Thursday, October 20, 2016


I stayed in Annandale, DC and was hosted by Brooke for 4 days. I am so appreciative of the effort and generosity of people like Brooke, and Magnus and Mirko etc, who took time off work to escort me around their cities.

Brooke was a bit horrified at my choice of hotel because it was cheaper and not in a great area but I loved it! The room was enormous (and I have been squeezed into some cupboards this trip), the bed was comfortable (not a blimmin futon) and the local colour was great fun!

The lift was always an adventure. There was only 1 working lift and about 18 floors and it could only carry 6 people at a time took forever to get anywhere so you learnt pretty quickly to relax into it, chat in the queue, forget about trying to get anywhere in a hurry. The clientele were not well heeled, although there were a few startled tourists who were possibly booked here by accident. Lots of elderly, black-americans, teenagers, blue collar workers and dogs - you could have your pet to stay.

My approach is always to greet everyone in a friendly manner and be polite and really gets you through most situations. I don't know what Brooke thought the morning I hopped in the car reeking of pot because I'd shared the morning lift down with young men wearing gold grills and hip-hop clothes and speaking a 'street' dialect that was just fabulous. They were so joyful and full of brash confidence and had obviously been 'preparing' for their day. Anyway - I loved it.

A Triceratops at the Smithsonian; they were always my favourites as a kid.

We had agreed early on that we weren't going to race around like idiots and try and see everything and that we were going to relax and enjoy gorgeous food in great restaurants. Brooke and I had travelled in India a few years ago and both enjoy delicious food so I knew I was in good hands. We had fried green tomatoes and BBQ. If you ever need a food guide in DC; hook up with Brooke - 10/10 would use again!

Oh - and MASSAGE!! She booked us in for Thai massage on the first morning and after being told a gazillion times 'relax please' I actually did relax and it was possibly the best 1.5 hours I've spent yet. So funny though: Brooke wanted the works and I wanted relaxation; she came out like an energizer bunny (which lasted 3 days) while I came out like a lazy cat looking for a windowsill to curl up in.

In addition to seeing all the awesome buildings and landmarks, including the memorials, we got to the Smithsonian natural history museum and saw the dinosaurs and rocks and also managed to connect up with Phil Shapiro out at Takoma Park.

It was so great to spend time with Phil, visiting his turf, meeting his boss who proudly supports open source software - and yes they run Koha (all the cool kids do).

There was an amazing project in the hallway of the new community centre extension: a collection of portraits by Carollyn James showcasing and celebrating the diversity of the Takoma Park library community.

Phil Shapiro and the Faces of Takoma portrait wall.

No comments: