Still playing “catch-up”, this post is a continuation of this one.
The morning was still gray and damp when I arrived in Chinatown. I hurried from the subway station at Grand Avenue along the slick streets where men unloaded fresh fish from trucks and the blue steel of the Manhattan Bridge loomed above. One of the more startling things about the Chinatown bus system that ferries budget-conscious travelers between major cities on the eastern seaboard is that there’s really no station. One rounds a corner and stumbles upon a small crowd of suitcase-toting passengers and a white bus that either bears cryptic words like “Fung-Wah” or is creepily unmarked.
On my way to Washington I sat next to a Polish fellow who was studying computer science at a university in New York. This was a real-live case study where I could put my knowledge of European current events (gleaned from The Economist, naturally) to the test. We talked a few minutes about changes in Poland since joining the EU, the migratory patterns of skilled and unskilled workers in Eastern Europe, and possible government reforms in Poland. Pleased with myself for daring to enter such a conversation, though wary of getting in over my head, the conversation soon shifted to our respective plans in this nation’s capital.
My good friend from college, Emily, picked me up from the bus station, and as we drove toward Georgetown pointed out interesting landmarks including where she used to work and the upscale restaurant where she and her husband recently had a $30 three-course dinner as part of the local eateries’ promotion. We also drove past a huge flight of stairs near campus which was in a famous horror film, but of course I couldn’t remember the name of the movie when telling the story later, and I still can’t remember it. Kinda takes away some of the punch of the moment.
My cousin Lucia met up with us–she’s a freshman at Georgetown–and showed us around campus, including her dorm. Here’s a picture of Lucia and me on the terraced rooftop of one of the upper-classmen dorms with a great view of the river and the Washington Monument.
We dined at a local Indian restaurant, and then Emily and I met up with Seth at a “passing on the torch” Saturday afternoon get-together at their church. Emily is taking over the coordination of the church’s Sunday morning coffee hour, and this was a key meeting where she could network with the various hosts. Seth and I networked with the snack buffet. Wherever there are Methodists gathered, there will also be good food.
This was my first time to see Emily & Seth’s home in a smaller town in Maryland. Regrettably I didn’t take pictures, but the best parts of the “split-foyer” home were the automatic apple-peeler, and the back deck where Stumpy lives. Stumpy is a little turtle who has been part of the K_____ household for several years. A student gave him to Seth back when they lived in Texas, and Stumpy is so named because his two front legs are just that. He seems to get around okay, though, and enjoys a diet of mealworms.
The remainder of my time there consisted of a great Mexican food dinner (New York sadly has a paucity of good Mexican places), and church on Sunday morning, with a home-cooked Sunday lunch. Another picture of Seth & me at the kitchen table while the pork roasted. (You can see that I’m busy working, while Seth is doing a little light reading.)