Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mini East Coast Tour: Washington DC (Part 1)


I'm home from my mini-vacation. I actually got home a week ago, but considering it took me a MONTH to write about getting home from Korea, I think I'm doing pretty good. Ages and ages ago, back when I was still in Rocky Mount, Pru told me that if I ever wanted to visit New York, I could crash on her couch. I always meant to take her up on the offer, but first I was working, then unemployed and broke and then I moved to Korea, which effectively ruled out weekend trips to New York, but I'm back in the US and after living at home for a month, I was ready for an adventure on my own.

Train Tracks
Train tracks through Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I took this picture a year and a half ago when I lived there.

I spent the first half of the trip in Washington DC. I took Amtrak from High Point (with a quick stop in Winston Salem to see my brother which, because it was my family, ended with him caressing his ass in front of a Baptist minister from my mother's family's home town, OMG my life). The train wound its way east, stopping in little towns as it went, including Rocky Mount. Every time I was in downtown Rocky Mount (which, admittedly, wasn't often) I would go down to the train station and wish like hell I was on the next train out of town, so there was something fitting about finally leaving town on a train, albeit over a year after I moved away. Also, I was able to see the library and the YMCA, the two places I went most often. The train also past by Halifax and I looked up from my book long enough to make a rude gesture as we barreled past. I also read a book and a half on the train ride alone. Sure, I'd read the books before and I read fast, but that's still 600 pages in one sitting. And that, my friends, is why I always run out of books on vacation, no matter how many I take with me. It's also the reason I've read the 1,000 page Lonely Planet Southeast Asia On A Shoestring travel guide cover to cover.

I love Washington DC, mostly because of the Smithsonian Institute. A lot of people say they like museums, to which I always respond, "No, I *really* like museums." I spent almost my entire four days in Washington at various museums, part because I'm a GIANT NERD and part nostalgia from working in museums for a year. I was staying in a hostel near the Mall and every morning I would walk past the Natural History Museum and duck in because hey, what the hell, I might as well take in the Hall of Paleobiology since I'm in the area. And then hours would past and I would stumble down the steps and realize I'd just waste four hours in the Natural History Museum. AGAIN!

I did, however, take time out of my busy schedule of attempting to visit the entire Smithsonian in four days and accidentally went on a date with a married man AND got kicked out of my hostel. See, I'm not completely lame. In my defense, I didn't know he was married until the middle of the date. I met the guy at my hostel one morning and he invited me to lunch later that day. We met that afternoon and while we were walking to the restaurant, he asked if I was married. I thought it was a strange question, but I told him no and, casting about for something to say, asked if he was married. He responded, "Yes, but my wife is back home in India," and suggested we eat at a restaurant that was so fancy they probably wouldn't have let my jean-clad self in the front door. He continued to court me for the rest of my stay, mostly trying to get me drunk in the evenings, despite my increasingly strong refusals.

Married Dude: Tonight I will take you to a club. Do you like to drink?
Me: Go away.
Married Dude: Don't worry, I will pay for your drinks.
Me: I find you creepy and unattractive.
Married Dude: I will pick you up at 9:00.

I also had a chance to meet up with while I was in Washington. Siobhain is one of my closest friends from Korea and I hadn't seen her since September. We met for lunch, ended up spending three hours at a burrito joint catching up and then went in search of a yarn store, which is pretty much par for the course with us. Then we went out to dinner and a bar with her friend Julie, who lives in Washington. Julie offered to let me spend my last night in Washington at her apartment, which turned out to be a helpful offer since my hostel screwed up my reservation, gave away my bed and left me with no where else to spend the night. Of course, I was in such a snit packing that I left my cell phone charger and a pair of shoes and had to stop by the next morning and go all angry southern woman on the front desk so I could pick them up.

Part II: New York City coming soon soonish. Maybe.