Washington DC - The Capitol

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
Trip End Oct 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
1608 4th St. NW / Q St.NW - Elim Ali's B&B

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Monday, June 21, 2010

After a non-eventful 4 1/2 hour ride on the Megabus (an intercity double decker bus similar to Greyhound, Grayline etc,) we arrived in a hot Washington DC. It was quite a shock stepping out of an air conditioned bus(actually a bit too cold!!), it has free Wi-Fi by the way which we were plugged into the whole way, into blazing sunshine which makes you head for the nearest bit of shade!--or pub!!!
We made our way to our next B&B, owned by Emil Ali and situated in a predominantly black neighbourhood north of Capitol Hill itself .Barbie certainly had reservations while waiting outside the house for our host to arrive, but seeing it had been approved by Airb&b, we felt it had to be OK and it is. Emil is a bachleor & he is still renovating the place and doing it up very nicely--if not slightly over the top. It is quite safe, so far!, It does mean a bit of walking to either the subway or bus stop,which in this heat, seems far. The transport system is very different to NY's in that you pay per ride or buy one day tickets which are expensive. We have learnt not to ask, but just to pay the senior rates and keep quiet!! No change is given, so you have to have the correct amount.
The taxi system is far worse - you pay $3 as you start your journey, then so much per kilometer thereafter plus you must add an amount of $1.50 per additional passenger and $0.50 per item of luggage. We experienced this when we arrived and caught a taxi to our B&B - it cost us all of $15 including tip for a quick 10 minute ride!! Double NY prices!! The metro is very clean and far more modern than NY. --although we are told a bit unreliable! Buildings, too, appear cleaner and newer and the whole of Washington feels spacious---especially when you are walking!!!!. One thing that really gets us down, both here and in NY, are the continual sirens from ambulances and particularly fire engines. Cant believe they are all rushing off to fires!!
It is amazing how slow you are to learn as you grow older - we were standing on the street corner between R street and H street having just come to the surface from the subway and we were trying to orientate ourselves so that we could walk back to our B&B when a stranger approached us and asked if she could help us with directions - which we were obviously delighted about. This is not the first time this has happened both here & NY - we suddenly realized that it was because we looked & dressed the part of very typical tourists lost in a strange land. Camera, heavy bag, floppy hat, shorts, slops and a very bewildered expression - it works a treat!!
Washington is very different to NY being the seat of government. The city centre consists of big colonial style monoliths filling entire city blocks housing various government departments such as department of labour, housing etc, and a whole lot of museums. These all front onto the Mall which stretches from Capitol Hill to the White House & beyond. Should you decide to do a walking tour of the Mall, as we did the first day, then prepare yourself for a very long tiring day. We also had to put up with searing temperatures, well into the nineties (fahrenheit)!! The Smithsonian Institute is spread over 2 to 3 blocks and has a museum feel about it.The second day we caught the Hop On Hop Off bus that took us around the whole city including Du Pont Circle, Georgetown and Arlington Cemetery. It was a better way to see the city except the bus we climbed onto for the homeward leg had a problem with the AC and we were almost cooked alive!!
Security is very tight. It is a regular occurrence to see Nick taking off his  belt and looking as though he is about to strip.!!
We now leave for Denver with some relief, as the past 10 days has been a hard slog walking and touring various sights in NY and Washington DC - we hope to get away from this heat for a while by being up at altitude in the Rockies in Denver - the mile high city.
See ya'all later!

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gay prevost on

re Washington taxis ..... and there I was thinking tipping the kitchen staff at the swamps $3-5 per person per day pretty hefty on top of v. expensive accommodation - Forget the required tips; for game guides and polers! Hope you are now a little cooler in Denver

Peter and Gail on

Sounds like you nearly cooked in DC wish we could have had some of your warmer weather here in Erinvale. Just got back from checking your house all good not problems. Peter and I are enjoying the Soccer we all feel we can be so pround of the way the whole event is going so far. Enjoy the cooler weather, LOL Gail xx

Rusty on

You should be used to the heat!, sound like fun

Bernice Green on

Have just read your latest entry - it all sounds so exciting - and I just love the comment 'wish you were here'!!! I phoned Mary and asked her if she would like a print out of your travel blog and she was thrilled with the idea. Look forward to your next entry keep having fun (actually sounds like hard work) lol Bern and Alan

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