Friday, August 14, 2009

CFUnited 2009 - Day Three, DC edition

I haven't written out my CFUnited Day three notes yet, but I thought I'd quickly write some notes about my evening trip to Washington DC.

After the demos, I walked to the front of the Lansdowne resort. No other CFUnited attendees had responded to my tweet about heading into the city, so I was a bit torn. I'm not a traveller, and I feel so lost - I would be kicking myself if I didn't at least try to see the sights. The shuttle to the "Metro" (like a train or subway to DC) pulled up, and I hesitantly got on. I had no camera or anything from my hotel room, but this was my best chance to get there.

One other conference person got on and introduced himself as Jose. I mentioned my plan to head to the Smithsonian area by myself, and he gave me some tips. I was a bit worried, but he helped me figure it out. We chatted about DC, the US economy, health care, web development, all the light topics.

Just over 90 minutes later I reached my stop. I climbed the escalator to "The Mall". Wow.

It was a really warm night, and even as the sun set there were tourists and excited visitors everywhere. I had NO idea where I was, but I saw the familiar Washington Monument and so I started walking. It is a very strange feeling being in a strange place with no idea of direction or location - but it was a very cool place to be stranded.

An hour and a half later I managed to see the monument, World War II memorial and fountain, Lincoln's Memorial and the White House. The buzz from the tourists, even so late in the evening, was almost tangible, and staring up at some of the historic monuments I could almost feel where some of the Americans get their pride of their country. The sights at night were pretty much breathtaking.

I grabbed a quick sandwich from a souvenir shop and hustled back to the train. I didn't make it to the train station in time (it closed early for repairs or something), but some tourists helped me find my way to the next station.

I got settled for the long ride back - after a train ride, a shuttle ride and a taxi ride, I managed to make it back after almost three hours. What a memorable adventure, even if the actual DC visit was short. Thanks to Jose, wherever you are, for being such a great help!

Photo by ehpien on Flickr

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