn from that job?
No, English is not important for me. The English people show me photos of what they want. Communicate with hand and make fun. All in one we always get the job done!

Continue with part two on the next page.

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