As far as what I’d pay for a cab, that depends completely on the place, and on the advice my local friends give me. (Maybe this is TMI, but in Los Angeles, $80 could be completely fair, and I’d gladly pay it. In Tbilisi or Istanbul, $10 is more reasonable — and in some places in Africa, anyone who pays more than $5 for a local trip will be laughed at.)
It’s all about adapting to custom and circumstance, and being firm but fair.
I don’t think I said I’ve ever “gawked at poverty.” The most recent time I walked through a slum, it was to talk with friends of friends who worked for a local charity. Another time it was because I lived in that area for a few months, helping to get a local art project off the ground.
I also don’t think I said that women in burqas “tickle my funny bone.” What I said was, for someone who’s never been in a country where that’s the norm, the sight of those women is part of the culture shock. It doesn’t make me happy — but again, I don’t try to interfere with local customs, because I’m the foreigner.