Sunday, November 26, 2017

Uber drivers of Vegas

Once I'd cleared customs and security I caught my only cab of the summer to the Rio, left my luggage (or what little of it had arrived: hand luggage only) at the bell desk, and went to play my first event.

After busting that a few hours later, i reclaimed my luggage and caught my first Uber of the summer to 5631 White Dune street, where I would spend 6 happy weeks with an eclectic mix of Americans. Offered three options, I of course chose the cheapest without knowing what it was, something called Pool. Richard was my first Uber driver of the summer, and immediately I was getting flashbacks to 25 years ago when I trotted the globe as a highly sought after and paid technology consultant. More often than not whenever I landed wherever my latest gig was, I was generally met by one of the executives. Generally an American (back then even more so than now, Americans ruled the technological world no matter where the physical location was. Dubai, Lagos, Singapore, Zurich or Hong Kong, it didn't matter: Americans were in charge of the technology).

Richard was almost a composite of the different American executives who would pick me at the airport back in the day. Affable, loquacious, well educated and travelled, tech savvy and able to talk intelligently about almost anything, and well equipped and willing to dispense nuggets of life wisdom acquired over the decades, they always made for the most pleasing introduction to a new project.

We chatted a bit, and he asked me what I did. When I told him, an unexpected Indian voice behind me exclaimed "Wow, you're a poker player". It turns out Pool means you share your Uber with another client. Until he was dropped off, most of the conversation was me answering the five most frequently asked questions people who know little or nothing about poker ask when they meet a pro.

After he was dropped off and I started talking to Richard, it became clear why the flashbacks. He actually was a technology executive, albeit retired. After selling his company he moved to Vegas to enjoy his retirement. A few months in he found lying by the pool all day a little dull, so he started Ubering. We chatted mainly about the practicalities of travelling, and he expressed sympathy when I explained my bags hadn't arrived. He had horror stories of weeks in Kuala Lumpur waiting for bags to arrive. When I told him I was arriving at the house for the first time, he insisted on waiting to make sure I got in. After punching in the 12 numbers required to open the door, I turned to wave goodbye.

This wasn't the end of it. He got out of his car and approached me with some final words of wisdom.

"Make sure the airline knows the gate code and communicates it to the delivery company. Otherwise you could be waiting a while for those bags"
In my mind, Richard encapsulated almost everything I like about Americans. Efficient, friendly, open and sympathetic, without even a hint of bullshit.

Roberto brought me from the house to the Gold Coast (where I almost got arrested but that's another story). I hadn't had my morning coffee yet which meant I was still kinda asleep. This and the fact that Roberto seemed the quiet efficient type meant that very little words passed between us.

He asked me if I had any musical preferences. I hadn't.

He asked me if I needed water. I said I didn't.

He seemed a little relieved I wasn't in a chatty mood.

Carlota was my second Pool driver. I wasn't in a hurry that morning and the pool option was a good five buckaroos cheaper so I decided what the Heck, let's scrimp a little.

By now I understood that the gate code had to be texted to the driver immediately to eliminate any gate related delays. I saw Carlota approach the gate, stop, and then stay stopped for a few minutes. She had the code but clearly something was up. So I hurried from the house to the gate.

Carlota, who it turned out was what I think is referred to as a BBW, was pounding on the keypad with the vigour of a lady who had just learned that the deadbeat Dad to her kids was cheating on her with her younger sister live on the Jerry Springer show. When she saw me on the other side of the gate, she volleyed a bunch of words in my direction, only a couple of which I deciphered.

Foo. Nummer.

I responded by shouting her numbers. She responded by looking at me like I was talking Martian.

I signed the digits with the digits on my own hands. Her face grew angry, and I was suddenly scared I'd accidentally semaphored her something truly offensive.

Then a trace of enlightenment crossed her face, she looked down at her own hands, repeated my signing, and then punched the four numbers in. The gate opened and i sheepishly climbed in the passenger seat.

It was already clear that communication with Carlota was going to prove difficult. She let fly a string of words, not even one of which I caught. But I got the gist: she was still frustrated over the keypad. Unsure of how much blame I should take, I stayed quiet and sheepish until she let outa few hearty guffaws that made clear she was over it or at least starting to see the funny side.

I was relieved, but also alarmed to realise we were driving in the opposite direction to the Rio. After a while she started hollering at her phone. Apparently she was having trouble locating the guy I was supposed to be pooling with who, it turned out, was Indian.

"Don' no whay you be foo"
The answer came back in very precise but heavily accented English. To my uneducated ear she seemed to be talking to Apoo from the Simpsons.

"I do not understand a single word of what you are saying"
Confused grunt from Carlota. Then she went again.

Same response.

Another confused grunt, then a hopeful look at me.

"He says he doesn't understand what you are saying"
That didn't help. It was clear her ability to decipher Irish accents was no better than Indian ones.

I figure this wasn't vital information anyway.

"She doesn't understand you either. We are outside the Gekko building. Where are you?"
"Not there"
"That seems clear. But where?"
"I see a building with GFH across the road"

I start to tell Carlota, then think what am I thinking and type GFH building on my iPad.

"The driver has no idea what that is. What else do you see?"
"What else? Please don't say road"
"Other buildings"

By now Carlota had decided to take matters into her own hands, realising that these two foreign foos ain't gonna get it done, and we drive around a few random parking lots. As we exit one, I see an Indian looking shape standing on the edge of the road, and direct Carlota towards him. It's our man.

He's exceedingly grateful at not having been abandoned this wasteland of mountains and office blocks.

"Ah wooden leave ya stranded"
He looks at me.

"She said she wouldn't leave you stranded"
Ravi is heading to the Trump. Something he's not at all happy about.

"It's an obvious terrorist target. I mean, the idiot has his name in giant letters on top of the building. It might as well say Come Blow Me Up. Most obvious terrorist target ever. They know that, and still my company books me in. I'm not crazy right? It's an obvious terrorist target, right?"

I agreed, while Carlota mumbled something under her breath about Trump.

As she dropped me off, I waved goodbye to Ravi. He waved back sadly, with the demoralised look of a man who had been dropped off at his doom.

I'm glad you made it home alive Ravi.


Live Cash Home Games we provide free in-house food and free accommodation for our players from the foreign lands!

Thanks James :)

Got a good reaction so part 2 coming soon


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More