Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Smofcon, the Arrival

03 December 2004

Well, I’m here.

I had a night flight to Pittsburgh, PA, which had lovely clear skies. I watched the progress of the big dipper. When we arrived, I did some brief window shopping. Have I mentioned that I love Pittsburgh airport? It rocks.

My second flight, to DCA (Reagan aka Washington National Airport), well, it was 35 minutes and you can’t get up for the first or last ten minutes of any flight, nor can you get up for the first or last thirty minutes when leaving or arriving into D.C. Thus, the counter people warned us, take care of anything before getting on the plane.

I took the same plane for my first and second segments, an Airbus 319. Fully loaded from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, she seemed ponderous. The same plane, lightly loaded, was spry and nimble, at least for a plane that big. We did the great corkscrew climb that they sometimes have to do for short flights in crowded airspace. Whee!

My husband, hating to pay for things like taxis, urged me to take public transit. Normally, I’m something of a wuss. However, I had packed amazingly efficiently and the Metro was Right There. How could I not? It’s one of my favorite subway systems. I did some brief contract work for one of the civil engineering contractors, so being on it always reminds me of the posters around that company’s offices.

Last time I visited DC was 4th of July in 1998. Our group headed for the reggae section, with people selling (and smoking) pot openly — a section known as “the smokeout.” Not my personal choice, granted, but the music was great. I recommend seeing the fireworks there at least once in your life.

So, when I got off the Metro, I half expected to find a cab. All the ones I saw already had fares, so I headed across the street to the Hilton (figuring I’d have a better chance in front of a hotel). Before I even got there, I managed to hail a cab. It was fortuitous, because I’d already managed to get turned around.

Oh, and the Metro. The signage sucks. I was confused into thinking the escalator I needed was going the wrong direction. And the fare cards don’t work the same way as Bart’s. You can’t see the sign that says where to get your fare card unless you’re already looking at the place where you get your fare card. Bad user interface, no biscuit.

The Wyndham had my room ready (at 9:30 a.m.!), so I’m freshly showered. I now need to make the big decision: sleep or eat? I have about three hours, but it’s hard for me to say which I need more.

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