Thursday's plan centered on sightseeing in Washington and a planned dinner with scrog, but we didn't have much in the way of detail worked out in advance.
We got up Thursday morning to cloudy skies with a little time left to enjoy the hotel's complimentary continental breakfast. It wasn't anything fancy, but it did the trick; the fresh fruit salad was probably the most impressive part, and I was amused by the stack of chilled breakfast burritos waiting to be microwaved. One of the reasons I shower every morning is that my hair is rarely presentable after I've slept on it, so I probably looked silly until we finished breakfast and went back upstairs for showers.
I realized my camera's memory card was close to full, so rather than take the time to hook it up to the laptop and figure out what to download in what groups, we hopped across the street to the Best Buy, where I bought myself a spare camera memory card as a Hanukkah present. My camera can now take up to 300 highest-resolution pictures before I have to worry about the card filling up.
Then we drove to one of the outlying suburban Metro stops where it would be possible to park for the day, and rode into DC. I had to buy one of the SmarTrip cards, since you have to have one to pay for parking on your way out of the station parking lot! So, we got one of those for me, and a regular fare card for Joy, with several bucks on each. I'll have to remember to bring this back with me to DC, since the card itself (one of the new proximity cards with a chip in it) cost money on top of the fare balance I put on it. I probably have (or had) quite a stack of half-used NYC and DC fare cards, since I never remember to dig them up before subsequent trips. (My wallet is full enough of stuff I only use once in a while.)
I'd grabbed my umbrella out of the car, but Joy declined to take the other one. I suspect we both regretted that decision later. :-)
We left L'Enfant Plaza after briefly considering its food-court-like options for lunch, and ended up getting hot dogs at a stand across the street from the Smithsonian Institution. As we sat on a bench behind the Castle eating, it started to rain, and we ended up walking over to the National Air and Space Museum instead of going to the World War II Memorial, as planned. It began pouring, and really showed no sign of letting up, so that's where we spent the afternoon. Happily, there's plenty in that one building to keep a pair of flight and space fans occupied all day! There were a couple of major exhibits we didn't get to see before it was time to leave, but we did take a moment to get a beverage in their shiny food court before leaving. We split a smoothie, since that would take care of thirst and energy levels at the same time.
One of these days, I'd like to get over to the new Udvar-Hazy Center, the museum's annex on the outskirts of Dulles International Airport, essentially an old hangar with the bigger displays such as dozens of aircraft and the Shuttle Enterprise.
It was time to meet scrog and microbie for dinner; mazzie was unfortunately not feeling well, and couldn't join us. We got soaked on the relatively short walk from the most convenient metro stop over to Zed's, the Ethiopian restaurant in Georgetown where we were meeting them. We were early, and started with a couple of Ethiopian beers whose names escape me. (That's what I get for writing this so long after the fact.)
Pat and Trista both arrived before long, also both early, and we set about selecting some food we'd all enjoy. We ended up with the steak tartare, eggplant and carrot watt, and an outstanding fish entree, plus rolls of Ethiopian bread that kind of resembled ace bandages. You eat Ethiopian food by unrolling a bit of your bread and using it to mop up food from the communal plate; luckily, none of us is particularly shy about eating. The food was all delicious, and nice and hot other than (of course) the steak tartare. Pat was right that that was excellent, reminding me that I still need to make that at home one of these days.
After dinner, we all headed back towards the Metro, pausing in front of a hotel en route to pick up a cell phone that had just been smushed by a cab's tire, handing it to the bellman. I hate when that happens.
Two quick Metro rides later, we were back to the car, and holding the SmarTrip card out the window near the parking lot gate so it could deduct $3 from my balance and let us out. Joy tried again to get in touch with her friend Suzie, who'd been too tired the night before to join us for a drink... which we hadn't bothered to go out for anyway. No luck, though Joy left a message telling Suzie the plan.
When we got back to the hotel, we arranged a cab again, this time successful on the second try, and rode to Annapolis's old downtown for some beverages. The Ram's Head was fun, with a swirl of activity around us at all times, though not quite as amusing as our visit two years before, when we found ourselves sharing a back room with a company holiday gathering that was happy to let us hang out with them. Suzie never turned up, so after a few beers each, we decided to walk over to the waterfront Marriott for some rum at Pusser's Landing.
"What do you mean, closed?!" I guess Pusser's, like most hotel bars, doesn't stay open as late during the week as on the weekend, so they'd closed well before midnight. The nice man at the front desk said he'd have the lady from the gift shop call, since they sell Pusser's rum, and could ship it to me. We headed back out, and grabbed a cab sitting at a nearby corner to get back to the hotel.
While Joy was in the bathroom, I opened and closed the hallway door to put out the "do not disturb" sign, and she somehow decided that I'd gone to get ice. When she discovered I hadn't gotten ice, she figured I obviously still needed some, and took the ice bucket to fill it. So, we had plenty of ice. We didn't have any beverage-related needs for it, so we had to get creative.