Howdy from Detroit

Greetings from the Motor City!

I knew I was in the right place when the “Caution – Wet Floors” sign outside the airport ladies room was in English and German. This bodes well, thought I.

I had a good experience with Uber, the new hipster taxi service. After I got my bag, I reserved a car by opening the app on my phone and pushing a button. The app knew I was at the airport and informed me that I would be picked up in 9 minutes. Because the airport is so spread out, the driver called me (my phone number is on my account), and we worked out a pickup location. Within minutes, a black Lincoln Town Car pulled up at my feet. Dennis, the driver, was very friendly, and we talked about Detroit on the way into the city.

At $70 from the airport to downtown, Uber is not the cheapest option. However, having ridden in Detroit taxis, I thought it was well worth the extra cost. Clean car + friendly and helpful driver + extreme convenience = priceless. The best part of it is, Uber and Cadillac are teaming up this week to provide free rides within the downtown area during set time periods. All I have to do is open the app and select the Cadillac option. That alone recoups today’s $70.

Because my Airbnb host wasn’t home yet, Dennis dropped me off at the Westin Book Cadillac for a drink. The Book Cadillac is a historic hotel in downtown Detroit that fairly recently went through a major renovation. It is quite literally the toast of the town this week, as Mercedes-Benz has taken over the place. There is even a large “C” out front in the Mercedes typeface, for the all-new C-class being revealed this week. I had to elbow through more than a few well-dressed Germans to get to the 24 Grille at the back of the hotel. Where I am pretty sure I saw Adrian van Hooydonk.

If you know who that is, you know I felt a bit starstruck. Don’t worry – I hid it well.

If you don’t know who that is: Adrian van Hooydonk is the head of BMW Group design. He is rather important in the car world. And he saved us from Chris Bangle. I kind of wanted to prostrate myself at his feet, but I was sitting on a high barstool.

Next time, Adrian.

Meanwhile, I met some very cool guys helping out with the Mercedes-Benz regime this week. Hi Larry and Don!

The festivities for me begin sharply at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, so I’m off to rest my little typing fingers. ALSO, I’m going to be writing for Jean Knows Cars for the next two days (!), so my recap of each day will be posted there first. I’ll get you guys a link to it, though.