Friday, March 28, 2008

Washington, DC: Day No. 1

After badly needed 10 hours of sleep I spent my first day here in Washington, DC walking around the city. I also decided to go for a very American first day here especially in terms of eating. So I started my day with a bagel with cream-cheese which I got on my way to the next Metro station. It was followed by some Oreos bought from my all-time favourite store "7-Eleven" which I learned to love on my 4-week trip through Taiwan back in 2006. For lunch I decided to go with a Tuna melt before stopping at a coffee place for a "Grande Latte". I think dinner is going to consist of pizza or something. Okay, okay, enough with the food already...

I went to the National Mall which I had briefly visited when Aaron and me were in town the week before Christmas 2007. This time 'round I found the place to be much more lively, there were lots of people wandering about, playing soccer, playing frisbee or jogging along the Mall. The weather wasn't all that spectacular, there was the occasional short rainshower and the temperature must have been somewhere around 12° C or 13° during most of the afternoon. But I imagine that once spring really hits the city the National Mall will be quite a nice place to hang out and who knows maybe I can even motivate myself to do some jogging there myself (don't laugh, I know who you are!).
National Mall
I walked around The Capitol...

...stopped by at the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court...

...before I went up Pennsylvania Avenue until I stood in front of #1600: The White House.

From there strolled up 18th street and Connecticut Avenue to Dupont Circle.

I made some random first impressions such as the fact that it's absolutely impossible to starve in DC (as I learned today the locals don't usually use the name Washington). There are literally hundreds of caf├ęs, sandwich places, delis, burger joints, salad bars, etc. and I can't think of any other city with so many eateries.

Another observation is that the most popular and important accessory to feature in the district are workplace-badges. The last time I saw so many people running around with badges around their necks was Computex in Taiwan.

One of the few people who didn't sport badges were the poor bastards trying to get people to sign-up for Greenpeace. Having had a shot at such a job myself several years ago (and failing miserably because I'm just not good at convincing people about something I don't believe in myself) I really felt for them. So I wished everyone good luck in reaching their daily quotas and moved on.

Another thing that impressed me (and something that I hadn't quite expected) was the fact that many of the buildings in the city-center are actually quite nice. Obviously I'm not talking about the federal buildings because most of them are rather dull. However some of the office and commercial houses are really interesting constructions.

Building near Dupont Circle
What I also enjoyed - and this is something that I've always loved about places such as Washington, New York and London, is the multicultural flair on the streets. I could easily spend a whole day at a random street-crossing here just watching people and I wouldn't be bored for a second.

What else comes to mind? Ahh, yes, during lunch I also read a hilarious rant in a newspaper about inappropiate songs at highschool athletic events. The author was complaining about the fact that he had heard songs such as Eric Clapton's Cocaine, Chumbawamba's Tubthumping and Semisonic's Closing Time which feature references to drug and alcohol use. Good stuff indeed!

Anyway, I guess that's about it with my account about Day No. 1. I'll probably spend the evening reading or watching some "2 1/2 Men" episodes (my current TV series of choice) on my laptop because even though there are hundreds of TV channels here I can't find anything even remotely interesting.

BTW, Wayan from organized a OLPC News DC Meetup for tomorrow and that's definitely going to be a great evening!

I'm going to leave you with some random photos that I took during the day. Enjoy!

In case you can't read it, the cover says: "bitch - feminist response to pop culture"

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