October 11, 2011

After 10 days in NYC we boarded Amtrak and headed south, down to DC. The train ride was nice but the way Penn station manages boarding is nuts. They don’t announce the departure gate until about 10 minutes before the train departs, which kicks off a mad dash of folks racing each other to on the escalator that leads down to the platform. A bottleneck developes very quickly because there is only one agent checking tickets and only one very narrow escalator for each gate. And so people push and elbow and step on each other feet on accident and it just doesn’t seem like it should have to be so unpleasant to get on a train.

Because we weren’t on an express train the trip took about 3 hours. We stopped in Newark and Trenton and Philly and Baltimore. I may be leaving out another stop in New jersey, but I can’t remember and I can’t figure it out on the Amtrak site either. Union Station in DC was grand, as in grandeur, and it reminded me how travel was once considered this grand and luxurious thing to  do.

I had forgotten how close the east coast cites are to each other. Or to be more precise I had forgotten the experience of how close the cites are. It seems remarkable that so many people live so close to together, especially after living out here for 12 years where we are surrounded by vast stretches where hardly anyone lives, if anyone’s living there at all.

We did touristy things in DC, like walked the tidal basin, saw the new MLK monument, went to the National Portrait Gallery and the Women in the Arts Museum and did a night time drive around the city. But mostly we just wanted to spend time with our friend D. And that’s what we did. We ate some good meals together and laughed about our new car and the way Rachel did this funny thing at dinner and made coffee and shopped online for good socks and looked for parking spaces and went to some movies and took some walks and checked out the Dupont circle farmers market. We were all sad that it had to end.

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