Okay…Washington does not totally suck, but it has to be the least hip city in North America – a privilege I previously gave to Ottawa. Washington is like that tall, blond girl in high school who should be pretty, but her awkward conservatism and braininess makes her unapproachable unless you carry an L.L. Bean catalogue with you at all times. Washington is an empty mausoleum filled with empty politicians and keeners. I wanted Portland or Milwaukee, even Chicago would have been a step up.
To be fair to the American Capitol, I did only have 5 hours to spend downtown. It may have been a 36 hour layover, but by the time I made it to my hotel, there was no way I was taking a cab 50 kms into what might have been a dead city. So I rested the best I could, awoke at 8am for a workout at the Aloft gym, then onto a shuttle to the airport (15 minutes), a bus to the downtown ($6 and an hour long), then a metro ride ($14 for a day pass and two stops), then a bag drop at Union Station ($20 for a medium bag for 5 hours), and then I was off to the races…two hours later and with $40 less in my pocket.
My goal was to see the major monuments and walk the National Mall. The sun was scorching, but I had two bottles of water with me. I wanted to get as far from the Capitol Building as I could before I gave up. I really wanted to make it to the Lincoln Memorial, because I have. Even reading his speeches and letters. He was a man that I would have loved to hang with, over scotch, to talk about the state of the union and vampires. How far did I get? I made it to the gates of Arlington Cemetary, but it was a long, hard trek in the midday sun. Washington is the type of town that would work best on a misty spring evening or afternoon, when you had scored a cheap (it has the most expensive rooms I have come across, overall), and when you have time to enter the Smithsonian museums without any luggage whatsoever. In my case none of these conditions were true. Still, for my case none of these were true. But then there was Johnny’s…tune in for my review of this cool seafood bistro in the heart of the Capitol. On my flight back to Toronto…time to roll.