I awoke to the soothing sound a cheap vacuum and the voice of a Spanish woman barking me out of bed, as I had once again slept past checkout. I quickly got my things together, said goodbye to my Korean roommate and headed out into the fresh DC air. The plan was to do the tourist thing, check out Obama's crib and the rest of the sights and scenes of the nation's capital. Washington is a beautiful city, and the architecture is a mixture of modern and Gothic and the city is laid out tourist friendly. I wandered around, and made my way to the House that is White. It was pretty cool. To have seen it so much, then finally see it in real life, totally different. The place was crawling with Secret Service and only a few visitors, all of whom were Asian. I got my pics, and kept marching through the city.
In front of the Treasury.
Ha. Thumbs up.
Obama's crib! This shot has appeared in so many.
B2 being all touristy!
The Secret Service were eyeing me pretty hard. Probably a good thing, I was loaded to the teeth with explosives....
After I did the Japanese tourist thing and filled a memory card, it was Tuesday, and that was matchday. I headed to a coffee shop nearby, and googled a nearby pub. I asked the manager for a free coffee, and he was more than happy to help me out. "I am very happy to help travellers" he said in broken English. That's where I met Brianna. She was on her computer, busy working, when my bigass bags distracted her. She asked where I was from/going and was really interested in my concept. She offered to buy me a meal at the shoppe, and the strawberry yogurt granola was so delicious. I referred her to my blog and she promised to stay in tune. Again, such sincere kindness.
As soon as she left, she was replaced by a man in a power suit and a blackberry. He was a total asshole, and kicked one of my bags out of the way. When I said it belonged to me, and it contained cameras, he said 'so?' Well my friend, two can play at that game. Maybe I should have just carried on the gestures of good-hearted people and left it, but this clown needed to be put in his place. I walked over to his Burberry trenchcoat, and kicked it aside and plunked B1 on top of it. He was not happy and cussed me out. I informed him my bag was twice the price of his coat, and he should really be more polite to people he doesn't know. He looked at me for a second, grabbed his coat, and as he spun around, spilled coffee on his pinstripes. Karma homeslice.
I sorted I was going to go to the Elephant and Castle to catch the match, and made my way there.
I asked for the manager, and told him I wont be able to buy a meal or drink, and asked if it would be OK to sit and watch the match. He said no problem, and was a United fan himself.
It was a massive game, and I was very keen on it. A kind waitress brought me a Coke and chatted with me for a bit.
The match kicked off, and it wasn't a very good start. The bucktoothed Ronaldinho scored a deflected goal in the 3' minute, and it sucked. In true United fashion, we pulled one back 30 mins later thanks to a similar Scholesy goal. I jumped up screaming and fist pumping, and the Yanks sitting at the bar looked at me like I was a nutter. Well they can take their American football and suck it. They dont understand passion. United; the religion.It was also a lucky deflection, but cancelled out the previous crap Milan put in. 1-1, all squared.
Another Coke was kindly brought to me, and a few Brits came in. We got chatting, and in typical English fashion, starting pouring me pints. They were hilarious, and thought it was awesome I was hitchhiking. They kept making sure I was drinking. It reminded me just how low my tolerance was, and I was buzzing after 2 pints.
ROONEY IS A F*CKING LEGEND. period.
Imagine we didnt stuff them, 3-2, AWAY. A vital result. Such a rush.
This one pissed off the cops, and they came over and told me never to do that again.
The Washington Monument. I need to cool it with the thumbs.
The free garlic cheese bread from Mo at Domino's. Cheers brother.
After I mowed that down, I wandered around and bumped into a woman. She was curious about a backpacker in DC, in February. She was the bartender at the iconic Stan's bar in DC, and told me to come down for a beer and the famous wings. I did, and was the only white person in the place, aside from her. Not to mention the only person in the city with the image I have; Nat Geographic or something. She told a few people my gig, and a drunk middle aged man told me to sit. He introduced himself as Tyrone, and wanted to hear my story from me. He was blown away. As a plate of wings was brought to me, we shared pints(I was well hammed) and he was very into me and my gig. We ended up chatting for hours, and long story short, he promised that if I get to Africa, he'll get me on Oprah. He was a close personal friend, and loved my story.
He was more interested in the fact I was breaking all kinds of security barriers and told me I could make alot of money telling my story exposing the loopholes in the American system. He was a very successful man, handed me his CEO card and told me to call him when I get to S.A. He said he wanted to be the one who get me famous. I don't know if it was the Sangria, but he said he saw too much potential in me. It had me inspired. I had made a few friends. They were all older black folks celebrating Mardi Gras, and confessed I was their favourite whiteboy. Black people are too fun, and know how to have a good time. I had a few older ladies hugging me, calling me 'shhugah'. I loved it. Feeling pretty buzzed, I didn't want to embarrass myself, and took off. I thanked everyone, and told them to enjoy themselves. They will, no doubt about that.
I walked around, tipsy on the ice. I ran into a woman who asked if I was a climber. We chatted about climbing for a minute, and an Irishman walked by, overhearing my conversation, asked about the hitching gig. We then got chatting, and he offered to meet with me the next day for lunch, on him. We exchanged emails, and told each other we would talk soon. He said he would have allowed me to crash with him at his pad, but was going to his girlfriends' and that I could stay the next night.
After we parted, I heard a noise, spun around and noticed I had dropped one of my shoes strapped to B1. I then noticed the other was long gone.
Super bummer. A small thing, but my only pair of shoes aside from my boots, and a nice change as the boots have cut up my feet(Ill post pics later). I threw the shoe aside, and just carried on.
It was then I walked past a homeless man laying a blanket down for the night. I sat down beside him, pounded fists and offered him a cigarette. I sat down and chatted with him for a bit. I asked him about life on the DC streets. He said hes lucky to get $2 a day, and that people don't acknowledge his existence. He lost his job and never bounced back. He wasn't the crackhead sort, rather the hard luck, then turn to the bottle type. He had my deepest sympathies. One of the Brits from the pub had tossed me the rest of their Marlboro's, and I tossed them to him. Then I asked if he was hungry. He said always, and it was worse at bed time.
This was my time to use my resources to repay the incomprehensible gestures I have had thrown at me daily by complete strangers. I told him I would be right back.
I walked down to a pizza shoppe, and it was almost closing time; the best time to try and plead a free meal. My man threw me a full sausage bacon pizza and a Snapple. A million thanks, I ran down to Popeye's chicken. The manager, Jim hooked it up, after I only asked him for a meal that wasn't going to be sold. I offered to take out their garbages, and he said not necessary. He filled a bag with 4 chicken and fry meals, 3 apple pies and 2 chicken wraps. It was well over $40 of food, plus the pizza. I thanked him, and on the way back, found my other shoe, the one I thought was long gone. Everything happens for a reason, and that was my repayment. I retrieved the one I tossed, and had my trusty Salomons back. I went back and surprised Cliff. He couldn't believe it. He had about $60 worth of food, and it would easily be breakfast and lunch the next day. I was thrilled to help such a man worthy of the help, and to use my skills and resources(if you will) to repay the previous gestures. He didn't know how to thank me, and I told him he need not worry. I didn't want to stay with him, and have him feel he needed to thank me or share or something. I let him enjoy his meal, and walked away, chuffed to have my shoes back.
After an hour of wandering, and a few bummed cigarettes in attempt of finding a place to stay, I resorted to returning to the hostel, something I did not at all want.
I checked in and went to bed right away. I was half tipsy, and passed out without a chance. Even with the dude snoring like a fireworks show, I was out.
All in all, a good day in DC.