Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Day One: Washington DC

Scott and I managed to get up and out the door in time to catch our flight to Washington DC this morning [in truth, a week ago now; this is a delayed broadcast] which, frankly, is the sort of thing that always impresses me when it happens. Oh, we didn't hear them announce the flight so were among the last ones to actually board, thus ruining the day of the woman who thought she'd have all three seats next to the toilets to herself but the important thing is that we did get on board. (The C gates were packed at Seatac for some reason, so we had to sit some distance away from our gate. We're not so oblivious that we'd miss everyone else getting up and getting in line to board the plane.)

The flight was just what a flight should be: unremarkable. We noted, for the first time, the way clouds cast shadows on the land below. Montana, which doesn't offer a lot of other things to notice from however many thousands of feet above, allowed us to observe things like the shadows clouds cast. I also noticed that on a cross-country flight Alaska Airlines doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of free snacks. Last time we went to Boise, which was about half a year ago, there was complimentary beer and wine. This flight, not so much. And, yes, it's not like anyone needed liquor, free or otherwise, on a mid-day flight. I was glad I'd purchased crackers and chevre at the Beechers shop near the gate, however.

 Washington DC is damned cold, as it turns out, and we're regretting not having packed gloves. I don't know why I didn't bring a hat. But our little pied a terre is pretty darned dear, lack of places to hang clothes notwithstanding. It does have a tea kettle and some sweet bay windows. There's even a copy of Antonia White's The Lost Traveller on the shelves. Combine that with the gas oven and, well, you have a spot to die for.

 We haven't done much other than acquaint ourselves with the Metro system, buy a few groceries, and have dinner.  We had to ask at the Dulles Airport but now we know that you go down the ramp at Door 4 and cross the street to get to 2B to catch the 5A to DC, which 5A will cost you $7 per person. The directions lose something without the accent of the volunteer who gave them to Scott. The driver of the 5A kindly explained to me that they don't give transfers anymore and that we should buy a Smarttrip card at the Plaza d'Enfants station where we'd be transferring to the green or yellow line. Okay, so he didn't tell us about the green or yellow line; that much we managed on our own. We did require help to buy the damned cards, however; seriously, I should just have a neon sign that flashes "TOURIST" on my forehead.

 The Giant Food was perhaps the highlight of the evening. For one thing, I'd assumed the Utz brand of potato chips had been an invention of the "Mad Men" writers but, it turns out, not so much. The checkout was very slow, allowing me to appreciate the cover of the March issue of Washingtonian magazine which offered, "In Defense of Washington: America loves to say mean things about our town. Here's what to say back." I had no idea that DC felt picked on by mean bullies like me. Perhaps that's why I wanted to be extra nice to the checker who was, admittedly, quite nice back to me but who also blamed us for the lousy weather DC has been experiencing this year. We just got here this afternoon, you know? (I can't help noticing as I write this fascinating little update, however, that the internet connection at the room sort of sucks. Maybe that's one of the mean things people say about DC.)

En route to dinner (which was at Room 11 and was pretty darned excellent. The risotto and salad was fine; the burger, I'm told, was proficient; it looked pretty bloody. The drinks were good and despite the young urban professsionals at the next table, the ambiance was lovely. I'm in a parenthetical, aren't I?) . . . en route to dinner we had the pleasure of seeing a rodent dart across the sidewalk to disappear under a trash can. It was, we agreed, a rat of an agreeable size; not one of those Norwegian Blues that you see in Ballard. That the bathroom of the nearby Room 11 had bats on the wallpaper was, I am sure, just an amusing coincidence.

Now it's late, for those on the East Coast, and we hope to explore the Mall and maybe the zoo if the weather is decent tomorrow or, if it's not, check out the Vermeers at the National Gallery. In short, it's time to find out if the bed is as comfortable as one would like.


  1. Nice, though confusing...are you still in DC or back home? And more importantly, were there birds?

  2. We got back last night. There were birds. You can read about some of them in future posts (I'm milking this trip). And there are a few that were seen later in the trip that I've yet to identify; I didn't bring Mr Sibley with me. Don't change that dial!