You will have noticed I have made reference to Ubers a lot in these blogs. For the uninitiated (basically mum and dad), this is what they are. They are people who are using their cars as taxis. You book them via an app on your phone, so you request one, and about a minute later you are told when you will be picked up, who your driver is, what car they are driving and the car’s reg is. It will also tell you how much the bill will be and it is charged to your credit card so there is no fumbling around for change. As there are no overheads, they are generally cheaper than hailed cabs or mini cabs, so as you can imagine, they hate them, but we love them. There is also the possibility of pooling, so you can can share and often half the price (which is useful when travelling to and from airports). In Nashville we have Ubered everywhere as it actually cheaper (and more convenient) than the local bus.
The other thing that is really interesting is that, certainly in the states, they often tell you why they are Uber drivers. This is a compilation of some of our best and worst Uber experiences of the trip:
Our driver in Philadelphia was formerly a trader on Wall Street who needed a “less stressful life”. I’ll bet. I wonder if he brought any banks to their knees.
One of our drivers in Nashville had started driving last week as her divorce had just come through. She also told us about being a whistle blower in an old people’s home for the staff abusing the patients and how that when she has made enough money she was going to set up a care home of her own.
The driver who took us to the airport in Philadelphia was reading a book about the recipe for a good marriage (I say he was reading it, not when he was driving, it was by his side). So I assume he was about to either get married or divorced.
We have never had the same radio station on the car on any two journeys.
We have been in more Priuses than any other car, but seeing Karen climb (literally climb) into a jeep on Saturday night was hilarious. The step was at her waist level.
Most of of our trips have been uneventful, but one that wasn’t was our trip from Philadelphia airport to our accomodation. I had copied the address from the air BnB as 2120 S 24th street. I gave this address to the driver and off we went. As we got closer I got the distinct feeling were in the wrong place. I checked with him and he showed me on Google maps and it appeared to match the address. As we pulled up to number 2120 there was an old man sat on the steps who waved to us, so we assumed this must, unfotunately, be the correct place. We got out of the car with our cases and our driver shot off.
“Hello, is this Colleen’s place?
“This is 2120 South 24th Street?”
“But this isn’t Colleen’s place?”
We rang Colleen. She answered; “Oh my gosh, no, we are on 2120 South Street, at the junction with 24th street. You are about 18 blocks too far too South!” We booked another Uber and 10 minutes later we were in a much nicer neighbourhood. Our driver was from Puerto Rico and told us “hey, you will laugh about this later. You’ve got a great story to tell”. Indeed we did.
However, hands down favourite driver was in Nashville. When he found out we were from England (that question usually comes within the first 3 minutes of the journey) he exclaimed;
“Oooohhh, wow!! I love Benny Hill. Did-Dee-dee…” (stars singing the Benny Hill theme tune).
He then told us that he learned how to “speak British” from Benny Hill and proceeded with a display in British that would challenge Dick Van Dyke. The problem was the more we laughed (and we really were laughing) the more he did. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more surreal, he the told us how much he loved Bond films, especially the Roger Moore ones. His favourite was the Man with Golden Gun so he then sang the theme tune and recited entire scenes from the film in his best “British” until he dropped us off.
(As an aside, I have been mulling over the whole Golden Gun thing since I saw the prop in Washington, the gun was made from a cigarette case (the handle), a lighter (the body) and a fountain pen (the barrel). So far so good. It was the 70’s, most people smoked and a suave man (as Scaramanga was) having a pen on him was completely normal. But the trigger was a cufflink. Now most of the film takes place in Thailand and Scaramanga s seen mainly wearing short sleeve shirts, so how does he justify having a cufflink with him all the time? Can he only assassinate people if he is wearing a dress shirt? Still, that is one of the minor, of many faults with that film.)
All in all our little Uber experience has been enlightening and entertaining.