Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and mild

I’m up early because I went to bed early. I’m trying to find info on how to get the DC metro to actually give you a Day Pass — what it does is eat your money and then spit out a card that’s NOT a day pass. Most logical cities have you choose your option and THEN put in the money, but not DC — they’re going to take your cash and give you whatever. If that’s not a complete analogy of government, I don’t know what is.

The trip down was quite pleasant. No problems getting the train into NYC, got in so early (we took an “earlier” train that was late rather than waiting for a later train that would probably be later), that we walked leisurely, dragging our little suitcases down 5th Avenue and over to Penn. We realized that we packed less for a four day trip than most poor commuters cart in on a daily basis.

Grabbed sandwiches to take on the bus and newspapers. We had a double-decker bus, and I was every bit as excited as any five year old. Yes, we rode on the top level.

For the most part, it was great ride. Across the aisle where an annoying young 20’s couple who alternated between making out, spilling orange juice everywhere, and taling really loudy about how ecologically responsible they are — of course, spouting misinformation and dropping contents out of at least half a dozen plastic grocery bags instead of canvas bags! You know, in the slice-and-dice movies, the arrogant couple that are amongst the first to get chopped up? These two were THAT much of a cliche. It was pretty funny.

Once we hit DC, it was only two blocks to our Metro, and, once the fare card kerflamma was dealt with (for at least yesterday), it was a quick 5-or-so stop ride up the red line to Van Ness. Our hotel is only about 4 blocks from the stop. The neighborhood is really great — UDC Van Ness campus, lots of little stores and restaurants, and, if you head towards downtown, the embassy residences. Quiet, green, feels safe.

The hotel: mixed feelings about it so far. The positive side: Enormous, comfortable beds, Wi-fi. Good desk, good desk chair. Nice shower. Lots of natural light. Heat that works and that I can control (which is more than can be said for home). The towels are decoratively folded (yeah, i know, silly, but a nice touch). The downside: They made us line up in the lobby before “official check in time” started. WTF? The “coffee maker” makes one cup at at time, they only give you the ability to make ONE cup of coffee, and there’s no creamer, which I didn’t know until I tried to make a cup of really bad coffee early this morning. Can you say “cranky”? There are no drapes or blinds — just sheers. There’s heavy fabric along the edges of the window, but it’s for show and doesn’t pull across the window. On top of that, the lights for the well-lit parking lot shine into the room so I can read without putting lights on. Not all the lights in the room have light bulbs in them.

Let’s say I’m having a chat with the desk when I go down. I’ve stayed at this chain a lot, although never at this hotel, and this hotel does not meet the chain’s usual standards.

We walked around late in the afternoon, enjoying the embassy residences — somehow I ended up over by the Czech Republic residence — CZK turns up everywhere in my life lately. There’s some lovely architecture in the neighborhood, and you get the sense that people really live here.

And everybody runs. That’s the big thing here — running. I guess they spend so much of their day sitting that, the minute they get out, they run. I’ve never seen so many runners in the early evening in my life outside of marathon training sessions.

There’s a little cafe down the street, so we’re going there for breakfast, and then heading first to Arlington National Cemetery,then to the monuments on the National Mall, and then to the various Smithsonians. Tomorrow is Library of Congress and Folger, and maybe sticking my head in at Capitol Hill to say “hey”. We left timing loose. (And yes, I have solid enough relationships with those I’d see at the Captiol that they said, “Just stop in whenever you have a minute; we’re always glad to see you.”) I’ve also got a couple of work appointments for Confidential Job #3 that are scattered across the days, but everything’s pretty close together.

I’m going to try to get a little writing done in the next hour or so before we leave.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 6:25 am  Comments (3)  
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3 Comments

  1. Typical DC – take your money and then tell YOU how they’re going to waste er . . .spend it.

    Sounds like you’re having a good time. Stay safe.

  2. Laughing at the bureaucracy that extends right down to the automated ticket spitter-outer. It’s why I visit but don’t stay. Too much government presence. I like things a little less, well, regulated.

    Have a nice trip. 🙂

  3. We want to take the kids to Washington next year. I’ll be sure to remember everything you’ve mentioned.
    I hope your trip goes well and that you have a good time!


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