So! I needed to move from my AirBnb near Diego de Leon to my new apartment near Principe Pio. These places are literally on different sides of Madrid. I thought the easiest thing would be to call a cab. This sounded like an easy enough task but it wasn’t. Between intermediate understanding of the local language and simply incompetent service, it took much longer than it should have to get to my new apartment.
So my friend Deena and I heard that Uber was in Madrid. I thought it was really exciting because I used Uber in Albuquerque. We attempted to download the app and set it up. Both of us on different phones. I finally got mine to function after a confusing third time setting up the account. It wouldn’t take my card, it couldn’t read the address it simply wouldn’t load. So after wrestling with technology we found out there were no Ubers available. This was completely annoying. This was the first strike.
Next, we tried to call a company. The first company was asking strange questions. We gave them the address of where to pick us up, where to go and my phone number. Then they asked for another number. Then when we asked to clarify what they were talking about, they hung up. Just didn’t want to deal with Americans trying to get a cab.
Next, my friend called another company which was literally the same guy who hung up on us. Great! This mess again. Not only did he not clarify anything but he laughed at us. He actually put us on speaker phone and his co-workers are laughing at our confusion. Finally, the guy hangs up AGAIN, like the polite customer service agent he is. We are now at 20 minutes of just trying to get a cab to come to my apartment.
Finally we call a company. The cab is there in 10 minutes. HOWEVER when we tell the guy we are going to my apartment near Principe Pio, he’s like, “You are going to the airport.”
“No, we don’t need to the airport. We need to go to this address.” I point to the full address.
He asks again, “No, airport.”
We ask, “No, is that a problem?”
He says, “No.”
So we get into the car and load up my suitcases. Then when I show him the apartment address he gets out a book…. A BOOK! Not a GPS, not a phone but a freaking BOOK of maps. It’s 2014 not 1994. He says he’s got it. I’m a little be ambivalent.
Next he calls his superior to check in. He’s taking us to a place in Principe Pio not the airport, NOT THE AIRPORT. His superior is completely pissed. She is like, “No you take people to the airport not anywhere else.”
He responds, “I need to stay calm for the client.” Deena and I turn to each other with a look like, oh shit! This is not good, not good at all. Our luck is just impeccable today. We called a company that only takes people to the airport. We ask him if it’s a problem and he says “no.”
Then the taxi takes us through all the surface streets instead of the freeway. I know for a fact there is a freeway exit by my AirBnb and my new apartment. It would have taken us less than 10 minutes to get there but he has no idea what he is doing. This is probably because his job is only to take people to the airport! Not only the surface streets but through high population surface streets. He’s basically milking time or doesn’t know what is going on.
We finally get to the place and he goes to the wrong side of the street. Basically we have to go up a vertical hill to my apartment because he doesn’t realize that the street isn’t short there’s houses on the other side.
I usually hail cabs late at night and tell them my address. It’s usually not a problem. Apparently between new customs and lost translations we just had a a really hard time but now I’m in my apartment.
After the whole debacle, I took a great nap. I’m typing this with a view of the city and the sounds of people chanting for what I believe is a soccer match in the Madrid Arena.