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Archive for August 2000

Back to the Beltway

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First family vacation takes us right back to where I came to Texas from: the Washington, D.C. area. Our hotel is near Annapolis, where we spend one day shopping and taking a sailboat out into the Chesapeake. We spend another day up in Baltimore, visiting the aquarium and a submarine. Most of our time, though, is spent in the Capitol itself, visiting the National Zoo, several museums (including the Air & Space Museum), and other sites.

The highlight being our visit to the White House. During all the years I’d worked in and around D.C., I’d never visited the White House; but I did know enough of the long lines to advise the family to be up earlier than normal for the drive in from Maryland. Even so, we were so far back in line that park guards came around more than once warning those well in front of us that experience suggested they and all behind them were unlikely to be able to get in, the number of visitors each day being limited, of course. We stayed on anyway, even as many in front of us gave up. Wound around and around in line, hopes lifting as we finally made it inside the building itself, drew near to the ticket windows . . . whereupon the park guard directing next in line up to each open window pointed to Kelly and me, indicating we were the final two, that Susan and the girls and all behind them were too late. We protested that we were all together, so they gave us the final two tickets with a note indicating them to be tickets for five. So we made it in!

One side note: The prevailing opinion of all in the family seemed to be that the weather in D.C. was intolerable, that all were looking forward to returning to Houston’s summer. Last year, as I made plans to move to Houston, many of my colleagues – who knew of Houston’s heat only by reputation, not by experience – warned me that I would not like the move due to the weather I’d need to get used to. For 10 months of the year, they might have a point. But for July and August, I’d rather live in hell itself than be outside in Washington, D.C. I’ve heard that during the War of 1812, British soldiers earned extra hazard pay for serving in the American Capitol, solely because of the weather. Whether or not that’s some apocryphal tall tale, it must be said: our timing for this vacation was not weather-savvy.

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Written by macheide

1 August 2000 at 11:08 am

Posted in passport