Now that I am back in India and vacationing, I have some time to update the blog with the events of the last few days.
I was at DC last weekend. I decided to go for this journey as I have a family friend there, to whom I refer to as Bhai (elder brother). They very graciously invited me to visit their home. So I checked out of the hotel on the morning of Saturday to board the train of Amtrak railways at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Now I had a lot of luggage and there was no trolley in sight at the train station. Upon checking with a cop, I got to know that there is a free service called Red Cap inside the station. So after settling my bill with the cab driver and calling the Red Cap guy outside (the desk is inside – that is a little inconvenient – it would be helpful if the desk is near the entrance), we brought in my luggage and he asked me to be at his desk at 7 am for the train which was to leave at 7:10 am.
So I had a tea with a croissant while I waited. Then at 7:00 the Red Cap guy took the trolley with another couple’s luggage along with mine, downstairs to the platform. The coach was pretty empty and we settled in for the journey. The train left on time and after that it was pretty scenery – interestingly enough, on the way I didn’t see any woods or plain land but cities with homes with remanant snow and sidewalks with snow piled on them. May be the route of this train was through the cities. In two hours I was at the union station of Washington DC. Now the trouble again of bringing down the luggage and carrying it to the exit. There was no help in sight. I called up Bhai and he said that he was on his way and would take about 15 minutes to reach.
So somehow I kept one small luggage on top of the other big one and tugged it to reach upstairs at least. Suddenly I saw a porter with a trolley and it felt like heaven-sent as my luggage was too heavy to even pull (isn’t it ironic that the “weaker” sex usually has more luggage?)! So he helped me reach the exit(/entrance) upstairs and then I waited for my friend outside. It was bright and sunny but cold! So I put on my gloves while waiting and clicking some pictures.
Then once Bhai arrived we left and he had planned to show me around while on the way home. His wife had very thoughtfully sent some breakfast for me as they knew that I’d have left the hotel too early to have eaten anything! I was really touched.
Then began our journey and the photo-shoots :-). We went to the United States Botanic Garden first which was close to the capitol. It had a lovely collection of orchids, begonias, cactii and lilies.
Thereafter we spent sometime driving around and seeing the places like the Washington Memorial, the Capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial etc before crossing the bridge on Potomac to enter Virginia state. Bhai was not interested in the museums. He said for that I should be alone to explore them at my own pace :-). But he said we could go and see the aerospace museum on Sunday at Fairfax.
However that did not materialise as the museum was closed 😦 on Sunday.
Upon reaching his home, I was greeted by his wife and two year old son who was very happy to see a new face in his home :-). I had a lot of fun with them. In the evening, we went to buy some things and on Sunday, we went to see a local shopping area.
Evening was the time for the flight back home. (It was surprising that in the US, one has to pay for the trolley at the airport which is a free service in India). I called up my friends before leaving and got to know that another friend was staying close to Bhai’s place and had I called earlier, we could have met. May be some other time :-).
(The return flight had some adventures too – like first being refused and then allowed to run for the connecting flight at London, as the bus service was delayed at the terminal for the flight arriving from DC. But I reached home in one piece so all is well 🙂 ).