Week before last I had to go to D. C. for some work training on Monday and Tuesday. I decided to ride the train up - it's about six hours from Raleigh by train; 4.5 to drive; and I hate flying, so it seemed like a good option. The ride up was smooth although I was a little panicked because I'd left the office on Friday in such a haste that I forgot to print out the information about the meeting time and place! I had emailed various people asking, but they were not answering over the weekend. I thought I figured out where the training was held; and I thought it probably started at 9, but decided to arrive at 8:30 for good measure.
So let me back up a bit. The hotel that was booked for me by our national office was called Hotel Rouge. Usually when one goes to D.C. for work they stay near the World Office proper, which is in Arlington, VA, so this was truly a treat. The Hotel was near Dupont Circle, a sort of newishly gentrified part of town (by newish I mean the last 20 years). It used to be sort of ghetto but has since turned into a thriving gay and hipster community. I was right at home. :)
I checked into the Hotel Rouge about 4 pm on Sunday. I quickly got settled and decided to set out for the National Gallery because I had never been there and they had an exhibit of Allen Ginsburg photographs. I have always loved the beats so I was super excited about it. I browsed through the main gallery, checked out the Ginsburg photos (which I loved!) and then crossed the street to the Sculpture Garden - a block large exhibit of different modern works set along a gravel path.
When I was done with that, I decided to head back into the vicinity of where I was staying and stopped at a restaurant near Dupont Circle and got two appetizers and a couple of beers. Fortunately I was not hungry because of the incredible heat - they were the smallest appetizers I have ever gotten!
The next morning, I got up and arrived by 8:30 at the alleged meeting place only to discover a locked door and a receptionist downstairs who had no clue of what I was talking about. Fortunately, around the same time, I received an email from the training coordinator who informed me that the training actually did not start until the following day. Not quite sure how that mistake happened! Pretty embarrassing, actually. But in any case, I returned to my hotel, changed clothes, extended my stay an extra night, and then changed the return ticket for the train.
The downside of the mix-up were obvious: I'd messed up the dates of my training, I needed more clothes and would be slightly short on a couple of my meds. But the good side was that I had an entire unexpected day of sight seeing in D.C. I decided to go to this new place called Museum - a museum of news. It sounds kind of weird, but it was really cool. Some of the highlights: part of the Berlin wall, part of one of the World Trade Center towers, Ted Kaczynski's cabin (the actual one!), among many many other cool things.
Ted Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber's) Cabin
After that, I headed to Madame Tussauds wax museum. I had never been and thought it would be a good way to kill some time so I didn't get stuck riding the subway during rush hour. All in all a very good day in the city.
Tuesday morning, my training began. It was really good - we were introduced to TNC's new website platform, and talked some about web writing in general. That night, they provided dinner for us at a restaurant near there. No time for sight seeing that day. We finished off the training the following day at noon. I made my way back to the hotel, got my stuff, and took a taxi to Union Station. I love the feeling of just being in the city - you can pretend like you live there, fantasize about the urban life, and no one knows differently.
The train ride back was more crowded than the ride up had been. Every seat in our car was taken - many people were aboard for a long haul (the train runs NY to Miami). Because of various delays, I was two and a half hours late getting back to Raleigh.
It was good to be home. It was even better that I had the next day off work to just chill, unpack, rest up and regroup. Only seven days until Todd and I would set off on another trip - to Cleveland to see my dad for the Fourth of July. More on that to come.