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My Second Week in Las Vegas

I am here in Las Vegas two and a half weeks now. I am sorry for not updating sooner but life has been hectic for me. Practically every day was something and if not, I was trying to relax from all the running around.

One problem was with the scooter. The storage box on the rear fell off twice and went bouncing down the road. The first time the nuts on the mounting bolts loosened and fell off from the vibrations. The next day I drove back up to North Las Vegas to have a new one installed. This time they tightened to nuts tight. The following day the mounting bracket cracked and broke around the bolts. I had to drive back again the next day to get another one. This time I got a larger box that is removable. I also asked the owner to use a second nut to lock the nuts in place. This box has stayed on with no problem. One decision is, the top cover of the box is bright yellow. One thought is to paint it silver or black and the other thought is the bright yellow will be easier to see at night.

With all these trips to North Las Vegas, it did give me a chance to drive around and use different streets to get to know the city better. Especially with the test, I needed to take at the Taxi Authority (TA).

Last Monday I went back to the first Taxi company I had visited and applied there. I now have my DOT medical Health Certificates. As usual, I had one hour to go have a Drug Screening, which entails a urine and hair specimen. Late afternoon I called the taxi company and was told I passed and to come in Tuesday morning to fill out the job applications.

The next morning, Tuesday I went to the taxi company early and filled out all the forms they require. The next step is going to the TA for the Taxi Drivers Permit test. The other taxi company I had applied has a review class on Tuesdays at 11:30am to help perspective drivers pass the test.

Since it was only 9am I did not know how to kill two and a half hours. I drove around the area looking for a Starbucks. I finally decided to become a typical person in Vegas and went into a Hotel Casino. The Orleans is off the strip and close to where I was, so I went there. I looked at some of the slot machines and video poker and they all looked so different then the machines I am used to seeing. In the past, the only video units were for poker and most slot machines had the 3 to 5 wheels that spin. You could pull the arm down or just press a button to play.

Now all are video. They have so many strange configurations. In addition, no money drops out of the machine. That was what was used to psyche out the people to play, hearing all the coins dropping out of a winning machine making lots of noise. Now you put your money in to play and the machine shows you your credits. As you win, your credit count increases. When you are done playing, you press a “Cash Out” button and a slip of printed-paper comes out with a bar code and your winnings. You can use this instead of money at another machine or you go looking for a machine that looks like a change machine or an ATM. You put this paper into the slot and out come your cash. These machines will also make change. This reduces the amount of staff to make change or change your coins into paper money.

I sat at a Video Poker machine and started with putting in five dollars. I won some, lost some and eventually lost the investment. While sitting there I ordered coffee, which was my plan originally. It was still too early to head over to the Taxi Company for the review class so I decided to invest ten dollars more. I had some small winning hands and a few bigger ones. I finally noticed my credits equaled Twenty-Five dollars and decided to take my ten-dollar profit and go.

At the taxi company, Two other applicants and I showed up for the class. The instructor was nice and explained how the testing at the TA works. You sit at a computer and take the test there. You get 40 questions and cannot miss more then 10. The answers are all multiple choice and sometimes there are two correct answers but you need to pick the most correct. For instance, if a question asks where a certain hotel is located, one answer could give one street and another answer gives both streets of the intersection it is located. Questions can be about the location of government buildings, hotels, golf courses, strip clubs and points of interest. There are also questions about location of shows or attractions and math questions concerning making change. There could also be questions about the laws driving.

For the past few days, I had been studying the study guides. I even made a two-column list on my computer with the place on one side and the location on the other. I printed this answer sheet and then had a file on the computer with the answers.

Then he started asking questions that could be on the test. I realized with all my studying, I did not know much. I started thinking it would take weeks of studying and even cruising around to see the locations since that usually works best for me.

Wednesday I spent a lot of time studying and deicide to go to the TA Thursday to sign up and take the test to see what it is like. I did not expect to pass, but just to get the experience.

Thursday morning I got up and stopped at Starbucks to sip my coffee and spend some time reviewing my study guide. The problem is there are so many of every item on the list, and my bad memory, I thought I could never remember much and with so many, it will add to confusion. Well, after my coffee I scooted to Sahara Ave.  Once inside as always these days is, sign in and wait. I was eventually called and handed an application to be filled out. After returning  the application I needed to be called up to pay my fee and then they run a background check. Eventually I was called up to be brought to the computer for my test.

At first I was nervous, the first few questions I had to guess for the answer. I had heard of the place but could not remember the location, and then I started getting lots of questions about making change and rules at the airport. Then I got some questions that I had known.  When I noticed I was on question 40, I thought to myself, I wonder how bad I failed. Well I hit “Next” after I selected my answer and up comes a screen saying “You had 7 wrong, Congratulations, you Passed.”  I was in Shock; I have been here only two weeks.

I was next finger printed for an FBI check. It is nice it is no longer done with ink but a scanner type device. I am next informed I have to take a all day “Drivers Awareness” class with the TA. The class is held only on Thursdays and Fridays. Good thing it is Thursday so I was able to attend the next day and not have to wait another week.

The class started at 7:30am and was about the does and don’ts  driving a Taxi. In a town where the main business is Hotels, gambling and shows, there are some people looking for easy money and who else to rob but a taxi driver with all the cash. They tell you to take a good look at each of your customers so you will be able to give a good description to the police if robbed. They also discuss about the hotels, where you can pick up customers and other items they are concerned and responsible. There are TA Inspectors that have the same powers of arresting as the police and they can issue tickets. The good thing is if you get a ticket by the TA, it does not go on your license and your insurance is never notified. In the afternoon they gave a test and once your done, and if you passed, you get your Taxi Drivers Permit.

Now I am legally a Taxi driver in Las Vegas. Monday morning I will go to the taxi company and be scheduled for their training. As I have heard, the training is three days and starts on a Tuesday. If this is correct, I will be starting to work by the end of the week.

25 Responses to “My Second Week in Las Vegas”

  1. Dave LaBarr says:

    Dear Bruce,

    Congratulations. I knew that you were sharp but, even so, I am impressed.

    Best of luck,

    Dave L.

  2. Anthony says:

    Congrats Bruce, I look forward to a guided tour of the town one day and of course of the buffets!!

  3. Marvin says:

    Hope you get to pick up some Filipinos and impress them with your vast knowledge of the islands. Congratulations Bruce !

    • Bruce says:

      Marvin,
      My vast knowledge is mostly Davao, Samal and a little of a few other locations. I will remember to raise my eyebrows instead of saying OO even if they cannot see my eyes. 🙂

  4. SteveinDavao says:

    I want the guided tour, the buffets and Fremont street, all on the meter of course.
    Good luck, hope your first fare is a big tipper!

    • Bruce says:

      Steve,
      Bring a lot of cash, a long tour and stopping to eat can get costly, but your rich so it is ok. hehehe. I hope most fares are big tippers. hehe

  5. JakeB says:

    Congrats Bruce!! You seem to be adjusting well in your new environment.

  6. ian says:

    Bruce – 2 words- LOCK WASHERS !!

  7. *lynne* says:

    Excellent!!! Congrats on passing the exam! And getting well on the way to driving your cab!!

    • Bruce says:

      Lynne,
      I expect to get trianing the early part of the week with the company and be out driving by the end of the week.

  8. Lonnie says:

    Congratulations. Bruce. I wish you much success and that your wife can get over here as quickly as possible with all the paperwork required — I hope it goes by quickly.

    • Bruce says:

      Lonnie,
      Thanks, I hope I get her here as soon as possible too, I miss her smile in person and her hugs and kisses.

  9. jeff says:

    Good for you. Hopefully everything else works out as well as the taxi test did. Make lots of money.

  10. Tom Martin says:

    I am glad to hear all good news. You have started a new chapter in life and I know it is going to be a great one.

    We went today and bought the school supplies for 25 children. your sweetie will put them in the 25 backpacks this week and Sunday we will take them to the market for the kids. Had a great time getting them and glad your sweetie knows how to bargain.

    We took pictures today and will take pictures Sunday. I will put them on my Flickr Site and send you a notice when they are posted.

    Take care.

    • Bruce says:

      Tom,
      Yes, life here is progressing. Elena told me about your outing and the purchases. As for Elena and her bargaining, at times I was shocked, she can Jew down better then me, and I am Jewish. hehehe
      Thanks for the offer of the photos, I am sure they will make a great addition to the story.

  11. Tom Martin says:

    I sent a post to Leon Andrews Davao Unsensored. We will see if it is really unsensored or not. I ask why expats in Davao are not so willing to help the poor. You know me Bruce I say what I feel and if I step on toes so be it. Anyway since you are gone I do not know if I have any expat friends in Davao anyway.

    • Bruce says:

      Tom,
      You need to give some a chance, I was not the only honest and caring person there. You have become jaded by DAEA you are not giving more a chance. You should try to get up early and go to a Friends of Mindanao meeting.
      You know, I am here for you waiting with open arms.

  12. Gene says:

    Bruce,

    Congrats on getting it all done. Seems like a lot to do to get a job.

    An Americn friend of mine that lives in our town is going to New Mexico in September. He will be making an overnight stop in Vegas by choice. Is there a way he can reach you on arrival so as to be sure you are the one who gets him at the airport? He will be going to one of the hotels on Freemont St.
    Probably the same routing on the return as he uses Philippine Airlines into Vegas and then Greyhound the rest of the way.

    Gene…

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      Thans for the good wishes. As for your friend, have him contact me via email and I will give him my cell phone. If I am on duty when he arrives, I will be glad to drive him. I hope he is a good tipper, hehehe.

  13. jeff everett-davao says:

    Hi Bruce
    Thanks for the E-mail!don’t think I’ll be going there though .I don’t have the money to fly there let alone live there for 30 days.But please keep in touch i want to know how your getting along and when you’ll be getting that guest shot on C.S.I.(after you’ve been just plain shot that is ha ha)
    all the best to you
    JEFF

    • Bruce says:

      Jeff,
      I realize it is difficult to come here and get started, but it is even more difficult to survive in the Philippines without a decent and steady income.

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