Thursday, Day One, was insanely hot, exhausting, and a lot of fun. My group was on a VERY early flight out. There were 5 people I knew on the plane, including a friend who is on her way somewhere else altogether. The airport was pretty uneventful, which is the best thing an airport can possibly be!
Misty (a branch manager & friend of mine) has been to DC before, so she showed us how to ride the Metro. I have never seen more signage on a vending machine in all of my life! To make things more interesting, the fares go up on Sunday. Eek!
We found our way to the hotel (Homewood Suites – not an official ALA hotel, but it’s very nice!) and since our rooms weren’t ready yet, put our luggage in the hold, slathered on the sunscreen & headed out into the city.
Perhaps instead of “city” I really should say the marble and granite OVEN that is DC in the summer. I’ve been here in the summer before back in college, and it was a miserably hot experience. Walking through Arlington from the parking lot to the Tomb of the Unknowns because we were too cheap to ride the trolley = Mistake!! So I came prepared, but it was still crazy. Took the Metro to a stop near the Mall area & walked through American History & Natural History museums. Saw Michael Jackson’s hat, Michelle Obama’s ballgown, the Ruby Slippers, George Washington’s camp trunk, and the wired & posted bones of a scientist & his dog. We walked and walked and walked. Then went outside “to warm up” (that wasn’t my idea) before continuing to the next stop to do the same thing. By the end of it, I was hot, cranky, hungry & headachey. Still have that headache, actually!
We went back to the hotel to check in & try to recover from the heat. I’m from Charleston, so I should be used to this kind of heat, but this is what home feels like to a tourist. You’re constantly in search of cold water and A/C, worrying over whether that pain in your foot is already a blister, and wondering what the hell is in your backpack that’s gotten so damn heavy over the course of a day.
Walked with my group after I’d eaten dinner to Chipolte near DuPont Circle. Everything looked really good & discovered there’s one an hour and a half from home in Columbia, SC. We went ahead on to Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe, which I’m glad to say was crowded with shoppers and diners. (Go, indie bookstores!)
At this point, though, I had been through 2 pairs of shoes and was ready to go back to the hotel, clean up & get in the damn bed for the rest of the night, which is what I did. Day One ends.