I had visions of fully immersing myself in the Inauguration celebratory experience, but it was not to be. Mother Nature was against me. It was bitterly cold once dusk rolled in. The dreaded flu was against me. Yes, I went to D.C. even while I was still suffering with the flu. I know, this makes no sense. But, I’d paid for the train tickets and had looked forward to bonding with my 20-something-year-old cousin, a.k.a. “Just Call Her Fabulous”, “The Diva” or “The Shoe Shopper”, so nothing would stop me from getting there.
This is a run down of how I managed to pull this all together:
- Worked all day — and was actually sequestered behind closed doors in my office to prevent my germs from spreading like wildfire through the office. (Note: So many of my co-workers had been battling the flu. The office should have been closed because all you could hear was coughing and sneezing.)
- Rushed home to finish packing, shower and eat dinner
- Ran (and I mean R-A-N) out of my house with water, handbag and suitcase to the train — barely made it.
- Almost collapsed on the train (I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I could hardly get air into my lungs — yes, running while you have a fever does not work.)
- Took train to next station in order to catch the Amtrak that was scheduled to depart at 9:15 p.m. I arrive and there’s an announcement. The train would be late. Sweating. Fuming. Exhausted.
- Train arrives at 9:30. It’s crowded. It is, after all, Friday night and those who are heading to D.C. are probably heading there for Inauguration festivities. We would be scheduled to arrive between 1:00 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Thankfully, I get a seat in the Quiet Car. I’d be able to get relax in peace. I felt like h*ll.
- We arrived at Union Station in Washington, D.C. at just after 1:00 a.m.
- Depart in a taxi to The Diva’s apartment. It was cold. The wind was whipping through the open air of the wide spaces surrounding the station and from the Capitol building.
- Arrived at The Diva’s apartment building. She was fabulously dressed. I could tell, she was in “party mode”.
- Upon arriving in her apartment, I’m greeted warmly by what I believe were a million friends of hers. They’re all 20-somethings with boundless energy. (Actually, it was only about 10, but it seemed like much more. They were ready to get their night started. Yes, started. It was now about 1:45 a.m.)
- I’m invited to join them for a night out. Yes, at that hour. I change and out we go at 2:30 a.m. (Note: Remember, I’m still walking around with the flu and a fever. Don’t ask. smh.)
- We go out. We return at 5 a.m. (There are just no words for the madness. I had no business being outside much less in a bar in 5-inch heels with dangerously laid wooden floors. smh. Did I even see exits??…Things like not getting out in an emergency from these “dives” concern me, although they didn’t concern me when I was The Diva’s age. I’m getting old, I guess.)
- We finally get to bed sometime around 5:30 a.m. (At this point, I’d been up for 22 hours.) We sleep until around noon.
I won’t bore you with the minute details, bullet by bullet, of what took place at every hour on Saturday afternoon until I left on Tuesday morning, but here are a few highlights:
- I refused to join Just Call Her Fabulous and her posse for another night out on Saturday. I was in no shape to bar or club hop. The only places I would be hanging out on this night would be the couch and the bed.
- On Sunday, I joined her and several of her crew for brunch at Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro in Dupont Circle. The service was appalling. I was not impressed and won’t be returning. An absolute disappointment. I wanted to provide a review of the restaurant, like I do occasionally on this lil’ ol’ blog, but they don’t deserve one. If you don’t believe how pissed I was, here was my tweet as soon as I left the restaurant:
- Surprisingly, a number of businesses were open on Sunday. I assume to take advantage of the onslaught of visitors. I was able to get a hair appointment on Sunday. A hair appointment was necessary. I had a couple of items on the social calendar. Oh, yes. Social calendar.
- Sunday night, The Diva and I hit the town. We jammed to the sounds of D.C. bands at Cafe Asia. We looked amazing. By the end of the night, however, our feet were killing us! We changed from our heels to flats on the street as soon as we left the club. We didn’t have it in us to continue to rock the cuteness.
- On Monday, we were glued to the television watching President Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony and the Inauguration parade. If you thought I would have made it to Constitution Avenue or the Mall or wherever to catch a glimpse of POTUS and FLOTUS, you are so very wrong. The 20-something cousin was not in the mood to fight the crowds in downtown D.C., so I’d have to be satisfied with the play-by-play from C-Span.
- On Monday afternoon, we headed out to H Street on the northeast side of D.C. to TruOrleans for brunch and an “Inauguration Viewing Party” (we obviously missed it) since we arrived at around 2:00 p.m.. The food and drinks were “okay” — with one exception: The Crab Benedict, which was “exceptional” and to die for! Absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my meal, so I was only able to have a taste. I instead had to suffer through a soupy, albeit tasty, shrimp and grits eaten with a fork. Yeah, figure that one out. We never got spoons we asked for, and when we’d almost finished, we were finally able to get the water we’d requested when we sat down. (Maybe it was just an off-weekend. I had two less than desirable brunch experiences in one weekend. What a way to disappoint a foodie.)
Note: Apologies for quality of the photographs. I used my ancient BlackBerry to snap these. BlackBerry cameras are the absolute worst. I’d forgotten to take my camera with me to brunch.
Crab Benedict at TruOrleans (Washington, DC)
Shrimp and Grits at TruOrleans (Washington, DC)
Fried Green Tomatoes at TruOrleans (Washington, DC)
- After take-out dinner (Chinese) on Sunday night, I was up at 4:00 a.m. and out the door at 4:30 a.m. There I was, standing on the cold, breezy and desolate streets of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. waiting on a corner to hail a taxi. I’d be on the 5:30 a.m. Amtrak to New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, and head straight to the office where I’d change and get ready for a long day of work ahead.
Are you tired? You should be after reading all of that.
Although it wasn’t the weekend I’d fantasized about, I was…
- …thrilled to bond with my “little” cousin. She’s grown up to be quite the young lady with a terrific group of friends. Twenty-somethings have more energy than you can believe;
- …relieved that my fever disappeared by Monday night;
- …overjoyed I was able to treat myself to a desperately needed hair appointment (yes, it’s the small things);
- …deliriously happy that I’d scored a fabulous dress on sale just by chance while visiting a local boutique in the neighborhood. (Again, it’s the small things.);
- …elated that I’d discovered a very charming restaurant right in the heart of Adams Morgan — Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe. (Here’s a review.) Bardia’s is a small, laid back eatery. The owner said he’d been there since the 1990s. This place deserves more patrons; you should pay them a visit. When you think of New Orleans, you wouldn’t think of 18th Street in Washington, D.C., but this was a surprising find. And the beignets…Oh my God…Delicious!)
My biggest disappointment, other than not finding my way downtown to watch the parade? No photographs of anything to do with the Inauguration and Washington, D.C. all decked out for the celebration. Not one. (sigh)