Monday, February 7, 2011

Washington D.C. - 2.2.11-2.5.11

Business trips can be boring, but can also be fun. Robson and I were hoping for the latter for this trip. Wednesday morning, I cabbed it to the airport with Robson. We were at the airport at 6am, which is very, very, early. We were heading to Washington D.C. for 2 days of meetings, and we were both looking forward to going somewhere we had both never been, and meeting colleagues that we had talked to on the phone, but had never met in person.

I'll skip the non entertaining attempts of sleeping on the plane to Houston, and the trip from Houston to D.C. When we landed at D.C., that's where the fun and realization set in, for both of us, that we weren't in Calgary anymore, and seemed to be in a new space and time.

Seeing some of the monuments lit up in the distance, was surreal. I've always wanted to see these monuments, in person. You see them in movies and on T.V., but don't get a real grasp of the history in D.C., until you're there in person. I've taken a lot of photos of historical buildings in Calgary, but the 1911 buildings here, don't compare at all to the buildings of the early 1800's which are standing in prestine condition, all around the D.C. area! Now that's history!

Our first night there, we met up with some of our colleagues at a sportsbar near the hotel. Had something to eat, played some pool, talked to some colleagues, and of course, drank some beer!! Then some of us headed to the hotel bar to finish off the night before the first day of meetings.

Skip the meeting, and lead to the evening of immense fun. On the schedule was dinner and drinks and partying at Dave and Buster's. We met out front of the hotel and had a very interesting bus ride to Dave and Buster's. The GPS sent the bus down a residential area which was interesting, as this is a large bus/coach. Then we got stuck in a parking lot as we were trying to turn around. Yes, a very interesting ride to Dave and Buster's.

Now in Calgary, there's an arcade style pub called Shank's. Dave and Busters is similar, except kids and families are allowed in, and this place was about 15 times the size of Shank's!!! This place was HUGE! We all got swipe cards with credits on them, for playing games, so after some dinner, and pool, we went to the other side to start playing games.

Many hours later, and many, many, many, drinks (and shots) later, we all poured ourselves onto the bus. Once back at the hotel, someone came up with the idea of walking a couple of blocks down to TGI Friday's, so off we went. Once there, another couple of hours of mayhem ensued, and we ended up closing the place down just before 2am. We all poured ourselves back to the hotel and one part I do remember, is stripping off my clothes and getting into bed at about 2:20am.

At the meeting on Friday morning, at 9am, I was amazed to see people there without too much of a hangover. That afternoon we were done a little earlier so Robson, Aminata, and I decided to head downtown to see the White House and whatever monuments we could, before the sun went down.

We took some pictures at the white house, walked down to the washington monument, then down towards the capitol building. These monuments "look" like they're not too far away from each other, but they are a few miles apart, that's for sure!! It's quite deceiving really, but we were both in awe! No matter where we looked there were really old historical buildings, monuments, statues, and although quite cold, lots of people. Aminata, our colleague, works at our head office not far from these monuments, and lives out of town in the suburbs. We were heading towards the Capitol Building and she mentioned she had never been down this area. I guess when you have it right there, everyday, it doesn't mean as much as it does to someone like us who have never seen anything like this before.

After the sun went down, it got really cold, so we walked back to the metro to take it back to the hotel. After dinner, Robson went up to his room and I had a couple of drinks with Matze and Mike. Because we had to be at the airport at 6:30am, I turned in early too, to hopefully get some sleep.

Cue up a cab at 6am, at the hotel, another interesting cab ride to the airport, and then take off for our trip from D.C. to Denver, then from Denver to Calgary. Our connecting flight in Denver we cut close though, as we were slightly delayed from D.C., and we had to go the entire length of the Denver airport (which took about 10-15 minutes of jogging/fast walking) to get to our connecting flight. We made it just in time. :)

We had a great time in D.C. meeting new colleagues, seeing new landmarks, and having great fun at a HUGE arcade. We can't wait for our next trip, that's for sure!!!! Next time, I'll take a smaller tripod with me (for night shots), and I'll take my bigger camera, rather than my point and shoot.
If you've never been to D.C., I would highly recommend a visit!! I found the people were nice, the drivers quite crazy, but most of all the history is definitely something to embrace. I'd like to stay at the Washington Hotel which is about 2 blocks from the White House. It's a beautiful old hotel, with amazing arcitechture.

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