Thursday, June 18, 2009

DC Trip – June 12-13, 2009

I originally booked the trip out to DC for a conference which I have, in the past, found great value in. When my work informed me they wouldn’t be assisting with the funding nor allowing me to take educational leave (but I was still encouraged to go), I canceled my conference registration and began looking at this as a fun vacation. Sure I would be meeting my friends out there who WOULD be going to the conference, but at that point, vacation is vacation. I would still be sharing a room with Babo from Portland, Oregon, and CorpseKitten from Kalamazoo would be crashing in the same hotel. DeltaForceCommander and FireRetarded from Minneapolis would be out there and we would find time for a drink or 13.

For some reason, there’s always a catch when I travel. If the hotel part goes smoothly, then the plane ride sucks. If the plane ride is fine, then my cab bursts into flames, etc. This trip was no different. Everything went well up until the hotel – no problems with the Minneapolis airport, no problems with the Reagan airport in DC; got on the hotel shuttle which was free without problem; got checked in and they knew who I was and spelled my name right. But when I went to go to my room, I waited behind 300+ jr. high girls who were part of a soccer tournament. When I say I waited behind them, I mean I was at the end of the line to get on the elevator… for about 45 minutes. Their organizer was directing the girls into the elevators in groups of 8-ish and wouldn’t let anyone jump in line not part of their group. So three elevators were clearly not enough. Stairs you ask? With 4 levels of parking before you get to the first floor, and with me being on the 9th floor, I decided to be patient and wait. And also watch people go ballistic when they would walk up, and the organizer would send them to the back of the line to wait. What a d-bag.

Anyway, I slept fine and woke up the next morning on time. Watched a cool tv show on mars landers (which none of you care about). My cousin, whom I haven’t seen in far too long came to pick me up. It was super nice to see her again after 6 or 7 years. We went back to her newly remodeled house and met her dogs Fiona and Heather. After the in-depth tour of her place, the rest of the family showed up - my other cousin whom I hadn’t seen in 6-7 years, her husband and son, and my aunt and uncle.

They had decided to take me to a Japanese restaurant for lunch - Maneki Neko. My aunt is Japanese (as in from Japan), and my cousins are decidedly more Asian than I am. And my father and his family have a nasty habit of being the world’s pickiest eaters. Thankfully, I never got that gene and am willing to eat lots of things, as long as they don’t contain seafood. Lunch was fantastic and it was funny watching my aunt eavesdrop on any conversations she hears in Japanese. My uncle accuses her of setting up dates with the chef at the restaurant because his Japanese is a little rusty and the chef and my aunt get along splendidly. I went with the Chicken Teryaki Donburi? Which is teriyaki chicken on top of a bowl of rice. It was really quite good. I’m guessing even my father could have eaten it .

From there, the aunt and uncle and one cousin and I headed to the national park (after driving past hugely expensive houses) to see the Great Falls area of rapids where the Potomac rolls into the DC area. The water was flowing really quickly thanks to a lot of rain they’ve had, and there were tons of people at the park. Really, a beautiful park which reminded me of the trip CorpseKitten and Babo took out to the Oregon Coast.

We saw what we needed to see and decided to go to the Air museum. I’m kind of a closet plane fanatic (not a serious one, but I do know some things and enjoy looking – twss). This is one of the coolest aviation museums I’ve been in. It’s in a giant hangar and they have waaay more planes, jets, engines, and shuttles than you would think would fit. They have the things hanging from the ceiling and on pedestals and bolted to walls. All kinds of extraneous missiles and satellites and flight simulators and prototype planes are in this place. Highlights for me included seeing an Air France Concorde (which I will rub into my father since they’re one of his favorites),
an SR-71A Blackbird (one of my favorites),

the Enterprise Space Shuttle (which I took a bunch of photos for M.Edium,

and an R2-D2 mailbox autographed by the U.S. Postmaster General and George Lucas (which I will rub into Coach’s face)(spite photos rule).

My cousin is a huge fan of Wegman’s, a grocery store out on the East Coast. Since I have some ties to the grocery industry, I was more than happy to come along and watch her shop at the number one grocery store chain the country. It’s pretty darn swanky and they’ve got everything. It’s actually really nice to shop at and she told me it’s kind of a treat for her to shop there on weekends when the traffic isn’t too terrible for her to drive to. Hilarious detour from the normal vacation action.

For dinner, my family wanted to take me to the place where Obama gets burgers from. You might have read about it. It’s called Five Guys. They have a very limited menu, but they have some of my favorite things – I ended up with a large bacon cheese burger and also a bacon cheese dog. The rest of the family ordered fries and told me I could share theirs since I was clogging my arteries anyway. The burger was actually one of the better chain burgers I’ve had. Lots of meat and lots of cheese and a couple strips of bacon. The cheesedog was split lengthwise and fried crispy and then covered with american cheese and a couple strips of bacon. The fries were good as well, but not being a fry-guy, it didn’t change my life or anything. There were crap tons of them though. Seriously, a full bag of fries, for what was supposed to be two orders. Fantastic meal.

While I was enjoying my dinner, CorpseKitten called to say she had arrived and hadn’t eaten, so if I could bring her something, it would be most appreciated. I didn’t get the message until much later, so she decided to order room service instead. I feel like a huge schmuck now.

My cousin drove me back downtown as I had received a message from Babo saying he had arrived at the airport. He had just gotten in minutes before me, so he had already checked in at the Hotel Monaco for us. The lady told me what room and I went and tracked him down in our room. And sure enough, there was only one queen-sized bed. We tried to get a roll away, but the room was simply too small to fit a roll away.

When we went upstairs to CorpseKitten’s room, we were not surprised to find that she had a room twice the size of ours. She’s like that – used to being catered to and treated like a princess (and she’ll kick my ass when she reads this). I sent my cousin an email and txt letting her know what Babo and I would want to do tomorrow since she offered to chauffeur us, and also left what time we thought we might be ready. I needed to charge my phone since it was dying, so I brought my charger up to CorpseKitten’s room to charge while we were talking. When we left for drinks later, I left it in her room to pick up later.

We hit the road in search of some food for Babo, since CorpseKitten and I had already eaten. We walked the blocks around our hotel and saw some chains we didn’t want o eat at. We also saw some Guardian Angels on patrol. I thought those guys went away in the 80’s, but I guess not. Hilarious black leather vest over white logo’d t-shirts with their snappy berets. Hilarious.

We found a place called Oya. It was the trendiest club Babo had ever been in, which is kind of funny, since he’s 71% more trendy than CorpseKitten and I. At the entrance it had huge chain links suspended from the ceiling forming a large metal wall. It also had slutty girls and girly drinks. Babo ordered some tempura shrimp and we started in on the girly drinks. The food was really good (we all borrowed some from Babo) and the drinks were pretty tasty with the exception of one. All were girly drinks though. We got a call from DeltaForceCommander and FireRetarded called to let us know they would be unavailable this evening because they had a long day. Lame.

We left Oya and headed back to the hotel bar. We sat and drank another round and laughed about random trips we had taken in the past. We also totally trash-talked Trash about ditching us this trip. Way to ruin christmas. We ended up shutting the bar down at like 2 am and headed back to our respective rooms. Babo and I in our really really cozy room and CorpseKitten to her spacious estate on the top floor of the Hotel Monaco. CorpseKitten called to ask if I needed my phone charger, and I assured her I did. So I went to pick it up from her room. I walked across the hotel, rode the elevator up three floors with two handsome gentlemen and walked across the remainder of the hotel to CorpseKitten’s room dressed in my complementary leopard skin robe. As you can see, classy. Especially with white socks.

Top 5 things about Day 1
1. Seeing Babo and CorpseKitten. I hate being separated from these people for long periods. I love them dearly
2. Seeing family I haven’t seen in 5-7 years where they have the home court advantage
3. Five Guys bacon cheese burger
4. Japanese restaurant
5. Girly drinks into the wee hours followed by leopard skin robe recon mission

Bottom 5 things
1. This was supposed to be a trip with Gerd and she should be here right now with me
2. Didn’t get to meet DeltaForceCommander and FireRetarded for drinks
3. Single queen-sized bed for two seemingly straight handsome gentlemen
4. Stupid elevator incident with the jr. high girls soccer army
5. Did I mention the single queen-sized bed?


Anonymous said...

Chao, that photo needs to be on your profile to the India team!


Anonymous said...

Oh and that was from me: EnYa Face! Laughing too hard to remember to sign off.