US road trip

Published: October 21st 2011
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DAYS 34-35-36

I arrived to Washington DC from Chicago at about 11ish and got the shuttle bus to my hotel. I managed to get a very good rate again through and my hotel in Washington was the Hilton by Dupont Circle. Needless to say the hotel was absolutely superb. I had a fantastic kingbed bedroom and the hotel had all the facilities you can expect from the Hilton plus it is located in a very central area of Washington DC. As a curiosity, a taxi driver told me that this was the hotel where Ronald Reagan's assessination attempt took place in 1981.

Anyway, after I got to the hotel and checked in, I unpacked my stuff and got ready to go out. My mission that day was to find a bar that showed Barca's game. Barca was playing against Madrid in the first leg of the spanish supercup and I certainly didn't want to miss that game. There is a sport bar in the hotel but after checking with the staff they told me they didn't have the channel which was showing the game so they gave me directions to a couple of bars near Dupont Circle where I could watch the game. It was very hot in Washington and I was sweating straight after I hit the streets to walk to Dupont Circle. As it was still too early I decided to wander around for a bit in which seems to be a really nice area of Washington. I noticed there were quite gay friendly bars so I guess Dupont circle has quite a large and lively gay community. Funny enough, while I was walking I noticed a guy with a Barca shirt so I asked him if he knew any places around where I could watch the game. He told me about a spanish tapas bar in Georgetown., home of the famous Georgetown university, and said that the atmosphere in there was quite good although it was dominated by madrid fans. Since Georgetown was one of the places I didn't want to miss while in Washington I decided to make my way there and arrange to meet the guy later on.

After about 15 minutes I made Wisconsin Avenue which is the main street in Georgetown and it's one of the primary commercial corridors of Washington. It is a really nice street, full of nice shops and numerous restaurants. I had a good time window shopping and just wandering around until I found the tapas bar where I was going to watch the game. I sat by the bar and ordered some tapas, bravas, calamari, pa amb tomaquet and a salad, accompanied by a Catalan beer, a Estrella Damm. The restaurant was quite packed and the manager and the waiters were southamerican and no spaniards as I was expecting. It's funny how sport engages people in conversations, I spoke to nearly everybody around me, there was a girl from Argentina who supported madrid, come on you got Messi there and you support Madrid?, some american girls who were absolutely mad about Barca, an American guy who was in the army and spoke perfect spanish as he lived in Barcelona and Zaragoza for 15 years before he got a job in the pentagon and they guy who told me about the place who happened to be an Israeli studying medicine in Washington. I had a blast, it was good fun, Barca didn't play well but got a smashing result and, just for the record, the majority of people there were supporting Barca!!

After the game I had another beer and went to hit the shops in Georgetown. I went to Gap kids to buy something for my nephew Lluis and then I went to the Apple store, where I had, yet another look, at the object of my desire, and Ipad 2. I love gadgets and the only reason I hadn't bought an ipad before is because every time I was tempted to buy one, the sensible me came out and convinced me that I really didn't need it an ipad. I did, check it out again, played with it and realised how much fun would it be to have one. And then I did something that ended up making my mind up. I checked the price of the ipads in the UK and in Barcelona and I realised that if I bought the gadget I really didn't need in the US, I would save a whooping 150 quid. So I left the shop with the intention of returning the day after to tell piss off to the sensible me.

I walked all the way to my hotel and was very tempted by some of the numerous Thai restaurants around that area of Washington. I must have seen 7 or 8 in just a few hundred yards and they all looked very nice, but it was still too early for me to have dinner as I'd had a late lunch. So, piano piano, I made my way to the hotel, not without telling the sensible me to piss off again and stopping at Krispy Kreme to get half a dozen of yummie doughnuts. I got back to the hotel at about 7ish and decided to go for a workout, thinking about the dozen doughnuts I was going to have to eat in one day. Jokes aside, I did an excellent workout and ran 45 minutes at a very decent pace. Then I checked the hotel's pool and had a relaxing swimm before going back to my room. By the time I got back and had a shower it was past nine in the evening and I was too tired to go out so I decided to have in room service. I ordered a salad and some burritos which came in 20 minutes and were very delicious. I had a bit of a dilemma then. The food wasn't expensive as I thought it would be but there was a 22% gratuity added to the bill. On the menu, it said that 17% was distributed as gratuity to the servers and 5% was admin fee. And then there was an additional $4 charge apply for in room dining. So went the waiter knocked at my door, and brought the trolley in, and very politely asked me if there was anything I wanted and if everything looked ok, I really didn't know what to do. I felt like giving him a tip, I think he was expecting one, but then why on earth the add a 17% gratuity for servers on top of your bill???? So, I sent the sensible me to bugger off for the third time that day and gave the waiter a big smile but no tip.

The day after I took the citysightseeing bus and spent all day visiting the main sites in Washington DC. The truth is that, despite being quite tired as I had been travelling the US more than a month, I found Washington DC a very nice city. It was quite impressive to visit some of the sites I'd seen so many times on tv, the white house, the US Capitol, the Smithsonian museums, the Washington monument, the Jefferson memorial, the pentagon, the Arlington cemetary....It's amazing how many monuments, memorials and museums are there in DC. So I spent all day hoping on and off the bus and visiting the most important sights in DC. After doing all the touristy bits and got a taxi to Georgetown and finally got my hands on the ipad 2. I then walked back to the hotel and stopped by one of those Thai restaurants I saw the day before and had a lovely meal. I was quite tired so decided not to check DC’s night life and went back to the hotel where I fell asleep straight away. The next day I still had a few hours to spare before taking my plane to Philly but I’ve had enough of sightseeing so had a nice breakfast in the hotel and spent a couple of hours messing with my ipad and putting some music and movies so I could use it on the plane to Barcelona. I then, took a taxi to the airport and after having some lunch at the terminal I boarded my flight to Philadelphia and then to Barcelona, putting an end to 37 days in the USA.

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