America, October 15, 2007
Andrew is a transportation conveyance expert
A musical frog. That's what my crazy Portland taxi driver is trying to show me as we speed through the city. A wooden frog he rubs with a stick to make sing, which is somehow more important than lanes, lights, or the cars around us.
After I relaxed, realizing that Andrew knew every street, curve, and alley in Portland, I too enjoyed the harmonious amphibian. It was just one of many curiosities that Andrew brings to his job as he bought me to my many destinations. And Andrew brought me many places in Portland.
When I travel for business, getting places in my city of operation is the largest source of frustration. I have no clue where my meetings are, beyond and address that may or may not be logical to the city grid. Often, I donâ€™t even have an address, locations are often all known to inhabitants, but confusing to visitors. Directions like "turn left where the old schoolhouse used to be" do me no good.
But if I find a taxi driver like Andrew, one that's quick, knowledgeable, and frog-friendly, I get their cell phone number and become their best friend and customer. I even happy paying a surcharge over the local's rate, just to get where I need to go, efficiently.
And going all over Portland this week, I learned much from Andrew about the city and its environs. Basically the whole city, maybe even America herself, exists due to the Wilmette Valley - the most fertile valley on earth according Andrew.
Its deep, rich topsoil, blown from Mount Hood eons ago, supports everything from the hops for amazing brewpubs that sport craft brewed beer at every bar, to the Columbia River's massive outflow and hydroelectricity output for Google servers.
Andrew was also a conduit to all the best bars and clubs, known and just opened, that I could ever want to explore. With one of the highest concentrations of adult strip clubs in America, I was tempted, but only for a moment. I'm not a strip club guy. I did take his recommendations on brewpubs and was rewarded with Lucky Labrador and Rock Bottom.
He also knows the second most responsible taxi driver in Portland, Andrew being the first of course. His recommendation was indeed courteous and efficient, but lacked Andrew's flair. And let's be honest, after endless days in meetings, we all need a little flair.
So here's a big thanks and shout out to Andrew, Portland's Taxi driver perfection. If you want the same primo treatment, call (503) 270-1953 and tell him "John Wayne" sent you.