I once again awoke to the cleaning ladies at the hostel vacuuming my dreams away. I was on the top bunk, and my foot was dangling. One of them actually pinched my toes to wake me up. I thought it only happened in movies... I went down and caught the end of the free breakfast. OJ, Fruit Loops, blueberry muffins and cantaloupe went down the hatch and it was scrumptious. I then saw an Asian dude walk in with a U of T(Toronto) hoodie. Such a small world, and I introduced him, and told him I had friends there, and was on the campus not 3 weeks ago. We got talking, and he asked if I wanted to go to the NBA game that was in town that night. I thought about it for a second, and realized this would be a good opportunity for me to see if I could continue my search for generosity on a corporate level, despite me not being able to reciprocate the gesture. I googled the Washington Wizards, got the names of the people I would need to speak with and placed a few phone calls. They were very cool with it. They told me to come down an hour before tip off. I told Victor, the student visiting from Canada to meet me then, and I left to meet Davy, the Irish bloke I met the night before for lunch.
Davy is a political science student studying at George Washington University, what was once and still is one of the most expensive universities in the world. He is a TA obtaining his PhD in PoliSci. He was immediately welcoming, and led me to a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch, which he kindly offered to pay for me. I grabbed the Pad Thai, and it was easily the best Pad plate Ive ever had, and not because I was hungry and it was donated. Davy was easily the most intellectual man I had met in the country, and we had a brilliant conversation that drifted from politics to society, culture to travel. He was a top man, and I know hes one of those that will reach his potential, as his incredible knowledge and concept grasps were prevalent. He offered to let me crash at his flat that night, and took B1 to his office on campus. He had to return to school, and I was to go be a tourist until the game, and meet him afterwards. He was a great person to be around, as his ideas and perceptions were in line with mine, and beyond. He taught me quite a bit about basic American history and politics, as well as discussing global issues and how they pertain to our lives.
After thanking him, and arranging to meet later, I walked to the famous Watergate hotel, site of the famous Nixon scandal, snapped some pics and carried on over the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial.
What an impressive, amazing structure, but the statue was slightly creepy in my eyes, as its almost cultish how Americans idolize their Presidents. Its like they think they are immortal, and elected due to super-powers. Davy has an impressive wealth of knowledge on these topics, and gave me some great insight to it.
Tallest President ever.
In front of the Lincoln Memorial is the famous reflecting pool, and Washington Monument. The entire time I just kept picturing the scene from Forrest Gump where hes giving the speech and sees his 'Jennaay' and runs to hug her in front of the thousands of protesters. I loved it, and in front of the bus loads of onlooking Asian tourists, re-enacted the scene for my own entertainment. The pool was frozen solid, and I walked across it, just to say I did.
Oh Nathan, youre so silly.
I headed to the falic shaped Washington Monument, and snapped a few photos.
Playing just the tip.
In the middle of the boys from Missouri Military Academy. They were funny kids, and you could see the effect of military discipline on them, as they listened to every word barked by their leader, and swarmed around me in this fashion in less than two seconds.
One of me behaving badly.
I continued wandering around, snapping away on the ol' picture maker,and bummed a cigarette in hopes of a meal replacement off a dude. We got talking, and he told me he was a busser at Hooters. He told me he could get me a free meal, as the manager was his uncle. I accepted (for the food, you dirty mind). I grabbed a buffalo chicken wrap.
They're lucky they work there, I heard its a rigorous IQ test during hiring.
Hooters is beyond cliche, and it was funny to see the patrons. Almost entirely older obese men with wedding rings. I thanked Jermaine, and his uncle Rudy, and made my way up to the Verizon Centre, home of Ovechkin's Caps, and Arenas' Wizards. I was pretty excited for the game, despite their best player being suspended indefinitely for bringing a gun into the stadium. I guess he's just another of those 'can take the man outta the hood, but cant take the hood outta the man' types. I cant believe how dumb some pro athletes can be and jeopardize their entire careers. Like Mike Vick for example. Tiger is still a legend.(I just saw his apology in the hotel now)
In the Verizon Centre. Thank you to Brian at the Washington Wizards for hooking it all up!
I went into the arena, passed security and went to the services desk to see what they had in store for me. I picked up my package. It contained 2 tickets to the game($125 each), (unfortunately vs the Minnesota Timberwolves) a free t-shirt, and food vouchers for $25. I was shocked with the hospitality they offered me. I threw on my T shirt, and wandered around the stadium. I found a US Marine recruiting booth, and asked to pose for a photo. They tossed me a t-shirt, and tried to get me to enlist. I told them I'm not American, and with the flip of a switch, stopped talking to me. I still got the t-shirt and the pride of knowing I will never sell my soul to the military, American or wherever.
It was totally his idea.
It was getting close to tip-off, and I called Victor, 5 times, and he didn't pick up his phone. I had a free ticket to surprise him with, but he never showed. I thought about going and giving it to someone, but was told I cannot leave the stadium once I was in. So it was time to go in and I made my way inside the stadium. The Wizards aren't exactly the Lakers, if you know what I mean in terms of fan base, so the place was busy, but only about half full. I found my seat, and it a great spot, right behind the TV camera gantry. I still had time, so I made my way down to the court and snapped some pics. The teams started to come out to warm up and I made my way to my seat.
I dont know why I look so glum.
It didn't take long for the game to get under way. It was my first NBA experience, and I was well chuffed. It was pretty cool, but still the stereotypical American sport, full of flames, cheerleaders, commercials and stoppages. I still prefer my futebol.
They game was sweet, the Wizards got off to a shit start, but started to get their act together.
At half time, I left during the trampoline act to get some food. I grabbed the biggest 8oz burger ever, and a Coke. The drink sizes are bladder crippling, bladder bursting and forget-about-the-game-have-fun-peeing-for-a-week. Not really, but they might as well have been. I of course opted for the latter, and figured if I ever needed, could MacGyver it into a 3rd backpack. The burger and fries were super filling, although the chips were like eating cardboard.
The second half was enjoyable, but I got warned for having a video camera out. I just took still photos, and sat back for the 4th quarter. It was a close finish, with both teams leading at times. Some white dude hit two 3 pointers, and it sent the crowd into a frenzy. I even got caught up in it, and near the end, was jumping out of my seat, slapping hands with the people around me. I sat in front of a noisy group of gangsters, and the shit they were yelling was better than the game itself. The final ended up 108-99 and it snapped a losing streak the Wizards had. It was a pretty cool experience, and I was truly grateful for the kind people who made it possible. I made my way out of the stadium, and back onto the frosty DC streets. I walked down 7th, a very trendy, busy street filled with affluent people enjoying themselves, and hustla's hustlin' drugs. It was quite the polar mix. I walked down the few blocks to Davy's apartment, and met him at the door. He brought me in, passed me a beer, and we chatted well into the night. Again, after spending so much time alone, and repeating the same conversations to people, it was lovely to have chatted with someone with more than half a brain, and he had like 6.4 brains. It was getting late, and he prepared a bed for me. It was so great, and I even got to take a warm shower. I thanked him, and blogged til I passed out.