Thursday, January 09, 2014

The leaving is the hardest part. CES 2014.

I bet you thought this was going to be some sappy "it's so hard to leave all that technology behind" kind of post. You know this blog isn't like that.

No matter how fun (and I say that somewhat loosely) CES is, your whole existence revolves around getting out of CES. Getting into CES is a well oiled machine. Cabs come one after another to the airport and you can move through the taxi line remarkably quickly. After that - all bets are off. Waiting for a cab can really eat up a lot of your day, so you have to plan everything around this.

At the end of the day there are several taxi lines which are hours long and this is where things start getting creative. Usually people start pairing up and start spending a lot of money just to get out of that line. Sometimes you take one of the shuttle buses going to the hotels in an effort to find a shorter taxi line at the hotel. Which we've done one year.

Sometimes you get someone to split the cost of one of those limo/town cars. Which is really expensive frankly. But you'll do it if you are going to miss your flight. This year? We city bused it out of there. Do you know how long it's been since I took a city bus? I mean, as soon as I got a job you bought the crappiest beater you could find just so you didn't have to wait for a bus. So, lets say my whole working adult life.

This year it seems that taxi drivers and the bus shuttle drivers were in some passive aggressive spat. We didn't know it at the time but the first taxi driver that picked us up at the airport sort of gave us a signal. He said "I'm going to take you the longer way and it's going to cost you a few dollars extra, but I'm going to save you 45 minutes of traffic." At the end of the day we found out why.

We are all standing in the taxi line and we noticed the shuttle bus drivers were coming one after another through the convention area and blocking off access for the cabs to get through. These are full size buses. And since these buses have to wait for a certain amount of time to pick up passengers - it meant that NO cabs were getting through. And you'd see them one after another come from around back of the convention hall and just cut off all the cab flow. This must have been what was happening in the morning too. We just didn't realize it at the time. I've never seen it where the buses outnumbered the cabs.

Finally after about an hour and a half I walked up to one of the guys directing traffic and said no cabs were getting through. You don't want to get out of line at this point because all the cab lines are crushed. He said he'd been talking to his supervisor all day and he couldn't get it to stop. However, he went out of his way to walk us almost over to the bus stop that took you straight to the airport. I know it seems like I'm an asshole on this blog, but I'm really nice in real life or else he wouldn't have gone out of his way. There are zillions of people there.

While we were walking we made small talk and this is where the light bulbs of the hole day started going off. Sometimes you don't know why things are happening until you can look back on the whole experience.

Anyway, I was a little freaked about the bus at first. You don't really know how long it takes to get to the airport at the end of the day. Especially on a bus! It's a huge question mark. Plus, SF muni always has these crazy stories of shit happening on them, and I figured Vegas was somewhat more sketch. Drunk are everywhere.

But, to tell you the truth? I might bus it out of there next year. Of course the bus takes you to terminal 1, and we needed to be in terminal 3. You then have to take a shuttle to terminal 3 which we didn't know about at first. Thankfully our plane was delayed anyway. But for 5 bucks (it only costs 2 bucks per person, but we didn't have change) you get to the airport. And let me tell you, we've spent upwards of 50 bucks just to get out of there at least once. I don't care if I have to take a carrier pigeon - I'm getting out of Vegas.

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