August 31, 2005 (Wednesday)
Some crazy things just happen when you least expect it. I was just sitting at the hotel lobby this afternoon waiting for Alan when the fire alarms went off. People rushed outside and I saw hotel personnel directing people to go across the street. I thought it was one of those regular fire drills until a hotel attendant just came over and asked me to leave the building. It was a small fire that hit the elevators somewhere on the upper floors, I later learned.
Anyway, I went around Georgetown, named after King George by the early settlers. It’s the oldest part of Washington with the Potomac harbor, the Canal and a lot of old historic buildings. I went to see a movie with Alan, with first woman Secret Service in her late fifties or sixties I believe and a Latin American friend of hers. They invited me to watch Le Carre’s Constant Gardener. A movie costs $9 plus and a big Coke is $3 something. It’s an exciting and touching movie, which I think will reap some awards this year.
After the movie I went around Georgetown in the evening until around 11 p.m., spent some time inside the Barnes and Nobles bookstore but was not able to buy anything although I was salivating with all the good books around, and later walked to the hotel.
Washington indeed is a quiet little town, especially Georgetown. The weather was pleasant and I remembered Jeddah in the months of December to February – cold, silent and deserted wide streets. Of Course Georgetown is really beautiful, the buildings that date back to the 1700s are impressive and again I could only think that I was dreaming walking around the US capital. This is indeed a journey of a lifetime.
On my way back to the hotel I went to a CSV – that’s a drugstore/grocery shop like Mercury – and bought a bottle of water, some pecan strips for snacks and batteries for the camera. I was not able to bring the camera to Georgetown because I had no batteries and I did not know where to buy.
I went to the 20th St. earlier near M Street to buy a shipping box. I decided to send some of my stuff back to Manila so that I can travel lighter around the US. I will mail the stuff tomorrow morning and maybe spend some time around Georgetown to take some pictures before I leave town for New York. I will have a meeting with some Hispanic journalists tomorrow morning at ten-thirty and have lunch with a well-known Chinese activist before skipping town with Alan.