Monday, July 5, 2010

Travelling to Washington, DC

I had a very interesting experience travelling to Washington, DC today. Perhaps I should have considered bringing in a sub to cover for me today. I should have known better than to try to travel to the nation's capital on, of all days, the 4th of July. *headdesks*

After I tied up a few loose ends, I finally started the drive to Washington, DC and the AGO Convention. Armed with Mapquest directions and plenty of water, I thought I should be able to make it in time to be all checked in and registered so I could see some 4th of July fireworks.

Alas and alack, it just wasn't to be. As I approached DC, much to my alarm, the exit I needed to take was closed due to the 4th of July festivities. So I took the next exit and wandered around until I found the Crystal City Marriott. I figured they might be able to figure out how to get me to my destination. A really nice person named Tony helped me sketch out a route to get to the Washington Wardman Park Marriott, which is where the convention is taking place.

After passing by a heap of cars and people lounging about, waiting for the fireworks to start (at 9.15 pm), I managed to find my way to the Key Bridge, which should, hopefully, take me to my destination. Not surprisingly, the road was crowded. Unfortunately, I missed my turn and had to figure out how to come back. By this time, it was already dark and I had a hard time reading the map. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the southwestern part of the city. (The hotel is located by the zoo in the northwestern part). I stopped at a gas station and asked a person there how to get back to where I needed to go. He simply said, "Make a u-turn and follow the road. It should lead you directly there." (I mentally scoffed.)

As I started, people stopped because the fireworks display was just starting at that point. A lot of the cars just pulled off to the side of the road, and the people left their cars to have a look. My thought: I'd already been riding around the city for at least 2 hours. It would be nice to find the hotel and settle in. So I saw some fireworks. Definitely heard them. Then I turned around, away from the fireworks and hopefully towards the hotel.

Interestingly enough, the road was eerily empty. I figured everyone was watching the fireworks. By this time, it was so dark that I gave up on reading the map. Somehow, I serendipitously found the hotel and pulled into the first entrance I saw. (That would be the bus entrance.) I flounced out of the car and towards the lobby.

The person who checked me in was sympathetic. Now here is where the squee-worthy stuff comes in. :) She said that because I am a Marriott Reward member, I get wi-fi for free in my room. :) I knew wi-fi was free in the lobby, but it was an added bonus to have it free in my room.

Speaking of the room... Oh. My. Goodness. She said she upgraded me because they were running out of space. So my room was in the Wardman Tower. I walked in... and it looked like a luxury apartment! I walked into a foyer. Further exploration revealed the bedroom with a very comfy-looking king-sized bed, a walk-in closet, a very spacious bathroom, a living room/dining room (!!!!), and a kitchen, complete with refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave oven, dishwasher, and coffee maker...!

I was *gobsmacked*. She certainly wasn't kidding when she said, "Upgrade".

Admittedly, all of this made me realise just how useful a GPS or a SmartPhone of some sort would have been. I'm sure I would have been able to find an alternative route more easily if I had either. And yes, I still haven't a cell phone. Admittedly, an iPhone is really looking very good right now... so now I know what I'll be saving up money for.

I suppose I've gone on long enough. It's an early start tomorrow... well, later today, by the time I've finished posting this piece. It'll be the Opening Convocation at the Washington National Cathedral...

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