I didn’t go anywhere that night. Better not to tempt fate, eh?
In any case I was tired and my feet were sore. Mall work is tiring for a bloke, I don’t know how many miles you walk in one of those big places, but it’s a lot. I always think the next time I go I’ll hire one of those little electric carts, but when I get there I chicken out and never do. It seems a bit like cheating too.
I’d also thought of taking an old bloke with me, hiring a cart for him, and then when I got tired helping him out of it and telling him he needed a bit of exercise for his circulation and so forth. But old blokes are like buses, never one around when you need one. (Why I said “old bloke” by the way, is because it doesn’t look good if you’re hauling some “old dear” out of her chair, just because you want a rest. You have to be sensitive, you know.)
So that was that, internet, emails, couple of Skype calls and off to bed.
Next day, after a very good breakfast indeed in the hotel restaurant, I was on the hunt for Blackberries. No, not more to eat, I had orders to buy three cel phones, not just any cel phones, but three specific models, and they weren’t even all the same. This was actually Santa’s job, but it was coming up to Christmas and he’d asked me to help. I said I would as long as I didn’t have to wear the outfit with the silly pointed hat.
I’d looked in the Mall yesterday to get an idea of the current retail price and once loaded up with that knowledge I contacted an Indian (brown, not red – I bet that’s not politically correct these days!) who I knew about in Miami and who ran a wholesale operation along with his brother.
Another taxi ride was called for. Different taxi, different driver, different sex in fact, this one was a woman. But she was from Equador or somewhere in South America. She was very pleasant and even spoke a little English. But I’m damned if we didn’t get lost again!
This time I was no help at all, I didn’t know where we were going either. We were in industrial Miami this time, no hotel tower-blocks to guide us. So we drove up and down more streets (yes, the wrong ones), she made phone calls to other equally bewildered cab drivers who had never heard of the place either and on that went for a while.
We did get there, I still don’t know how and sure enough the phone guy was there waiting for me. We exchanged pleasantries, I had a look at what he had for sale, picked what I needed (what I had been told I needed) and did a deal for the phones – job done! Then I called the taxi again. The driver hadn’t waited because I had no idea how long I was going to be, but she had given me her card with her cel phone number.
As it turned out I got to know the phone guy quite well. He was an intelligent guy and we chatted for a long time about phones, about the business, about the current hard times, real estate in Miami and how he liked living and working in America. He had been in the US a long time and was a naturalized citizen. And then he had other customers to attend to, but he loaned me an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy pad actually (nice job), to play with while he was away.
Why were we doing all this?
Because the cab driver got lost again on the way back to get me! Ffs!
Eventually she arrived and, to my amazement, we got back to the hotel without any trouble. I think she had been up and down the streets so many times by then that she had got to know the area pretty well.
I thought about going out again, but the way my luck was going in picking cab drivers, well….. There was nothing I really needed, so I watched tv for a while, attended to emails and then went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Note to non-Americans: you cannot be in the US without sampling one of their great steaks, two inches thick and tender as can be. That was one steer that didn’t die in vain and I took my time to enjoy every bite.
After that a short walk to the hotel gift shop, final few more small prezzies for Christmas and a couple of cans of energy fluid for me, Monster they call it, red bull in a proper man-sized can it is, and lovely stuff. Then up to my room, repack of my cases and off to bed.
I was good to go. Nothing to do the next morning but get up, get washed, put on my clothes and head for the airport.
What could possibly go wrong?
Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.