|don't stay here|
The desk clerk told us the Capitol Skyline Hotel was nearby, so we said book us there. The clerk said he wasn't authorized to pay for that hotel - we said whatever, you can pay for the cab to get us there. Which he said they would. Needless to say, we were all a little crabby by this time. We saw the bellman found us a cab, so we went out to change hotels. As we're settling into the cab, the work colleague in the front seat said that the bill was being paid by this first hotel. The cabbie, who was eating his dinner, said, "No way! This is a $5 cab ride! You can't afford a $5 cab ride? Do you need to get out now?!" We were rather gobsmacked that the hotel ALSO didn't pay for our cab, but we were also tired, so we said JUST GO. So he did. As he kept eating. What a charmer.
As we drove to the new hotel, we saw we were leaving the cute neighborhood and heading into a not-cute neighborhood. Our eating cabbie told us there wasn't really anything within walking distance of the hotel, which wasn't very encouraging. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw there was a restaurant, so our hopes went up a bit. We checked into the Capitol Skyline, which sort of looks like an airport hotel, and I asked about the restaurant. I was informed it was only open for breakfast, but would we like a list of area restaurants? Sure. Top on that list? The McDonalds across the expressway. Sigh. We decided we would get a cab and go somewhere nice, after we all went to our rooms and relaxed for a few minutes in our rooms.
One work chum and I had decided that we couldn't be having a meeting in the Library of Congress without actually looking around the Library of Congress. So we got there a couple of hours before our tech rehearsal to look around. The Jefferson Building is an amazingly beautiful building! I had no idea! Plus, one of the Gutenberg Bibles is on display there, as is one of George Gershwin's piano. There are amazing sculptures and mosaics, and the light flooding in those ceiling-to-floor windows was glorious. It was just stunning in there and I wish we'd had the time to take the official tour. But we had a good time just the same. I also wish we had had more time to peruse the gift shop, which had some incredible things in it. But work waits for no one.
The tech rehearsal went great, the reception before the event went great, the event went great, except none of the tech worked. Which was frustrating, since it had worked in the rehearsal, but the panel was game and improvised well. I thought the panel discussion was very compelling and I look forward to seeing the video they put together. I teared up a couple of times, just at the thought of being in the nation's capitol and having people hear the struggles of the writer. I could hear 'wow' and gasps from the audience, so clearly a little education happened, which is always a good thing. After all the travel agita, everything else was a great experience. I would love to go back to the Library of Congress and see all the gorgeous stuff I missed.
The trip back was, thankfully, uneventful. The cab got us to the train station with ease, the train was on time, we got seats together and the wi-fi worked so I could peruse the office iPad. All in all, it was a nice day and a half, even with the pain in the butt hotel nonsense. I felt like I was away for a week instead of just over a day, but that's ok. I need to make more trips to D.C. - the city is so European in some ways and there's always something new to do and see...