Last week I took time off work. The grand plan was to visit my friends in Washington D.C. and see the capital itself. Its been over a year since I last saw my friends and I’ve never been to Washington.
My first ever visit to Washington and it left a great impression: The White House, the monuments, the government buildings, the Smithsonian museums — I got to see, touch and experience all these places that I’ve seen in movies, read and heard about. However, it ended up being a very working vacation. As it happened,I worked harder during my vacation than in the weeks leading up to it.
A Blackberry is a great and a terrible invention, a blessing and a curse: emails and phone calls that find you anywhere — who came up with that?! I must have been quite a sight walking with a messenger’s bag over one shoulder, a camera hanging off the other shoulder and a cell phone pressed to my ear, talking to a client and closing business. Talk about mixing business with pleasure.
But a few words about Washington…
Washington is HOT. And I mean HOT. The temperature was in the 90s, the Sun was beating down mercilessly, there is not much shade around all those monuments and it is humid. Wearing jeans in that weather is not the best idea. I was amazed by all those government types walking around in suits. Better them than me.
Monuments, monuments and more monuments. After a while, I did not want to see another white-stone structure with names of states on it and tourists all around.
Washington requires lots of walking. I don’t remember when was the last time I had to walk so much. All the monuments are set quite a distance apart. They look deceptively close, but they are not. I never actually made it to the Capitol Hill, it seemed like the horizon — always close but you never actually reach it.
The Washingtonians are very active. I was tired just watching all the people who were jogging, running and biking in this hot weather.
The museums’ security is not consistent. At the Washington monument, my stuff went through a scanner and I walked through a metal detector and set it off. At one of the art galleries, security just briefly looked through my bag and let me. At another art gallery, security made me open and show every compartment of my bag. The security guard never actually touched my bag. At the museum of natural history, security poked through the main compartment of my bag with a stick and I walked through a metal detector, which, this time, I did not set off. Some food for thought there.
Our government is busy with things that we take for granted. A man sat down next to me on the subway. He was reading minuted of a congressional meeting on truck weights and dimensions. I never really thought about this before, but there must be someone who governs and decides those things and a million of others: how far apart should parking meters be placed, the type and color of flowers to be planted around the city, availability of public toilets, water pressure in the municipal water system. Fascinating stuff.
Washington is like no other city — Also on the subway, I sat across from a man working in the Information Technology Security group of the Pentagon. A group of people was discussing their Army contract and why the Air Force didn’t want to go through the same steps of signing a contract. Where else do you get to overhear conversations like that?!
I hate United, but more on that later.
I need a real vacation. I need a vacation somewhere where my BlackBerry won’t work, my laptop won’t connect and phone calls won’t reach me. Any ideas?
Filed under: Travel | Tagged: Vacation, Washington D.C. | 1 Comment »