This town

The city is filling up with people, but they aren’t here to stay and they aren’t typical tourists, I’ll call them inaugurants. Already on Saturday they were coming in by the busloads, jamming Metro stations by unfamiliarity of how to use their paper farecards in the turnstiles (put them in the slot – fast, and be gone), standing on the left sides of escalators, rushing subway doors, talking on the subway, walking three abreast on the sidewalk, taking pictures of everything, and generally committing a host of other unconscionable acts.

People ask me for directions and I can generally point them in the right direction. Turn-by-turns can be excruciating due to DC’s infamous 6-way intersections, tunnels, and intimidating traffic circles. English-speaking people seldom ask me for directions, which also complicates things.

Saturday I went to Georgetown again. I like that part of the city, and had a hankering to get a double espresso and finish a book, maybe write a blog post. The line to get into Georgetown Cupcake snaked away back the alley and up the hill behind the building – inaugurants I presume. The cupcakes are good; we get them catered to the office sometimes which is more agreeable to me than standing in line in an alley all afternoon, although Georgetown alleys would be ranked highly on lists of scenic alleys. The espresso didn’t happen and the book is still unfinished.

The sun was bright and the day was warm. I kept walking. Pennsylvania turned to M Street, and M Street ran into Canal. The spires of Georgetown University were close so I turned uphill and explored campus. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place, with huge stone and brick buildings like Princeton and Harvard. I had no desire to enroll. College is a great place for enlightenment, a quick way to see the world, but after a few years it’s time to move on, time to start doing and living.

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Healy Hall – Georgetown University

The National Symphony Orchestra was playing a small show at Kennedy Center and I got there early enough to get a good seat. Went outside on the veranda afterwards and watched the lights along the river.

I’m still toying with the idea of selling out and moving downtown. To a tiny walkup or maybe a room in Georgetown if I could get lucky (I’ve taken luck for a pretty good ride so far and may be able to pull it off). My move east pared a lot of my stuff but there is still too much. I’d have to keep the car for work but a lot of other things could go. Essentials from the west are useless here: ski gear, big backpacks, mountain bikes, camping gear, and the list goes on. In Georgetown the only thing I would need would be money; life would be simple. Okay, that was weird logic. It’s such fun to dream. In short, I’d like to live in the District.

Today (Sunday) I rode the Arlington Triangle route, modified. Through Shirlington, down Four Mile Run, and to the airport. Planes were approaching overhead instead of the usual taking off which makes some weird sound waves when they come in. Anyway.

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This is a plane.

I detoured up to Arlington Cemetery and was turned back – no bikes allowed. Then I rode over the Memorial Bridge to check out the Mall action.

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Both sides of the Mall were lined with Jiffy Johns

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Lincoln Memorial

There weren’t too many people out yet; but the sidewalks were full so I decided to take to the streets bike messenger-style. I’ve done lots of rollerblading in heavy city traffic; zipping between lanes of creeping traffic for block after block was even more thrilling than I remembered. The streets were jammed with buses, taxis, and police. I looped the Mall and rode the parade route, which was closed for traffic.

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Independence Dr. was bumper-to-bumper with charter buses, click on photo to zoom

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The Capitol – all dressed pretty

I rode back over the river and back to my home in Virginia. All in all it was 27 mile ride on a nice warm day. It’s warm and sunny here way too much for January. I love this town.