March 28, 2008

Traversing the big city

We’re settling back in to our frontier life here in Shreveport after a wonderful trip to Washington, DC over the weekend. We humans are exceptionally adaptable and yet I was stunned by how much I missed this ol’ town. It certainly has its charms and a long weekend in the northeast crystallized them in my mind. My wife and I are resolved to take some of them with us. Ultimately, it will be up to our friends and family to decide if we do. I suspect that after a few months we will be returned to the dark side of the eyes front, no talking, be just barely courteous enough to get by life that we witnessed all week.

Not only were we overwhelmed by the impersonality of it all, we were a little surprised at how ill prepared we were for the hustle and bustle. I knew we were in for a culture shock when the shuttle bus that took us to Avis became more and more crowded at each stop. Every time a few new people got on I wanted to get up, politely of course, and explain to the driver that there simply wasn’t anymore room. Could no one else see this? The passengers and bags made the bus a veritable sardine can. Eventually, when the bus looked like one of those pictures you see of people travelling in Mumbai or Beijing, the doors peeled back and the swarm of people was let out to rush their separate ways.

After two days we were mostly adjusted. Fortunately, DC is truly a great town for walking, which I was reminded of as Annie and I strolled the maze-like streets. However, I was still clueless when it came to the traffic. I had an appointment with our new realtor at 10 a.m. The office was about three miles from our hotel, a distance that in Shreveport would take five minutes. I left the hotel at the safe time of 9:45 and promptly arrived at the office at 10:20. Who knows what time it would have been had not found a parking space out front. Similar trips will be much easier though when I have two children in the car.

By the time Monday rolled around and we had to go to the airport Annie and I were pros. We checked out of The Hotel Palomar, confidently tipping the staff, breezing through the crowded lobby, and doing an illegal u-turn while squeezing into traffic. We picked up my wife downtown and navigated our way out of the city just before rush hour (do we have that in Shreveport?) and arrived at Reagan National Airport in plenty of time. Despite there being no need to hurry, we used the Skycap to help us cut the line with almost no shame to speak of, much to the chagrin of the folks already waiting. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you live “up north” and have a baby.

A little post-script for you: I ate my favorite meal, Pizza, on three separate occasions while in DC. There are two places in town at which you can get the closest facsimile to that which you would find in the older establishements of New York. On Friday night we dined at a great but very crowded Two Amy's with our extended family (Grandma, Grandpa and the Great Grandparents too). Even Annie chowed down on some of the offerings, liking the orzo best. I was a little disappointed with all the gimmicks that were ordered on our pizzas, favoring the very simple offering of Pizza Margherita. For all of you sadly misinformed residents of Louisiana, a real pizza should be very thin, cooked in a brick oven and dressed in fresh tomatoes, slices of mozzarella (the kind made from Buffalo milk and stored in water) and some well place pieces of basil.

On Sunday we had some friends over and ordered from the equally delicious Pizzeria Paradiso. This time I was smart and ordered a Margherita for myself. I wasn't leaving town with out gorging on one of life's delights. Of course, on Monday when Annie and I were in a rush and needed a place to eat lunch, we went to Paradiso's just next door okay.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home