Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On walking between bookstores

The final day of Leanne’s visit in D.C. had one goal, and one only: to make us completely and utterly exhausted so that we would be able to sleep on the overnight train to Boston. We did our best, and we were pretty exhausted, but did we sleep on the train? Not so much…

Thursday started early – we had a breakfast date with our mutual friend, Sarah. Even though we did most of our packing the previous night, somehow we were still unable to be completely ready at time. Fortunately Sarah was patient, and tolerated being attacked by my host family’s over-enthusiastic dogs. When we finally were off, it turned out that the intended destination – a vegetarian breakfast place – was not yet open. We settled for alternative number two – bagels in a local college hang-out. The place was more that good enough, but in reality it probably had not mattered at all where we ate – we would have had a great time anyway. I have met Sarah in person before, Leanne had not, but our online interaction goes a long way back. We had such a great time thinking back to the “good, old times” we used to have, and since we share a lot of mutual interests, the conversation never stalled.

Sarah kindly dropped us off at the metro station, and then Leanne and I headed into the city. My office at George Washington University is, as I may have bragged about before, just a few blocks from the White House, so we went there to drop off our luggage before we started the day that was to be characterized by walking.

We walked to the White House, around it, from there to the Washington monument, around it, down the mall to the Lincoln memorial, yes, around it, and back to the White House area where we had lunch. Then we returned to my office, walked around it (but it’s not very big), went out again and ended up in Georgetown.
During this walk we also learned that Leanne apparently speak squirrel. The squirrels in D.C. are plentiful and relatively tame – they will for instance happily pose for photographs. However, I have never seen one approach by request until now, in fact it got so close that both Leanne an I were slightly worried the little bugger was going to climb her…

Squirrel pit stops set aside – in total this is a decent walk, especially considering we gradually added weight in our bags (we did naturally stop in every bookstore on our way). When we finally returned to my office that evening, we were tired enough to take advantage of my GWU privileges and call 4-RIDE to transport us to the metro rather than walk some more. This ensured that we got to Union Station in one piece (well, actually, Leanne and I were two separate pieces, and we had many pieces worth of luggage, so let me estimate we got there in maybe seven pieces). From there we managed to print our tickets, have some food, and board the 10 o’clock train.

The train ride was long. It is one thing to spend ten hours on a train when it’s light and you can see things. It’s a whole different matter when you’re exhausted and cannot sleep. No matter how comfortable the seats were, they were not comfortable enough, and I had a feeling my neck wasn’t attached to my body in the same spot as usual when we finally left the train in Boston. However, despite the lack of sleep, our spirits were high. After a (not so) quick stop at Leanne’s apartment to leave luggage, freshen up and introduce me to her two beautiful cats, we went for a(nother) walk – this time around the area where she lives. It was very nice – one of the highlights was, naturally, a bookstore (before Leanne went to stay in one for the rest of the night – aka work).

When she left for work, I went on my own to the area around Harvard university. Forever and ever I will now be able to say that I once went to Harvard. Feels good.

The area is, however, worth a visit even if you hadn’t been able to say those words. It’s filled with quirky little shops of every kind (not to mention the bookstore of bookstores – I will shut up about them soon, I promise, or at least consolidate my thoughts into a single post…), lots of college students (but in my opinion they looked slightly smarter than what I see at other universities – this might be a trick of the mind…) and beautiful, old buildings.

Finally, however, the walking caught up with me, and I was thoroughly happy when I finally could go to sleep on Leanne’s couch.


Watery Tart said...

I didn't realize you guys had breakfast with Sarah!!! Lucky! And that was a TON of walking you did before leaving DC--Holy crap!

Loudest snort today was at arriving at the train station in approximately 7 pieces... I love your perspective, Mari!

Megan said...

Fun to know that you were in my neighborhood! Maybe we even ran into one another and we didn't know... So glad you liked it!!

Cruella Collett said...

Tami - breakfast with Sarah was so much fun. You should have been there! :)

Megan - are we talking about the Harvard neighborhood? If so, I ran into so many people there that I would be surprised if one of them wasn't you. The weirdest experience there was probably the guy that (loudly) said "Scandinavian!?" just as I passed, and I almost confirmed before I realized he was not talking to me (or about me) at all... But that wasn't you, I suppose, unless you are male, approx. 35 and Japanese, no? ;)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Sounds like a whole lot of walking, and a whole lot of books. Just my kind of holiday. Even if you don't factor in the Burrowers.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

And I just had to post to tell you that the word verification I had to do said "sluug"

Cruella Collett said...

*snort* That sounds like a very sluggish slug, Natasha ;)

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

That is an awesome squirrel picture. If I'd taken it, I would have considered my trip to D.C. a total success and headed back to the car.

"Got my squirrel. Done!"

Cruella Collett said...

But then what would I do for the rest of my three months in the DC-area...?
I like the ninja squirrel too. It was almost too easy taking pictures of them - I have never seen squirrels pose before, but these sure did!

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