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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My First Conference Blog 2 0f 5

WARNING! Moments of Country Mouse in the City ahead. No laughing at my expense allowed.





Day two dawned bright and sunny. My writers’ group was unable to get the White House Tour, so I decided to do something even more exciting. My all time favourite painting in the world is Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. And it was just down the road from where I was staying. With a free subway pass in hand, I hopped the Metro and trotted up to the small gallery called The Phillips House.
It was closed til 9, forty-five minutes from there. I decided to walk around the neighbourhood, admiring the variety of old money townhouses and embassies, not realizing until then that my knowledge of foreign flags was sadly lacking. But it was cool just the same.
Needing to practice my schmoozing, I started up a conversation with a young gal who was also waiting for the gallery to open. She was a British art student, splitting her time between DC and London and who was as friendly and charming as I knew the British could be. But too soon the gallery opened and I flew in, preparing myself to finally view the Luncheon of the Boating Party.
It was there, all right, its own lighting, bench and room. Gorgeous. I can tell you honestly that the postcard, prints and such don’t do the colours justice. And big, one of the biggest paintings I’d ever seen. A coup for the Phillips Collection, indeed. I’d finally completed a life long dream.
It was on to the next one. A wander around the Smithsonian. It even had its own Metro stop.
Speaking of the Metro, it’s hot down there. And the escalators were the longest I’d even seen. I took a picture of them, being the country mouse I am. But the trains are clean, and everyone appears to behave themselves. Or maybe they were on edge because of a recent train collision on their red line.
I exited the Metro at my stop, and found myself on the Mall. Okay, it’s not the mall I visit back up in Canada, and the lawn was being reworked, but how many malls have you been to that have an Egyptian obelisk named for George Washington, at one end, and the Capitol building at the other? Why, not even the Champlain Mall in Moncton can boast that much.
Pictures were in order. I didn’t see the reflecting pool, and still don’t know where it is, in relation to where I was, but pics were still needed. And after the appropriate snaps, I was off. Smithsonian forgotten, I wanted to see the White House. And according to my map, it wasn’t far away.
I pity the poor cops on Pennsylvania Avenue duty. Standing in the middle of the barricaded section of street. One bicycle cop was checking his email on his smart phone. I still got a couple of good photos, despite the tourists, cops and cement barricades. Enough to say I was there.
With tummy rumbling and guessing that the hotel food would be expensive, I noticed a Subway restaurant icon on my map. I was off down the street to the Ronald Reagan building for lunch. I figured I arrived at his airport, so I may as well eat at his building. Then I could tell everyone I had lunch on Penn Ave. It ended up being a wrap from Great Wraps, but who needs to know that?

Tune in Tomorrow for my official start to the conference.

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