Dashington W.C.

July 31st, 17:47, The nastiest place in Washington, D.C.

Wheehah! Things happen, all the time and a lot since the previous entry in this journal. Bad news first, all my photoes between Rockport and The Mall in D.C. mysteriously died, as my camera seems to have had a case of hick-ups. Oh well. Could be worse. And they became so. We'll get to that part soon.

Anyway, I entered the bus in Boston at 22:00 last night, ending up next to 220 centimeters of Wall Street. He was a product of the business department of New York University, having played basket in exchange for his education and some money. We discussed travelling like I do, as he had tried Inter-Rail in Europe, which is kinda similar, and I impressed him to the extreme by knowing the name of his professor from NYU. Lucky guess, based on what little time I spent in NYU with Hao. #:D) There was actually a huge traffic jam to get into the Big Apple at 2 am.

I fell asleep to no avail, as we drove into Port Authority in good old New York City at 2:20, where I had to wait an hour for the bus to Washington. On that bus I fell asleep at once, and woke up just about here. Which was not a very good experience. This place could wipe the smile off any car salesman's face. Sleezy de luxe. There are bulletholes in pretty much everything except the armed guard here, he probably knows how to avoid the nastiest areas.

Whatever. After having spent half an hour on understanding how the lockers work, and waiting for better daylight, I ran through the crowd of pirate cabs, and walked steadily in the direction I guessed the tourist sights had to be. My first stop was the line-up for tickets to the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, as it had been suggested as something I really should see if I ever came to Washington D.C. They hand out free tickets in the morning for various times later in the day, and you really have to be there early to get a ticket for the time you want. I got a ticket for 11:45, and had a couple of hours to spare before I could enter.

I spent that time walking around The Mall without any plan for the day. I saw the huge phallic symbol called the Washington Monument, the Pond and Lincoln Memorial. (Which was where I resurrected my dysfunctional camera.) And then it was time to use my ticket.

The Holocaust Memorial is probably the best museum I saw in the US, judging from how I felt after having seen it. The security check was stricter than at any of the airports I have visited, due to the fear for neo-Nazi terror activity. I got through, though, and could go to the elevator, which took me 4 floors up, into a dark room. And some 2 hours later I walked out the doors, with a very mixed feeling in my stomach. Do go there if you can. You should be in line for tickets by 10am at the latest.

Afterwards I walked around an insanely guarded white house, I managed to sneak into the Smithsonian Air & Space museum somehow without paying, and walked along the Mall down to Capitol Hill. Typical tourist in the middle of all the other ones, for a change. The gotta-see's behind me, I was ready for the scary part, which comes now.

On my way back to the Greyhound station, I did not walk the straight line there, as I wanted to find a grocery store, to buy food for my next Greyhound distance. The Greyhound buses NEVER stop anywhere near places you can buy something else than Big Mac's or Whoppers, which is food I resent. Therefore, I bought some fresh fruit, juice and such before I got onto a Greyhound bus. This time it led my into a rather spooky neighborhood, though. In stead of finding a grocery store, one was found by a huge African American. Or Washington American, one could say, as this neighborhood seemed to be populated mainly by people looking like this person that found me.

I was planning on doing my "don't look at threatening-looking people"-trick, but he would not allow that. He stepped in front of me, and as this "street" was rather narrow, I couldn't get past without having him move. So. Not feeling like beating this guy up, I gave in and asked for a list of his demands. It appeared he was about to sell me some postcards. "Very well, sir", I said, "give me two". No way. I was to buy (he counted...) SEVEN postcards. "Ah.", I said. And a small book about women and success. "Certainly.", I said. And that will be... 10 dollars. "No way, those cards are 10 for a dollar in the Mall", I argued. So what?, he insisted. Through some hard bargaining I managed to have him showing me a grocery store included in the price. And so he did. The store had an armed guard standing next to the counters. Me being the only white person in the area, everyone eyed me suspiciously. Still, the postcard salesman took care of me intil I was out of this area, loaded with fruit. Don't come back here, was his advice. I have obliged so far.

Later I learned that EVERYONE takes a cab between the Mall and the station. Oh well. I survived to tell the tale. And now I am sitting in the bus that will take me to Tennessee, coming to Knoxville at 06:00. From there I will have to find some bus that can take me to Johnson City, so I can meet up with Julia Adams, my next "victim". #:D)

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Last modified: Sun May 26 20:33:21 MET DST 1996

(C) 1995 BC Tørrissen

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