Borrowing from Tolkien, I am glad to say that I am back home after an uneventful trip. That is, the travelling was uneventful, but it's not at all true for the sojourn in Washington DC. I was very busy all the time, so I didn't really have the time & energy to post. Right now, I have a bit of time, but energy is fading quickly. But of course, I am very glad to return to a country which has made the right decision for a change ...
Lufthansa is an ok carrier, although it lacks a bit the fin de siècle, Titanic-style mood of Swiss - you judge for yourself whether that's a good thing or not. Unfortunately, Flynet was kaputt on the way back. Otherwise you would have been able to read a mile high post. Too bad. In exchange, I had a really good night's sleep, which is probably to no small extent due to the massage device built into those seats - splendid! Also, I had really interesting seat neighbours on both ways.
Having all those meetings during the short time I was there means that I couldn't possibly get a comprehensive impression of the place. I was totally blown away though by the extensive email guide that I received from Kirk - thank you so much! I did try to do as much of it as possible, but there simply wasn't enough time. Well, there's always a next time - perhaps? My very general first impression of the city is so - so, though. The place clearly carries a government stamp with a large part of its population being bureaucrats or diplomats. Power & its continued struggles is also quite thick in the air without really being moderated by much cultural or intellectual refinement. The operative term that comes to mind is bland, but not without a certain French-inspired pomp (I am talking about the monuments). I wonder who would be more insulted if I compared Washington to Paris? Mind you, I don't! More later ... probably much later. Over & out.
There & back again
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Bland is probably a good word to describe DC (since I'm not a native and actually live just outside of DC, I suppose I can get away with saying that). Aside from the Mall and perhaps some of the neighborhoods, much of official DC is a bit sterile and there's a fair amount of conformity of dress, style, architecture, etc. Things have gotten much worse since 9/11, as much "public" space is now surrounded by fences and concrete barriers. The comparison to Paris is understandable since DC was designed by a Frenchman (a fact that is seldom acknowledged these days!), but of course there is really no comparison. There are plenty of good things about DC, but they're not as apparent as in New York or other great cities.
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