Saturday, January 24, 2009

John & Jen's Excellent Washington Adventure

In November I was notified I'd been selected to be a member of the Government Affairs Committee of my industry association. Pretty cool for me from both a business perspective and personal interest angle. Later that month I was told that duie to the impending change in administrations, they had decided to move the meeting from May to January and from Chicago to the Washington DC offices! Woo hoo. Unfortunately, plane fares and the meeting schedule prohibited me from combining it with witnessing the inauguration, nonetheless I was quite excited. To make matters even better, Jen had never been to DC so we decided to make a small vacation out of it and she came along. My Mom & Dad agreed to come visit and watch Liam for us, giving us our very first opportunity to ever spend this much time together alone as a couple...but that is another story all in itself. So here we are, enjoying the wonder, splendor, bustle and hustle (and incredibly cold winds) of our nations Capitol.
We arrived on Thursday late in the afternoon and as the plane flew into Reagan National, we could see all the signs of the inauguration on the mall. It was clear and sunny, so we could easily see the landmarks and people working below. The jumbotron's were being taken down, temporary barriers were still everywhere but being disassembled and the ground bore all th emarks of being underfoot to a massive crowd. We took the Metro to our hotel, which is right next to George Washington University in Foggy Bottom. We fumbled a bit with the fare cards and felt a little like country bumpkins, but everyone we met was very nice and patient with us. After a short rest we headed down Pennsylvania Avenue where we met my old college roommate Beedo, his partner Chris, and some of their friends for dinner at a new Washington hot spot, Founding Farmers. The restaurant is owned by a farming cooperative and all the food is fresh, organic, and local (although local was never defined). It also is Washington's first LEED restaurant and is certified as a green restaurant. Coming from Missoula, where just about every business is either green or in the process of going green, it was a little refreshing to feel one step ahead of the city slickers. I gigled inside thinking about how all the crunchie chewy Missoulians would feel about a green restaurant that charged $20 for organic mac & cheese and fried chicken. Then I thought to myself I was being a little snobbish in the opposite direction and got back to enjoying the evening. Beedo brought a workmate who had just gotten back from the Galapagos Islands and she had loads of photos. She was super nice and interesting and turned out to be quite the traveler having also been to Africa and getting ready to head of to Cuba. We also met his neighbor, who works for customs and is just a riot. Chris and Beedo have been together for almost 14 years but this was the first time we'd met and I must say it was like I'd known him for a long time. He was great and had a big laugh, something a loud laugher like me really appreciates. It was a really wonderful evening that ended too soon.
I'll post about Friday tomorrow.
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