Tales from the DC Area: Day Two Report

FYI: We’re moving to the District of Columbia (or as reasonably near Tess’ new job as we can manage). This represents a huge change for all three of us. Tess has been working in the area for about the last month and Aral and I flew out this weekend to spend some time with Mommy and get introduced to our new digs.

Flying

Aral has never flown before. He has also never been introduced to the great variety of public transit systems we took to get here. Early Saturday morning, I plopped his butt, wrapped tight in a blanket, into his car seat in my truck and took off from Boulder, Colorado headed for DIA.

After getting him dressed in the back of the truck we toddled off to the bus stop to take the shuttle to the terminal. And that’s where the adventure began. From bus to escalator to subway (to the terminal) and then onboard a Boeing 757-200 it was a day long romp in the candy store for a kiddo that really digs big machines.

I have to say that TSA is very nice at DIA. The huge pin in my left foot didn’t seem to be a problem for them. On the flight out to DCA we were surrounded by folks from the area. Everyone was returning home and they were supper nice and helpful. The standard “how-could-you-bring-a-kid-aboard” scrutiny, which I’ve become somewhat desensitized, was not an issue. I actually felt pleasantly surprised when we landed and someone held the aisle for us to get off the plane. That dude deserved a kiss.

Food

DC is going to make me fat. Saturday evening, after Tess picked us up from the airport, we strolled around her apartment for a bit and then stopped in a nondescript Lebanese Restaurant. “OH MYYYYYYYYYY!” is about all I have to say about that experience.

The next morning Tess took us to a place called LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN where I got an omelette with smoked salmon and chives that melted in my mouth. It was also nice to eat a long table, juxtaposed with strangers, Continental style. I haven’t had that experience since I lived in Tokyo.

DC will a) likely turn me into even more of a food snob than I already am. The coffee at QUOTIDIEN was remarkably better than anything I’ve quaffed in recent memory that I know that bar has been lifted. Honestly, I’d rather go hungry for a long while searching for food that good than waste time in the pointless mastication of inferior goods. And b) necessarily make me a lot more concerned with earning my calories. I’m going to need to research good places to go running and return to that habit very quickly.

Traffic

This is a downside for certain. I’ve been working steadily on my overland vehicle. It is comfortable, stable, well-thought out, and completely pointless in the greater Metropolitan DC area. And you guys drive like mad men. This morning I watched someone in a Fiat 500 cut in front of a six ton Metro bus. Yeah, not a great idea Darwin!

As Aral and I begin to search for a place to stay long term I know I want a) easy access to the METRO (specifically the train system) and b) a much, much, much smaller car. Driving OOTEK around DC will almost certainly be more of a chore than a pleasure and I haven’t the slightest idea how I’m going to park it.

It is in cherry condition (even though it’s snow white) so if you’re looking for an amazing machine, capable of driving just about anywhere you might want to visit in the West let me know. I’ve got lots of time, but when we get back to Colorado I may try and sell it. <QQ />

Museums

Apollo-Soyuz Meet up (Hubble model in the corner)

Sunday we took the Yellow line from the underground city here in CRYSTAL CITY across the Potomac and to the NATIONAL MALL where we spent the morning at the NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM. When I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13, I went on a school trip to DC with some class mates from my middle school. This museum was the highlight of that trip and it did not disappoint this time around.

It is a truly impressive  display of Human ingenuity and drive. Getting on an airplane and flying 2,500 kilometers over half a continent takes on new meaning when you can see before you all the steps it took us to get to this point in our development. An amazing amount of effort. We’re a splendid species of apes.

I cannot wait to explore all the other locations around this place (as well as go back to the NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM). I have not been this impressed with what we’re capable of since I walked into my first major data center project. Personally, being in a place like this, gives me some hope. It makes me feel less like we’re diving headlong into a dystopian nightmare.

Back to KSR

This is better than Mighty Machines

Ever since I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Science in the Capital” trilogy my curiosity has been peaked. Previously, I could not have imagined myself living in anywhere along the East Coast. I was raised in a different culture, one that looked outside itself and outside its own humanity for value. I grew up loving vast, uninterrupted desert spaces and mountains that climbed up and up forever. The best neighbor was the one miles over the horizon and beauty came from things and places that had no human involvement.

Being here, a place that has been transformed fundamentally by long term human habitation, is a lot like being a fish not only out of water, but one that has bee transported to the surface of the Moon. I am, moment to moment, culturally challenged. Hell, for the first time in a very long while I am a minority.

So, while I haven’t the faintest clue how I’m going to fit into all this, I am stimulated by the newness of it all. That’s good, it means I’m still adaptable.

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6 thoughts on “Tales from the DC Area: Day Two Report

  1. DC is so full of stuff if you have kids. I grew up 20 minutes outside the city and have so many great memories of museum trips, festivals, and great cultural events growing up. Enjoy your new home (which, is, in my totally unbiased opinion, the best city in the country).

    • Thanks Hannah,

      And that’s saying a lot coming from Iceland (a place I’ve always wanted to go). Doing my best to find some cool things for a three year old boy who loves big machines. Just standing on the balcony right now (we just saw a V-22 Osprey flay by) seems to be great a start.

      Suggestions are always welcome!

      • Also, don’t forget the nearby Baltimore! They have the science discovery center AND the ships and submarines and what not at the harbor….those were always my brother’s favorite homeschool field trips. And the Walter’s Art Gallery in Baltimore has full suits of armor. Also nearby if he likes airplanes is the College Park Aviation museum, which has lots for tots 🙂

      • Sweet! I we’ll look into all that. I think it’s merely a matter of time. His window of opportunity is somewhere between when he wakes up in the morning and about one in the afternoon.

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