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DC & Headache on the Hill, Part One

April 21, 2015

The trip to DC was great!  Priority seating with Virgin America is still mostly worth it, although it looks like you board with most everyone else now.  I was seated very close to the front, the seat in the middle was empty, and my suitcase fit right in the overheads close to where I was sitting.  Need a stress-case like me ask for anything more?  Virgin’s wi-fi – that’s another story.  Too expensive and no video streaming or downloading.  WTF?  Needless to say, I was video-less the entire flight, because my iPad is full of something that is not video.  And my work laptop is a video-free zone.  Probably a good thing for someone with a screaming migraine from the change in altitude, being squished in a metal box, the re-circulated air, lack of gluten-free food, take your pick – “the stress of traveling” pretty much sums it up.  I had already decided that pain meds were going to be mandatory on both flights.  I ended up working and listening to tunes, which was great, because of course, I am behind at work.  I will have to fit another couple of hours in during my trip, maybe at night while I am trying to stay on California time?

The shuttle ride from Dulles was very interesting.  Our shuttle was full to the hilt – I was in the front seat, which actually ended up being awesome for Ms. Sickie/Ms. Sightseer.  Not feeling social, I acted like a teenager and was glued to my phone, occasionally looking up to see the freeway and traffic.  Finally I looked up to see a sign “Pentagon”.  I had never seen the iconic building before, and of course, it doesn’t look like a pentagon from the road, but it was actually quite nice on the two, or maybe three, sides I saw.  Of course the security looked like…..  Hmmm, I was going to say Fort Knox, but I think “it looked as secure as the Pentagon should look” works here.  Dropping off some folks in Pentagon City, I didn’t know there was such a place, and Arlington (or maybe Pentagon City is in Arlington?), we took off across a bridge to DC.  I’ve been to DC twice, but seeing the Washington phallus, hmmm, hmmm, Monument from afar is always a great start.

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Then we quickly drove next to a beautiful old railroad bridge and right by the Jefferson Memorial.  I realized it was time to put away the stupid phone and engage (and you can’t really take decent photos with an iPhone through a shuttle window while moving fast anyway).

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Next we hit the Capitol and Supreme Court, dropping off a few passengers in a beautiful neighborhood right east (I think) of there.  I was thinking, people live in beautiful brownstones a block away from the Capitol?  One of the things I love about DC is that there is so much regular right next to so much spectacular.  It’s just all mushed together.  Maybe all East Coast cities are like that, but it’s so different from the West Coast (well, San Francisco is a lot like that).  I guess it’s exciting to this gal, who grew up in the suburbs.  Back to the ride.  As the GPS lady said, “turn left on Pennsylvania Avenue”, I mentioned at this point to the driver and the one passenger left that this ride was better than any paid tour.  The second to last stop was the Wilard Hotel next to the Treasury building, which blocks the White House from view after all, but it was quite a building itself (that lucky European passenger got off here).

Off to the hotel where I am staying for the week.  The shuttle driver from Cameroon was super nice, and we chatted about Africa, Canada, California, and how hungry we both were.  Luckily I was his last passenger of the day, so off he went home to find some food.  I, on the other hand, didn’t find any food.  After unpacking and taking a much needed bath, I took off to find the neighborhood Whole Foods to load up on gluten-free whatever I could find.  (Have I mentioned that I have celiac disease and can’t eat a lick of gluten?  I’ll save that for another post.)  I heard some thunder and lighting, but I thought, whatever –  a spring rain will be lovely.  Not!  I turned the wrong way and minutes later was soaked through my stupid jeans, hoodie and mule tennis shoes.  And lost.  I do have a good sense of direction, usually, and so made it back to the hotel just fine.  I was forced to eat a protein bar and potato chips for dinner, but it could have been much worse.  Thank goodness for my protein bars – I brought a case with me!  After an episode of GOT, a good night’s sleep and some coffee (looks like all I can “eat” at the hot food buffet – even the Danon yogurt has gluten – and who knows what’s in the eggs), I am off to finally find that damn Whole Foods and load up on food and breakfast.  I have the whole day to myself, so hopefully my head will cooperate, and I’ll see some good stuff. Georgetown?  American History Museum? Inside of the Jefferson Memorial?  My “only” sightseeing goals for this trip….

Positives for the Day:

  • Being driven all the way to SFO by sleepy, awesome boyfriend
  • Remembering everything you need (so far) and having Adrian tease me about how much stuff I brought! (my two “carry-on” bags weighed no less than one ton)
  • Being in a multi-cultural capital city with unlimited things to do
  • #HOH2015

Talk at ya again soon, and as always, stay positive!     Sara

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