Friday, June 18, 2010

Our First Full Days in Washington D.C.

We tied up at the Capital Yacht Club in Washington at 12 Noon on Friday. They have a combination of floating and fixed docks. Most slips are permanently assigned to long term guests. They have only a few transient berths. We were assigned to a space temporarily vacated by someone on a few weeks vacation cruising. So all of the people on our dock were residents and working in Washington. Everyone was so friendly and interesting.

Not long after docking we talked to our second son James about that night's plans. We were going to meet his girlfriend Morgen and her parents that evening. I suggested they come over to the boat for dinner and as soon as I hung up, realized we had a LOT to do before they arrived. Naturally the boat was not clean and there wasn't much in the refrigerator so it was a busy afternoon cleaning, shopping and then cooking. Luckily the excellent supermarket is only a few blocks away and I'm as good as Rachel Ray with quick but tasty meals (I couldn't talk like she does doing it though!).

James and Morgen arrived at 6:30 and her parents a bit later. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed getting to know Morgen, Chris and Carl. I'd met Morgen in January but Scott was in Trinidad then. Days are really hot in Washington but the evenings are very pleasant. Our air conditioning units, both of them, are broken so we really felt the heat in the middle of the day. Everyone else in the Marina lives below decks, even in the evening. They were amazed to see us in the cockpit!

The next day was a full and busy one. We left the boat at 6:45 AM to meet our third and last son Sean and his friends Piper and Molly in Georgetown at the Lawyers Have Heart 10 kilometer race. That's Sean with us, then in the line up to start (in grey Tshirt), next looking at the course from the starting line after the start, then first Sean almost at the finish and Piper and Molly finishing together and last the three runners after the finish. They all did very well. Sean came in 51st. with an average of 6 minute 13 second a mile and Piper and Molly finished in under an hour, just over a 9 minute average.

Everyone was starved so we took the Metro up to the Eastern Market Bakery and stuffed ourselves with fabulous bread and breakfast specialties. Scott's showing off the bread basket here (we had several of them!). The nearby Eastern Market is a combination of farmer's market and antique & craft show. We strolled around looking at everything and buying a few vegetables. Scott bought a painting for his brother Brent. Washington is such a lively young place! We are so impressed with the residential areas around the Capital. The homes and gardens are really nice, even in the less expensive areas.

Showers were more than in order at this point so we returned to the kids' apartment and waited while they cleaned up. Three of them share a small town house not far away from the Market. Today was the World Cup Soccer Match between the U.S. and England. Piper was varsity soccer goalie at Amherst so they were all excited about the game. We too are more aware of soccer than most Americans as we spend a good deal of time in the Caribbean and South America! Washington was crowded with fans. Dupont Circle was a mass of people jockeying for seats in front of the huge outdoor screens set up for the match. We finally found a bar with standing room and then even some seats. James managed to find us in the crowd. Everywhere was packed! But our seats had difficult views and were apart so at the half time we raced back to their apartment in ONE taxi (there were four of us in the back) and watched the rest of the game comfortably in their living room. Of course it was an exciting game and we pulled off a tie, amazing many Europeans we're sure.

AND there was more to do this Saturday! This was Gay Pride weekend and the parade was this very evening. So somehow we managed to pull ourselves out of the comfortable seats and return to Dupont Circle to watch the parade. And it was lots of fun! Every D.C. politician and candidate was there along with an amazing variety of groups (that's AARP in one shot), bands and individuals. The floats were wild - our favorites were the Cowboys (several shots) and a local gym's which featured a wild group going acrobatics and exercises of all kinds. Thousands of people marched and many more thousands lined the streets along the parade. Many of the buildings were decorated with rainbow flags and banners. It was great! We were glad we came but exhaustion hit on the subway back to the boat and we collapsed in bed.

We had been living a very sheltered existence on the boat compared to this. We've entered the fast zone now!

Happily for us Sunday was a a little quieter and less hectic day for us, although still plenty busy. After an early breakfast we took a long walk around the reflecting pool to FDR's wonderful monument and the Jefferson Memorial. We had never been to the former and really loved the quiet outdoor rooms with great quotes from both he and Elanor throughout their lives. The water elements and landscaping really fit the site and we liked both statues. We'd been to the Jefferson Memorial but years ago and were struck by how apt his writings were to today, especially regarding change being necessary for growth, even with the Constitution.

Right next to the Yacht Club are a number of seafood stalls/restaurants - all take out, cooked and uncooked. We vowed to get back there for a meal. But not today, Sean and his friends, Molly, Piper and Will were coming for lunch and a cruise on the river. As the time for them to appear grew closer storm clouds appeared. The weather prediction was possible thunder storms so we changed the plan to staying at the dock.

Happily after our big lunch the sky brightened and the kids took out our dinghy for a spin on the river. It was another hot day so it was a relief to buzz around. (Molly had left to catch a plane - that's her in the pretty dress below).

Next was a birthday dinner out for Morgen with both James and she, her parents and her sister Clare and boyfriend Bill. Sean also joined us. The fashionable Lebanese restaurant they took us to was wonderful - a tapas middle eastern place. Everything we ordered was great. We all shared the dishes family style.

Afterwards we drove back to James and Morgen's new apartment, not far from Sean's. It's in a very nice neighborhood with a beautiful nearby park and a little yard in front with a table and two chairs. The old town house has been renovated and their apartment has a two story living room with a fireplace and kitchen on the first floor and the bedroom on the second. They just moved in the week before! Carl had made a delicious birthday cake and that's Morgen blowing out the candles!

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