For the first time in my nine months at the museum, I tapped into my reserve of vacation days to take a weekend trip to Washington D.C. to visit my friend Katie, who is back to work but still on the mend after her attack. As an added bonus, it worked out that Abel was going to be in the country on a visit from Japan, and he was able to tag along. Given how far flung our college group has become, the chance to get three of us in one place would be a veritable reunion!
An unfortunate planning snafu led to Abel booking his flight on a different airline, into a different airport than we had discussed, and I was stuck flying into Dulles all on my own. ( word to the wise, never fly into Dulles unless you are going to rent a car, or you have a friend in Washington who has a car and a generous spirit.) Faced with the unpleasant prospect of a $70 taxi ride, I opted to take the bus to the nearest Metro station, and then take the Metro to the hotel. All told, including the 45 minutes I had to wait for the bus, it took two and a half hours to get from the airport to the hotel. No fun at all, but at least it only cost about five dollars.
I will say for the D.C. Metro system, that it is by far the cleanest public transportation I've seen in the United States. It didn't smell like pee, and the train cars are actually clean enough to be carpeted. The latter could have something to do with the fact that food and beverages are prohibited on the trains. The stations are a little unnerving, however. I can't quite put my finger on it, but their enormous size in combination with low lighting levels and the exaggerated coffered ceilings is vaguely unsettling to me.
Anyway, since the weather in D.C. was rainy and rather unpleasant, I scrapped my plan to attempt some solo sightseeing while I was waiting for Katie to get off work, and for Abel's flight to arrive. Instead, I took a nap to try to relieve some of the accumulated stress of my travels, so that I would be in a proper mood to hang out wiht my friends when the time came.
Katie wanted to make a home-cooked meal of manicotti to celebrate our voyage to Washington, and after she picked me up from the hotel (which I had advantageously selected for its location, which was a scant two blocks from her abode), I assisted her in the preparation of her specialty. Just as we got dinner in the oven, Abel arrived at long last, and we were joined by Katie's local friend, Melanie, shortly thereafter.
Although I generally don't care much for manicotti, owing to my dislike of ricotta cheese, Katie's version was a pleasant surprise. Kudos to her for getting me to be more open-minded! The four of us sat around Katie's apartment for a bit, but it was getting late for Katie, who is still recovering after all, so Abel and I took our leave, and stayed up a while later catching up at the hotel, until we ultimately retired ourselves.