I spent the past few days in and around the wondrous city known as Detroit. Or as the French call it, Détroit [det wa!] This was one of the many fact’s I learned about five minutes after I arrived at my hotel and was held hostage in an elevator. A clearly intoxicated man, who was obviously very proud of his city managed to trap me on my ride up to the ninth floor of the The Westin. The conversation started off innocently enough, exchanged names and fist pounds. Next he asked where I was from, presumably so I could return the favor and learn that he was from Detroit, and a huge Red Wings fan. He then proceeded to ramble off many facts about the city. About thirty seconds into the ride, the elevator reached my room and I made to get off. At this point he puts is arm out across the elevator doors to stop me from leaving. He then puts his hand on the door so that it stayed open. The facts did not stop. At this point I was trying to figure out how to click the “Emergency Call” button on my phone without him noticing. Then, out of nowhere he steps aside and I get off the elevator. He later screamed “I hope you enjoy your cheese steaks at Le Bec Fin!” as I scurried to my room.
Every conversation with the residents of this fine American (barely) city inevitably made it’s way to the “big three.” I heard stories of people reciving threats for buying non-”American” cars. They referred to “foreign” cars as if they were illegal aliens in this country, attepting to take it over and steal their jobs. I was truly sad indeed.
Wednesday night, my colleagues and I attempt to have a “night on the town.” We head into GreekTown, have a great dinner at Fishbone’s. I recommend the Alligator Bites. We later go to the GreekTown casino and give it some of our money. The highlight of the evening was a tour of the GM Tower (or Ren Center). The building was quite impressive and had a lovely view of Windsor, Ontario. After this fine evening we head back to our parking garage to find that the car lights were left on, and the car would not start. Fantastic. That is exactly the situation you want to be in at 10pm, in a parking garage, in downtown Detroit. The terrible thing, was about four hours earlier as we were leaving the car I asked my colleague who drove if the lights would turn off themselves. “Sure,” he says. I believe I gave him the look of death at this point.
After asking a few folks if they had jumper cables to no avail, someone came up to us and said that his “friend” would jump-start our car for $30. Uh. No thanks. After much digging I find the number for Budget Roadside Assistance. Well, the number was for the roadside assistance in another state, however the guy on the other end was kind enough to give us the number for Michigan. (I am feeling real warm and fuzzy at this point.) My colleague calls the number and we manage to get a tow truck dispatched, ETA of about 35 minutes. At this point I get the urge to just try and start the car one more time. Lo and behold, it starts after about five seconds!