Monday, October 12, 2009

DC, How I Love Thee

So I went back to DC over a month ago, and I've just been too lazy to actually record my visit here. UNTIL NOW.

It sure is your lucky day, isn't it?

I got to the airport early, as is my routine. I know that people think I'm insane, but I really like people watching, and I HATE to be rushed. I stopped for some Jimmy John's on the way as Little Caesar's (bastards!) closed their restaurant in the main terminal, thus forcing me to alter my well-oiled routine. So instead of Little Caesar's, Coke, and people-watching, I was forced to have Jimmy John's, Coke, and people watching. It was unnerving.

I meandered through the ridiculously large terminal, pulling my suitcase and juggling my bag o' travel diversions (sudokus, cryptograms, books, and iPod). I plopped down at my gate and ate my sandwich while watching the pilot go through his pre-flight paperwork. It was fascinating.

Once on the plane, I was greeted with several welcome surprises: Northwest is now Delta, and since Delta is based in Georgia, and since Coke is bottled in Atlanta, Northwest now has Coke instead of Pepsi. It was a banner day to fly the friendly skies, let me tell you. Couple that with honey roasted peanuts (Northwest had discontinued snacks!) and snazzy uniforms, it was a great flight!

I am so easily amused.

When I got to the airport metro station, there was a huge clusterfuck of tourists attempting to figure out the fare card machines. I really didn't want to wait, so I thought that I would try out my two-year-old SmarTrip card. You know, the one that my old job furnished?

It worked! And it still had $30 left. Score!

So I was pretty much spacing out on the yellow line, waiting for it to cross the Potomac so I could see the sights, and I felt like a local again. It was my first time back to DC since I moved away almost two years ago. I didn't have to think twice about where to go and which metro train to take. I immediately fell back into my townie skin and settled back on the train with my book.

I was proud that I remembered where to go, though I guess that's the appeal of a system that hasn't changed much. When I got to Chinatown, I knew exactly which escalator to take, exactly which direction to go. DC's metro welcomed me back with open arms by having half of the escalators in the station shut down, and I felt more at home than ever, lugging my suitcase up several flights of stairs.

And that's when things started to get a little floopy. When I got to that last level before the street, I stopped. I moved over to the wall and stopped. I couldn't breathe. My heart was racing. I was sweaty, but I wasn't sure if it was from the escalators/stairs or an oncoming freak-out. Then I realized what was going on.

I was nervous.

I was so close, and I was nervous. I don't know why it came over me, nor do I understand. I was about to see my friends! Why was I scared? It was extremely strange, but I finally managed to get over myself and get my ass up to 9th and G.

Of course, once I wheeled my suitcase into Ella's, all it took was a glass of sangria in my hand, and I was fine. People arrived one after another, and soon we had a great group. I was so happy and so flattered that so many of my friends came out to see me!

Me and my Merrick

Mike & Meghan



Merrick, me, and Meghan.
In the bathroom.
No, I don't know why.

Me and Lauren

Shane, Katie, and Gabe

Some of the old group with the best bartender EVER.

I was really excited for the day to begin. Everyone was going to work, but I was going to run amok in our nation's capital. I didn't have that much planned, but I definitely had some hot spots to hit.

First, Laurel picked me up at Merrick's and we went to breakfast. She was leaving that evening for Switzerland (bitch!), so we didn't have that much time together. That's okay, because any time spent with food is fine with me. We went to Bread and Chocolate, which is as amazing as it sounds. I got fruit crepes and a mocha. Laurel got, well, this:

(Chocolate banana french toast)
(Also, I'm sorry that I cut off your head, Laurel.)

Laurel had packing to do before leaving for Switzerland (bitch!), so she dropped me off at L'Enfant Plaza to visit my old office. I was also very excited to see if Shooze was still in existence (Surprise news flash: It's not. Sad.) That I did, which was nice, and then Gordon and I went to lunch at another place I miss. He came in to work on his day off just to see me. SUPER NICE.

After lunch, I strolled down to the National Mall and stopped at the National Museum of Natural History. The Ocean Hall had been closed since before I moved to DC (2002), and had remained closed when I left (2007). But it had reopened sometime in the last two years and was just as amazing as I remember when I was twelve.

The new Ocean Hall at Natural History

Soon, I was antsy to see my old stomping ground, the National Museum of American History. It was completely closed to the public when I moved away, and, after massive interior renovations, looked like nothing I remembered. My friend and former co-intern, Mike, gave me an awesome tour of the new space.

Me and Stephen Colbert
(In case you don't know why his portrait is here,
follow this link to read all about the hilariousness!)

Sexy George. Obviously.

Fun fact: I'm still on their website, posing with a famous robot. (Scroll to bottom of page.)

By the time the work day wrapped up, I was ready for food. We met in Old Town for dinner and beers at Murphy's. Coincidentally, and of interest to anyone but me, we were placed at the same table that we celebrated my going-away not two years ago. Weird!

K-10 and me

I risked the ire of many by demanding that we meet at Eastern Market at nine o'clock. It was totally worth it, however, as the Market didn't really start to get crowded until we were leaving. And that's when we went to Capitol Hill Books, one of the coolest used bookstores in the city.

At Capitol Hill Books, possibly my favorite used bookstore EVER.

What's not to love in this picture?
Books? Good.
Chandelier? Good.
Organized chaos? GOOD.

The rest of the afternoon was spent gallivanting around the city. We headed to Dupont and stopped in at Secondi for consignment heaven (I got a scarf!), we toured Columbia Heights and Josh's new house, and we stopped in at Pulp, one of the coolest little shops in the city.

And then it was time to eat. Again! (I swear, most of my trip revolved around restaurants.)

Me and Joshy at Logan Tavern

Then there is this, basically an amazing piece of art. Is this dinosaur dead? I think so, because of the X's for eyes. Did waffles kill him? Lack of waffles? IT IS UNKNOWN.


K-10 and I watched the second half of the Michigan-Notre Dame game, most likely scaring people in her apartment complex with our screaming. After a nail-biter of an ending, we met Merrick for dinner in Del Ray - at the Evening Star Cafe. It was just as good as I'd always heard.

After a sleepover involving pillow fights and popcorn, we slept in before heading to breakfast. Then it was just a mash of street fairs, more shopping, and heading to Chinatown for an early dinner.

Obligatory Mall shot

Shane and me at my favorite Thai place

K-10, Jen, me, and Merrick

Interesting fact: I almost missed this plane for a myriad of reasons, the most irritating of them being the $&@&** shuttle bus driver at the airport. National Airport isn't large, but terminal A, from which Northwest arrives and departs, is a nice ten minute walk from the main terminal. In over five years of flying out of National, I only twice waited for the shuttle instead of walking to terminal A. Chalk it up to years of experience, because my decision to take the shuttle was one of the stupidest plans in the history of the world (the stupidest being "Who Wants to Marry My Dad" and The Holy Land Experience). The $&@&** shuttle bus driver almost get ten feet up his ass for driving like a degenerate who had never once been inside a moving vehicle. What should have taken one minute (two minutes, TOPS), took fifteen.

It's possible that all of this could have been avoided had I left the restaurant at a normal time instead of one hour before my flight.

It also might have helped that I had the correct time of my flight in my head and not the time that I had settled on, which was 7:30.

It was not 7:30.

I was that person that people sneer at - the one bustling onto the plane at the very last second, ruining the illusion for the two people in my row who were silently hoping that I would miss the flight.

I didn't, and that's how I got the coolest shot ever:

(Click above for amazing detail!)

Bye DC! I miss you already!

(All pictures from my sweet ass trip can be viewed here.)


Waayers said...

What, no mention of our amazing trip to Ross?? C'mon, I took some good pictures there!

md said...

love the photo of DC

lem said...

That is amazing detail in the aerial shot. You can see my place!

Heather said...

waayers - True, we did go to Ross. Actually, we went back again. Twice.

md - I can't believe that my crappy little camera was able to capture such amazing detail!

lem - I know! I stared at it for a long time, just pointing out different buildings.

Mush said...

I always love seeing photos of dc, and the aerial shot is great, even if you can't see my old neighborhood. Thanks for the post!