Tuesday, April 24, 2007

4/23/07 - DC: A View From the Hill

Well, as you can all see, I have finally been able to access the internet and post a new blog. I had an entry all set up for yesterday, but I was not able to post either using my laptop or the "High Speed Internet Access" that is provided where I'm staying - the Best Western on I St. South & Madison here in DC.

Needless to say, I wanted to tell you all about my first day here in DC... so I decided that I'd be resourceful and while visiting Georgetown today I would go to the on-campus Library here...

My trip on Sunday night got off to a little bit of a rocky start - my plane, which was supposed to leave LAX for JFK at 11:20pm PT the night of the 22nd, didn't leave until 1:20am PT the morning of the 23rd. Yes, we were running 2 hours late! Considering that my connecting flight out of JFK to Reagan Airport (DCA) here in DC was scheduled to depart at 9:40am ET (6:40am PT). Fortunately, the pilot made up some time from LAX to JFK and we ended up arriving just a little before 8:50am ET - I still had over 50 minutes to get to my plane. Then another problem developed - they couldn't decide how to "deplane" us! It took them a half hour to get us off the plane. At 9:20am, I rushed toward security, quickly ran my stuff through, and headed off to catch the train which would take me halfway around the airport from the Delta terminal to the American Airlines terminal. I literally had to run all the way there to catch my plane, but I made it!

Once I got on the plane to DC, everything started to go perfectly. A smooth flight into DC and it took me only five minutes from the time I was off the plane until I was headed to my hotel room. They allowed me to check in over 3 hours early and with that, I unpacked and got myself together for a day of exploring!

As I looked out the window of my 7th floor room assignment at the Best Western, I pulled open the drapes to what was an amazing view of the Capitol Building on The Hill. As I turned to the left, I saw the Washington Monument jutting out from the West. Only an hour after I had unpacked my things, I set out afoot to explore the great city of Washington, DC! I had planned day one of my stay as just a day to roam around the city, just going whereever I felt led to...

Not surprisingly, my first stop was the aforementioned Capitol building... it's quite a breaktaking sight to see - though probably not as breaktaking as the amazing cherry blossoms which I could not escape the sight of. I then headed west, passing through the U.S. Botanical Gardens and then past the American Indian Museum - which was unfortunately closed, and the through the Smithsonian. I headed north to the American Museum of Natural History and then east past the Ronald Reagan Building. I then headed northeast, finally ending up just west of Union Station.

From the Union Station area, I headed northwest towards DuPont Circle. I figured that since I would be out that direction on Wednesday, it would be a good place to see... After nearly three hours of almost straight walking, I finallt decided to stop and have dinner and a drink over at the Bistrot Du Coin. The service was excellent, and the food even more so there. After a lot of deliberation, I finally decided upon having steak with a glass of red wine... The steak was tender and moist and the sauce was also excellent... I'd strongly recommend the Bistrot du Coin to anyone visiting the DC area. Around 5pm, I headed back home, stopping at a couple of CVS stores to pick up a few supplies that didn't make in onto the plane... Being a current Verizon employee, I did have to stop by the Verizon Center and take some pictures there. I hope the Wizards can have some better luck there when they play on Saturday...

By 7pm I was in my hotel room and pretty exhausted from the 10 or so miles of walking I did. As the sun went down and the night took effect, the view of the city became even more amazing... I've seen the Capitol Building all lit up at night on TV thousands of times before, but there is just something REALLY special about seeing it in person... The same can be said for the Washington Monument... While trying unsuccessfully to post here last night, I had the beauty of these two landmarks to stare at and admire... what a sight to behold!!! I was finally able to contact a few friends late in the night - about 12:30am ET and let them know I was OK... by 1am ET I was in bed, just very thankful that I made it here safely, and that my first day here just made me thirsting for more!!!

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