Wales in Washington becomes Welshwaller in D.C.

Well, I arrived, in the middle of a Washington snow storm with the runway invisible, the big silver bird of Mr Branson’s stable hit the tarmac at Dulles International.  In truth, and in a surprising show of efficiency and speed, the experience I had dreaded most – the overwhelming guilt of anticipation in the immigration queue where one is certain some past misdemeanor has become a federal offense and Guantanamo awaits – came and went in a blink of forty minutes. I passed through customs having explained that the only food I had brought was Cadbury’s whole nut and muesli and the present was really only worth $80, truly it was.  

Entering the arrivals hall I found I was not in fact to met by a beautiful lady, just a throng of Germans.  Eventually my host arrived, breathless and apologetic, the snow had clearly panicked the working population into bugging out of the city early.  Traffic was indeed heavy but heading into the city mean we were going against the flow.  Some half hour later I arrived in the little hamlet of Shirlington which is in Virginia, close to Arlington.  Presents exchanged – the one I received was mind blowing (but I’m not going to tell !) – too much welcoming wine consumed and sleep ensued.  The five hour difference, which meant I took off at 11.30am, travelled for eight and a half hours and landed three and a half hours later, doesn’t actually have an effect, no, not until the night after.

It’s now four days later, and I am well into the ‘tourist’ mode.  I have been driven and walked, bussed and metro’d to every corner of the city and beyond.  Highlights thus far – apologies for no pictures just yet, can’t upload for a week or so but they will come – include meeting up with old Smithsonian colleagues, with whom a home dinner party was enjoyed last evening, all the main sites, the amazing National Art Gallery and Natural History Museum with lunch in the National Museum of the American Indian (traditional Indian food of course).  Following a quick call at the offices of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to say ‘Hi’ we drove out to Arlington National Cemetery (which I only glimpsed last time around) and walked around the very daunting rows of graves to the military dead of the Nation, and their wives.  Lee’s mansion of Arlington house is impressive and the view from its vantage point out over the City is quite something.  Of course the mansion also stands above the grave of JFK and Jackie (plus the two infants who died at birth and brothers nearby) with its Everlasting Flame’, quite a day.  For the first time in my life I got to see Giant Pandas in the Washington Zoo, I can’t even begin to describe that experience (pictures will tell all) and enjoy a movie on a wet afternoon.  We saw the Spielberg’s latest, War Horse.  Go and see it, it is outstanding in my view.  Today Whitney drove me 140 miles for a crabcake lunch, out on the Chesapeake bay at a little place called Solomon’s Island.  Ever had crabcakes ?  Not like these you haven’t !!  We got back into DC before rush hour and walked the toll path of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal (partly to see a wall that a reader of mine had recommended – thanks RS) for a couple of hours before rejoining to the site of our hotel for the 2009 Folklife Festival, the Key Bridge Marriott which is across the Potomac from the old township of Georgetown.    

For a really surreal experience, drinking Guiness back in the bar of the Key Bridge Marriott, being served by the same barman, takes some beating.  As for the coming days, nothing much really, just the Library of Congress,  a few memorials and brunch with the most amazing lady I ever met, Diana Parker the now retired Director of the Folklife Festival.  Then its off down through the Blue Ridge to Charlottsville.  More in a week or so, but know I am gritting my teeth and getting on with it…….. 





One Response to “Wales in Washington becomes Welshwaller in D.C.”

  1. monasticdave Says:

    Now that sounds like a bit of fun! I am busy with a few assignments for Uni at present, so it was nice to read about your travelling exploits. I can’t wait to see the photographs! Chat soon fella, and keep having a good time.

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