Monday, June 23, 2008

Dr. Williams Goes to Washington

So, I came in on the train last night. The supposed 8-hour trip tuned into 10 1/2 hours due to "track work" which is Amtrak doublespeak for congestion on the lines. I felt like the bright-lights-big-city character in countless movies as they come into a big city. Even though I came here in 1985, time has erased most of my visual memories of the place, so seeing all the monuments, all lit up at night, was nice.

Norman and Kimberley Sandridge let me stay with them last night and tonight; they have lovely home in Silver Spring, MD. I took the metro to Howard today, and after a sweaty 20-minute uphill walk, I made it to Locke Hall and the institute. So far, so good.

Washington, DC is far dirtier and seedier than I expected. There are lots of boarded up business on thoroughfares, the sidewalks are filthy, and many people smell as if they need baths. The DC I imagined is not reconciling with the DC I am experiencing; but it's only my first day, I'm sure after five weeks I'll have a different opinion.

I'm going to meet up with Tim tonight to go out for a little bit. He's going to loan me his car for two weeks, which should just be stellar, as I won't have to take the bus from Howard home to La Plata, MD with my cousin Robby for the next two weeks. It will also free me up to stay downtown longer and tour the museums.

I am grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for making this wonderful opportunity possible.

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