Washington Trip – Day 3 – Patatas Bravas

Travel Log - Washington

Today was our first whole day in Washington DC and it promised to be an eventful one, given the whole 4th of July thing. Assuming that our day would be a little messy, we decided to spend some serious time plotting out our next few days and taking care of some procedural things, like getting cell phones to use in Washington. For this, we needed to head off to Pentagon City Mall beside, you guessed it, the Pentagon.

Getting to the Metro was a bit of a chore. Yes, the metro is accessible but the signage is definitely lacking. In fact, yesterday Clara and Jeff went into the Rosslyn Station, used their cards to get in through the accessible gate, only to discover there was no access for wheelchairs. Why there was an accessible gate is beyond us. Anyway, as it turns out we needed to use the elevator across the road and, because we’d already checked in, we had to be escorted by an attendant who buzzed us through the proper gate. As we waiting for our subway, we noticed a television screen listing places where elevators were not working–sure enough, Pentagon City was one of the stops affected by elevator outages. So, we decided to just get off one stop earlier, check out the Pentagon and then walk over to the mall. Once again we were faced with a bit of an accessibility barrier, as people refused to yield to let Jeff through the wheelchair accessible gate. In fact, Jeff actually had to pull his chair right into the gate just to block people from coming through and they STILL kept coming and trying to climb over him. Kind of ridiculous.

America! The Store
"Hey, you guys got those Roots Canada hats here or...?"

Anyway, arriving at the Pentagon, we had another hilarious “Americans are anti-walking” moment, when we were forced on a bus only to drive across the street, literally across the street, to the mall. Why are Americans so afraid of walking anywhere? We may never know. Anyway, the mall was pretty standard. Oh also, we were left weeping at how cheap cellphones are here…like $40 for two cell phones with unlimited text and call anywhere in America for 2 weeks. We’re pretty sure $40 a month won’t even get you 200 local talk minutes in Canada. We also found one of our favourite stores in Washington, titled “America!” which sold, as you might assume, American…stuff…

After wandering around the mall and buying some great (and cheap) new glasses, we were back to Georgetown to check in to our new hotel, the Georgetown Suites. The room is huge and works really well for me, despite not being an officially designated “accessible” room. Apparently the only difference between this room and the “accessible” ones is a drive-in shower–otherwise the rooms are identical.

Checked in and nicely unpacked, we ventured out to find food, only to find a Spanish tapas restaurant! Jeff cried with joy when he discovered they had Patatas Bravas on the menu. It was truly a beautiful moment for all of us. With nice tapas in our bellies and fond memories of Barcelona floating through our minds, we made our way down to the river to make some new memories with the 4th of July Fireworks. While we had planned to watch the fireworks at the National Mall, countless locals told us to not head down as it would be a giant tourist trap and, if the weatherman has his way, the rain would likely make it a big muddy wheelchair trap too. Instead, all the locals line the shores of the Potamec river and watch the fireworks in relative peace. All in all, this was a good choice. We met some really cool people and didn’t even have to fight for a spot. The fireworks were pretty good, although it was a little sad when the obligatory “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants fired up. We tried to launch into a rendition of the “War of 1812” song, but people didn’t seem to take kindly to our White House burning ways.

God bless America…

With the fireworks finished and energy running low, it was time to come back to the hotel (but not before picking up some juice at the local grocery store) and take it easy before a big day of touristing tomorrow when Clara and Jeff begin trying to see everything humanly possible in 2 weeks. On the docket for tomorrow are some small art and sculpture museums followed by a trip to the zoo after dinner. There’s a chance tomorrow will be our only day this week without threat of rain, so we’re going to try and do as much of the outdoorsy stuff as possible.

More photos and stories to come…

Jeff & Clara

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