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May 14th 2012
Published: May 14th 2012
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Neni expressing "this food is horrible"

10. WASHINGTON DC


Friday, 11 May



This blog, I will start of by excusing myself for not knowing exactly what I did every day of the last week. I guess I was too lazy to make little notes I usually do make and as all of those who’ve met me know: my memory sucks. So, I’ll just tell you about the days I actually did something interesting (or something uninteresting, but I still remember somehow).



TUESDAY (1st)…

Verena and I took a bus to Cartago, the former capital city of Costa Rica, to visit the ‘Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles’. Thanks to Verena’s terrible instinct of direction and my great instinct of knowing to go the exact opposite direction of wherever she says to go, we got to the Basílica without taking a wrong turn a single time. We had lunch at a by Lonely Planet recommended soda ‘Los Ángeles Lodge’. This place, however, was anything but a soda: more like a proper touristic restaurant, but with little class. We went in anyway, because we were too hungry to walk a step further to try and find another place to eat. I ordered a
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Basilica and the 'holy water'
‘casada’ (typical Tico dish with rice, beans, plantain, veggies…) with fish, Neni a hamburger, and we ordered fries to share. – The fries came first and we’d almost finished them when the rest of our food arrived. Neni’s burger was really just that: a hamburger. No salad on the side, or anything! My plate was, well, out of a can. At least, that’s how it tasted. With all the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables that Costa Rica has to offer, these people chose to serve a mix of mini-carrots, green beans and coli flour that all tasted the same – sweet and out of a can. The beans were dry and had obviously been sitting for a while, there was spaghetti but it didn’t taste like it, and the fish was the greasiest fish I’d ever had. So I ate my rice, half of my beans and half of the fish and I was NOT hungry anymore!

When we then went to look at the church, we walked around first. Down a flight of stairs next to the church, there was an area where people had formed a cue along the wall. Having been in Costa Rica for a
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Basilica
while, adopting it’s peoples habits, we joined in on the cue. Soon, though, we realized we were standing in line for the ‘holy’ water. There were people washing their face and neck with the water, that is supposed to have a healing effect, washing their children’s faces and filling water bottles to take the water home with them. As we both believe in religious/superstitious things like this, about as much as the Pope believes condoms are awesome… we got out of the cue, took a photo (or as Dutch people say according to Emma: we made a picture) – because we’re tourists, and went into the church. Even though in the outside, the church doesn’t really appeal to me, on the inside, I found it to be grand and beautiful. The shiny, dark wood makes it look classy and mysterious, and the high ceiling has an almost intimidating effect. The people in the church consisted of local families praying on the church benches, nuns standing by the statue of Maria, a few tourists, people honouring a loved one by lighting a candle all the way in the front, and as Verena and I went out, I saw the most peculiar
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Basilica
thing… Upon entering the church, a mother and her five children got down on their knees. When I looked beyond them, into the church, I saw that more people were doing this. From the entrance of the church, all the way to the altar, people walked on their knees, with their hands together in prayer, before proceeding to the benches to sit and prayer there together. I was stunned and speechless, so before I would’ve found the most obvious phrase “oh my God”, we left the church and I didn’t insult anyone! So proud…


At night, Poppy smoked a cigar. Because she can.



WEDNESDAY (2nd)…

I’m ill! 😞

I didn’t go to work today, but watched ‘Juno’ and ‘(500) Days of Summer’, laying with my pillow and duvet on the couch.

That afternoon, Jessica and Verena came over. We hung around the house and when I felt a little better, went around the corner for some dinner.



THURDAY (3rd)…

I went to work again, which was fun (as it has
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Basilica
been every day at Hogar Infantil Blanca Flor), but afterwards I was BEAT. I’m coughing like a maniac and it doesn’t look or sound pretty. But with so little time left here in Costa Rica, I don’t want to waste time away from the orphanage!

I took a big old nap and Skyped with Jotte, when all of a sudden Neni and Jessica came rolling through the front door. “We’re gonna cook here!” they said, unloading their grocery bags on the kitchen counter. That way, I got to make and eat the veggie soup I had been longing for, AND we got to have a party-meal with all of us. Kevin (my colleague at the orphanage) joined us, too. Even though I did have my soup, I couldn’t resist joining in on the feast that Jessica (‘cause, let’s admit it, it was all Jess’s work) prepared: guacamole, salad with hearts of palm, plantain, carrots, hummus and bread. It was de-li-cious.

We just hung out with the roomies that night, which was interesting because… Poppy did this drinking-game thing where she had to take a ‘shot’ of beer every half or whole minutes, for hundred minutes. Apparently, this is
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Taking a group photo with a timer on the camera :D
a mayor challenge and you end up drinking a lot. Fast. – So, the party REALLY started when Poppy said “I can’t have another drink. If I take one more sip, I’ll be sick.” This is the British way of saying ‘I will puke’. Then, “You guys, can I just be sick for a minute?” was followed by Poppy in the bathroom, me yelling “IN the toilet, please, not next to it!” and Poppy puking, then laughing (weiiird), then yelling “Oh my God, it just BLASTED out! It bounced back and now it’s everywhere – hahahaha!” and me crying. OK, I wasn’t really crying, but my GOD!!??



FRIDAY (4th)…

My Mom forgot to Skype with me! Hahaha… Apparently, WWII-documentaries are more interesting than me. No, Mom, just kidding. 😉

At night, I went into San Pedro with Andrea to get manicures and pedicures! FUN! You have to understand that I have never done a thing like this before, so when the woman scrubbed (or whatever it is she was doing) my feet, I started giggling like a little girl. This was even more embarrassing than it sounds, because the Ticas (Costa Rican women) are
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The area where the orphanage is..
very stoic – they all look annoyed and don’t talk to anyone. Me sitting there giggling and trying (way too loudly, of course) to tell the lady in Spanish that my feet are ticklish, wasn’t really the definition of ‘blending in’. Oh well, I was the only white person anyway!

When I was all pretty and stuff, I gave Jess and Neni a ring and met them in my favourite restaurant in the neighbourhood: pizzeria La Fabbrica. We all had wine (for the first time in a long while, because while is expensive in Costa Rica!) and because I finally wasn’t nauseous anymore, I ordered a calzone and then desert! However, my eyes where bigger than my stomach (story of my life) and after three bites of the very chocolaty tiramisu, I was already too full. Satisfied and stuffed like a turkey on Thanksgiving, we rolled back to my apartment. There, we chatted some more – this was going to be our last night together in Costa Rica! 😞 Verena fell asleep on the couch, I caught it on camera and then we said our goodbyes. Re-meeting plans fo sho!!!



SATURDAY (5th)…

In the early morning, Emma and Serena left to travel on through Latin America, and somewhat later in the morning, Alonso picked up Poppy. I said goodbye to all of them and once I was alone and the cleaning lady (Mercedes) was cleaning the apartment (which took a LONG while; no offense girls, but it was dirrrrr-ty!), I packed my stuff and left some of it behind. Some clothes were for the Mercedes’ daughter (she asked if she could have it, when I told her I had to leave some behind) and the dictionary for COSI. When I was done with all that, and Mercedes had left too, I decided the best way not to panic would be to shut my mind off temporarily. I watched the last Harry Potter film and then the rain (because it had NOT rained like this before, my lord!), Skyped with Jotte and then greeted my new roommate. Well, roommate for only one night, but still. He got my mind off of airport-things, we discussed the best places to go to in Costa Rica, we had some beers and something that had to pass for dinner, I set my alarm clock for 3 am and went to
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With Jess, Neni, Kevin
bed.



SUNDAY (6th)…

The big day!!!

Rolando picked me up at 3:55 am (we had said 4 am; I love this guy!), dropped me off at the airport and then it begun: I paid $26,- to get out of the country, checked in my bag (almost forgot to ask the woman to check in my bag only to Houston, not Amsterdam!), got through security, saw a group of ridiculously dressed Americans on a travelling tour (matching t-shirt and socks in sandals), had some breakfast behind the security check-point, and boarded the plane – which was on time.

Houston: got through customs and had the biggest asshole ever – talking about “this boyfriend of yours” as if ‘allegedly’ I had a boyfriend, asking me what kind of work I do and followed up with “so who is paying for this trip of yours?” – but I remained bright and bubbly and answered every question like an honest school girl and got through without any problems! I shook the horrible feeling this guy gave me off of me and went on: picked up my luggage, asked two people where the hell I was supposed to go to catch a US Airways plane, got onto a little train to get to the right gate area, asked two people where the hell I was supposed to go to check in, checked in the luggage I had to paid $25 for (!), passed security where people WHERE nice (see, it’s possible!), had a mini-pizza and saw a woman with the biggest ass in the world but with ankles as small as mine. Later, got on the plane to Charlotte – it was on time!

Charlotte: hurried to the gate (E26) to catch my last plane; the one to Washington Dulles, where Jotte would be waiting for me, so excited!!! I shouldn’t have hurried, though, because the plane we were supposed to leave with, hadn’t even arrived yet. Half an hour too late, it did – people got off, checks were done, and we could board at 7:50 instead of 7:20 pm. In the mean time, Jotte drove to the Dulles airport to pick me up. But, after sitting in the plane for at least half an hour too long, I started getting impatient and soon found myself to be rightly to be so. The crew told us that there was a technical difficulty (whatever that means) and we had to switch planes. “Go to gate E11, we’ll see you there” they’d said. At gate E11, though, the woman did not know what the hell we were talking about. The first plane leaving from this gate would be the 10:40 pm flight to Dulles airport. After standing there for about half an hour, another guy from our flight came walking up to see what was happening here. I was puzzled and asked him why. “Well, they stopped half of the people getting off the first plane, hurrying towards E11 and told us to wait at E26!” The lady at E11 called with the guys at E26 and yes, we were to go back to E26 – another plane would be waiting there for us. However, when we got there, there was no plane but the old (defective) one. It took about another hour to push the old plane out of the gate area, get the other plane there, empty it (people, bags, and other stuff – who knows), check it for defects, and for the last 20 minutes just wait around, I guess– I don’t know what the
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Ready to leave for the USA
fuck they were doing! When we got on the plane, we had to wait another too-fucking-long amount of time, but when we finally took off, I could breathe again! It was about 11:45 pm when we got out of the plane. I hurried to the baggage claim area because I wanted to get it fast, so I could see Jotte – but before I was anywhere near my luggage, I suddenly saw Jotte!

My heart went racing like I had just jumped off a 70 stories high building and I did the Ugly Cry, but I couldn’t give a shit. I was (am!) soooo happy to hold him again… I will leave the other gushy details and not bore you with that part of the story – but hey, it’s still a better love story than Twilight (9gag.com)!



MONDAY (7th)…

It still feels like it’s not real. Am I really in Virginia?! Is Jotte really here (because when I woke up, he was already at work)?! I proved these facts to be true (to myself) by walking around in the neighbourhood and end up chatting with a guy that works at the gas station around
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Nothing happening here...
the corner; and the other one by seeing Jotte walk into the front door again at 6 pm!

I am happy. :D



TUESDAY (8th)…

Today, because I was still feeling really tired, I just stayed at the house. I looked up places I wanted to go see in Washington DC and figured out how to get there. Wasn’t a really interesting day…

When Jotte got back from work, we went to the mall nearby. I saw a shop called ALDO, which I’d also seen in Costa Rica – I love everything they’re selling, but in Costa Rica the prices were just too high. In the US, though, the prices were a LOT better, so I bought a bag with butterflies on it and a little gift for my cousin (yes, it’s you, Iris! You’ll love it!). After that, we had dinner at a sushi place called Wasabi, where you sit around a carrousel full of little plates. The prices of the dishes are indicated by the colour of the plates and when you ask for the check, they simply look at the stack of plates you’ve got on your table. It’s really fun and
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big-ass bedroom.. and this is not even the biggest one in the house!
the sushi wasn’t bad either! For desert, we had popcorn – because we went to see The Avengers! Awesome movie: go see it.



WEDNESDAY (9th)...

I got on the bus towards the Metro station (talked to the guy from yesterday again, because the bus stop is next to the gas station) and after 40 minutes got on the Metro to Smithsonian. I saw ‘the Mall’, a collection of war tributes – the place where America glorifies every war they have ever fought in. The Lincoln memorial, WWII memorial, Vietnam War memorial, Korean War memorial, etc… I was still quite sick (it hasn’t gotten better since last Tuesday, when it started) so I did the tour at the pace of an old lady, and when I got to the library it was already closed. Other day!

All in all it was a nice day and when Jotte picked me up from the Metro station (I couldn’t bare sitting on the bus for half an hour), I was exhausted!



THURSDAY (10th)...

Because I was still feeling sick, I stayed at the house today. I slept like I hadn’t closed my eyes for a week and watched two movies – har har har...



FRIDAY (11th)...

I came with Jotte to ‘the office’ this morning – bright and early at 8 am – because afterwards, we would go to national park Shenandoah. Jotte was able to leave early, so at 12 am we passed by Target where we got some lunch (yeah, you can get anything there) and afterwards were off to the park. Shenandoah exists of a long stretch of land with hills/mountains, trees, great views and waterfalls. There is a long road that runs from north to south called the Skyline Drive. Driving this road, you have a great view and lots of opportunities to stop alongside the road to enjoy the view or take a hike. That’s what we did, too. We drove a while, stopped to have a little snack, drove some more, got out and walked a trail down the hill alongside a little river. When we got to the lowest point, we saw a beautiful waterfall – and then hiked back up again. I got to drive the Camaro out of the park, but then Jotte drove again because I’m not ensured for driving
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very sub-urban...
this car.



SATURDAY (12th)...

Today we drove to Annapolis, a town which is the major port of Chesapeake Bay. It is a cute town with a dock, lots of little shops, and plenty of places to get some lunch which are NOT fast food restaurants! After driving around for half an hour looking for a parking spot, we finally ‘discovered’ the parking lot (there was NO sign!) and sat down at a terrace, where we had lunch and beers. The weather was very lovely, so we kind of just walked around and tried to shop for clothes or souvenirs, but we couldn’t find anything.

I was feeling the shopping spree, so after dinner at the house, we went to the mall where Jotte and I both bought a pair of shoes and Jotte also bought some clothes! I really needed to go shopping – very happy right now! 😊



SUNDAY (13th)...

We started the day in Washington DC – we went to the National Archives and the White House – and even ran into Jotte’s roommate Jan-Willem on some random street! How weird is that?! After lunch (veggie burger!), we went to the Great Falls, which is really just one big waterfall. However, it is so big and beautiful, that one waterfall is all you need to be impressed!

On the way back home, I got to drive all the way. Drives sooo nice... We ordered Chinese again. 😊

I’m feeling quite sad about having to miss Jotte for five more weeks, starting Tuesday night. However, I’m also excited to see my friends again and to sleep in my own bed, use my own shower, and cook my own food in my own kitchen! :D


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'Wasabi' restaurant in the mall


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