Saturday, November 2, 2013

You Work That Out


Random thoughts on Washington DC: 

The day prior to an important first face-to-face meeting with the President (of a client, not Obama), I reconnoitered the building location and went in search of a parking garage nearby. I was on foot, having taken the Metro into the city, but would be driving a rental car to the meeting the next day. Didn’t want to try wandering the labyrinth of DC streets in morning rush traffic, trying to find a place to park, and risk being late for the meet-up.

A nice young man at the Marriott reception desk told me of a garage behind the hotel, so I went around the corner and found it. I asked the attendant what time the garage opened, and as important, did they tend to fill up early in the day? “We open at 7:00 am,” he said. “You work that out from there.”
*
After the F2F meeting, went in search of the Omni Shoreham where the President was speaking at an aviation safety conference. A very pleasant doorman allowed me to park in a valet spot near the door so I could make a quick getaway to the airport. He understood the urgency of catching my flight when I told him I had not seen my wife for three weeks.

BTW, Google Maps blew it again. Advised me to take the 4th exit at Dupont Circle onto Constitution Avenue, but it only goes south at that exit, not north toward the Omni, the Zoo, etc. Had to backtrack to get into the Constitution tunnel under Dupont.

Have the Canadians taken over the US Government?
The nation’s capital stimulates mixed feelings for me. It can be an inspiring place, especially the museums. On the other hand, it is exasperating to look at the Capitol Building and White House and realize how dysfunctional and totally inept our current government is. Shutdown. Obamacare website disaster. The K Street lobbyist crooks. Etc etc etc etc etc ...
I did manage to spend a few minutes at one of my favorite places in the world, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum (more on that separately) and another few minutes, on DL’s recommendation, at the Newseum, which chronicles journalism through the centuries (interesting to see the repeated attempts at repression of the press – much like today in the UK, US, and elsewhere ... politicians and fat cats don't want the truth to be in the public view).
The Washington Metro always evokes thoughts of H.G. Wells’ Time Machine for me. As you descend into the bowels of the earth via long escalators, it reminds me of the underground world populated by the Morlocks.
 
In recent years, I’ve gotten a bit uneasy about taking photographs of government buildings and especially of transportation facilities. (That’s tourist, not terrorist, officer.) 

In earlier blogs I wrote about being told “no photos” in a train station in France (http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/2013/09/can-you-bail-me-out-of-jail-part-deux.html) and "no photos" of a police station (http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/2013/08/hi-honey-can-you-bail-me-out-of-jail.html). A couple years ago, I found a great location to video/photograph airplanes landing at DFW, then realized some authority might not approve. (Is this 'Honey, can you bail me out of jail, part IV?' Part III would be: http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/2013/10/you-stole-what-from-where.html).

Nonetheless, I snapped some quick shots in the subterranean station, as you can see here and on my Facebook page. In return, the NSA was probably monitoring me from 18 different cameras. I could shave off my beard, maybe my hair as well, but I’m sure that won’t fool the facial recognition algorithms.
Love how the SEIU color-coordinated the flower beds with their logo
One of my favorite moments was heading back from the Newseum to catch the Metro back to my hotel. I had returned from a slightly different direction from whence I came, and was looking for a sidewalk straight through the little park where the Metro entrance was.

Government park designers had decided to put a semi-circular paved walkway that did NOT lead directly to the Metro. As you can see, the people decided to make their own path.
Sort of symbolic, don’t you think? The government does what it feels like, not necessarily what the people really want.

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