Well, my attempt to rescue the Panda down in DC was extremely unsuccessful, largely due to lack of effort and a little thing we humans call “work,” which turned out to be more of an hour-sucker than anticpated. Of course, there’s that thing about me kidding about the whole ordeal, too.
My plans for Friday night in D.C. went askew, so I ended up taking a walk from my fantastic hotel to a little Irish bar around the corner called The Dubliner. The fantastic cut of pork I had bears mentioning here, but the most notable anecdote of the night was the gathering of nearly fifteen people, all of whom were in their 70s and 80s, their white hair covered by Santa hats, their bodies draped in red Christmas clothing, with matching red faces (from the flowing Guinesss, no doubt).
A quick conversation with one of the folks next to me ensued and it seems this group of revelers had made the Dubliner thier home base for the past twenty years. Every year on the first Friday in Decmeber, they come from all corners (New York, California, England, etc) and gather at the Dubliner all day for food and (mostly) drink. How funny and somewhat inspiring to see a group of people at that age with the energy and gumption to don holiday clothes, stand on stools, shout joyously at each other and shoot pics with their digital cameras. I hope I’m there someday. Not the Dubliner, per se, but there.
After dinner, it was right back to the hotel for nearly three more hours of work. Not the ideal Friday night. The following morning I got up very early and went for a quick drive around the National Mall, which was just about two blocks from the hotel. Early morning is the way to go – there was literally nobody around, so I could simply stop the car right in the middle of the road, get out and snap some pictures like the one you see at the top of this post.
I did manage to park at a few spots (reserved for buses!) and get out and walk around a bit, taking stock of the new WWII Memorial unveiled this past summer, getting close to Lincoln, seeing the Vietnam memorial again (one of my favorites) and walking around the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.
Your standard roll of touristy shots can be found here, including a couple of shots of my hotel from Thursday night in Reston, VA, one of the worst hotels I’ve ever stayed in. The contrast between my hotel in DC and the one in Reston (where I stayed on Thursday) is quite obvious, no?