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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Road-trip: Falls Church, Virginia

After about a week in Wilmington, on to visit CR in northern Virginia . I always dread the drive. The traffic around Washington, DC can be hell, adding hours at the end of the trip. But this time it wasn't bad at all. I even managed to find the house with only one wrong turn, a victory for directionally challenged me.

Mostly the two of us just hung out, talked, watched TV or DVDs. The biggest outing was a visit to a garden center. The only social occasion was the first night, when one of CRs friends came over for dinner. She works for an NGO, and had stories about visits to Tblisi (capital of Georgia) and cancelled trips to Dili (capital of East Timor).

I met a friend for dinner. She and another friend went to Antarctica this year, and the trip sounded fantastic. The Falklands, South Georgia, the Orkneys, the Anarctic Peninsula. In addition to the usual experts that are available on such trips, this cruise had some famous guest lecturers. Roauld Meissner, who was the first perston to climb Mt. Everest without oxygen, and Conrad Anker, another mountaineer. The whole trip sounded so interesting. Jealousy abounds.

Before meeting my friend at Ivy's, an Indonesian restaurant on Connecticutt Avenue, I drove out to Rockville, MD. I wanted to visit Bagel City, my favorite bagel shop from back when I lived in the area. Bagel City was part of my Sunday morning ritual for several years. Even after I left Bethesda to live in the District, I would drive out on Sundays for a veggie cream cheese on a toasted onion bagel. This time I had two.

Then I went to camera shop and learned that if I had hung on to my Nikon when it died, Nikon would have repaired or replaced it for free. So now I get to buy a new camera (yeah!) and spend money needlessly (boo!).

Add a couple of trips to the supermarket, a haircut, and a gas fill-up, and you have my stay covered.

I loved it. After being away so much it takes a while to get back into a comfortable place with friends. There's the initial chatter, then a sort of lull before you reach that easy spot of disjointed conversations and casual references. Some sort of timeline, a collection of recent references that include day-to-day stuff, adds a kind of ease. My choice to travel, to pass my years outside the US, totally interrupts that flow, and it is nice to get it back, even for little while.

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