Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Claire's big America trip: day eight

What I learned:

DC is currently undergoing major renovation. There's netting on the ceiling of Union Station, for example, which is likely related to the recent earthquake. I'd planned my entire day around a walk by the Reflecting Pool - the favourite place of Senator Kate Leemans in my novel, and one of mine, too - and it is being totally dug up as we speak. However, once you get there, there really isn't much option other than to keep walking. Still, it was a gorgeous day, and now I have yet more photos of me by the Lincoln Memorial, in case last year's and the year before's weren't quite enough.

Where I ate:

At lunchtime, I paused my walk along the mall and jumped on the metro to the Oval Room. Counter-intuitive, perhaps, but I had my mind set on it and I know me: once I get an idea in my head, the quicker I give into it the better. Anyway, it was a great decision. For a start, it's one of those quintessential DC places that I don't think they ever mention in the West Wing but they really should. It wasn't as big as I imagined, but it was funky (the good British funky, not the bad American funky) and classy all at once. The waiter was super nice and super friendly and made me feel welcome and not at all like a loser for eating alone.

And the food was good - I went for the chicken salad, which sounds dull, but once you add in avocado, and interesting dressing involving ginger it turns into something interesting. The chicken pieces were substantial, too - it wasn't one of those pathetic girlie salads consisting mostly of wilted lettuce leaves. (Though, aesthetically, I thought it could have done with a bit more green.) The desserts sounded a little fussy and complex for me - give me a brownie with ice cream and I'm a happy girl - but I was too full anyway. My one regret was that I didn't get to eavesdrop on any high-powered conversations.

Later on, I went back to We, The Pizza (there are a lot of cheesily named restaurants in DC, but I have to say that I really like this name) and discovered that - surprise, surprise - ordering pizza in a pizza place is a much better idea than ordering salad. I had the Mexian Spicy Pie (or something) - more chicken - and it was yummy. It cost $4.44 (my salad yesterday was $9.99, they seem to like those kind of numbers, which I don't think are a commentary on Herman Cane's silly tax plans) and for around $2.50 you can also get a refillable "soda".

Where I wrote:

In the morning, on my way back from Democratic Gain (where they failed to instantly offer me a job, tsk tsk), I more or less randomly found myself walking into a coffeshop simply called "caffe". It had lured me with its bright red Illy sign, and it turned out to be attached to a posh hotel, so you could sip your coffee - mine a filtro con latte, which seems to be a new thing, and is exactly what I have been looking for all these years - in an impressive lobby which is perfect for writing (or would have been if it has not been for the noisy conference guests). I wrote the first half of Aaron and Louisa's work dinner which later turns into a date.

The turning into a date part I wrote at Peregrine later that afternoon (yes, I am a creature of habit). I only meant to write a page or two, but I was putting off a decision about whether to go to a church community group or a political phone banking event, and I was in the flow, so I kept going. I've written about six pages today, which is more or less what I need to make my 1,667 daily words for NaNoWriMo. (I'm handwriting, so I have to estimate.)

DC experience of the day:

If you know me, you'll know that I hate phones with every fibre of my being, but politics is what brought me here, and I thought phone banking might be a good way to meet people. Which it was. I returned to the DNC offices for the fourth time in five days (Josh Lyman would be proud) and was directed to a room full of enthusiastic, friendly, welcoming Obama supporters, who were very patient with my stupid questions and explained to me that I was to call this list of people and ask them if they were "in for 2012". I was also meant to invite them to a few specific events, but since one of them never happens on the West Wing I was completely confused about it so I was pretty glad that I didn't get that far with anyone - I made around 30 calls, and most of those people were out. Oddly, the good-looking guy in the room seemed to get a lot of his calls answered, almost as if they knew. Go figure, as they say over here.

No comments: