More from Washington

sunrise over washington2 more days of conference to go. Not sure I am going to make it. Someone rescue me. Today started with a session that the first speaker was introduced from Turkey and we were told it was her first ever presentation. Unfortunately I could tell. Then it was followed by a presentation that promised to be interesting but after about 7 minutes she said she was finished and sat down.  I thought she was just doing the introduction still. Then the next session involved three of our competitors talking about nothing for an hour and half. Seriously … someone put me out of my misery!

Fortunately it was only a half day of conference today. The afternoon was off to do some sightseeing and the weather was good as you can see from the sunrise photo from our hotel room. Michael and I did the Old Town Trolley tour.  It takes you past all the sights of Washington (and you can jump on and off at various stops but we didn’t – we just sat and enjoyed the ride).

WW2 memorialWhat strikes me about Washington is there are a lot of monuments, a lot of memorials from the various wars Americans have fought and died in, a lot of museums, a lot of government departments. I reckon no one does anything else here but work in one of those places (or in a hotel or restaurant). I don’t think I have actually seen an office building except the government ones.  All of the museums, monuments, government buildings are very impressive and a lot of thought clearly has gone into the building and positioning of them.  Nothing haphazard. For instance, the statue on top of the Capitol Building is called Lady Freedom. Freedom faces east so that ‘the sun never sets on Freedom’. The WW II memorial has 4000 gold stars which represent the 400 000 Americans who lost their lives in WWII.  The whole city (or at least the Mall) are like that. Quite impressed by the planning of it especially since a lot of this was laid out in the 1800s. The other thing I found out for the first time today was that every 4 years they paint either a blue or red line (representing Democratic or Republican) down the whole of Pennsylvania Avenue from the place where the President is inaugurated (Capitol Hill) to his (there have been no her’s yet) residence (the White House). The blue was wearing thin already even though there are a few more years to go for Obama.

falloutThe round trip took just under 2 hours and really gave us a good perspective of the city and it’s layout. But we were reminded about how paranoid (or maybe it is organised) Americans are. While waiting to catch the trolley tour we were standing next to the Department of Agriculture building and on the side of the building was the plaque on the left. Never seen that in any other major city in the world. At least we know where to go if someone drops a nuclear bomb in Washington DC over the next few days (oops .. that’s probably got the FBI/CIA/Department of Homeland Security all watching me electronically now).

You might be asking what H&C are up to.  Only thing I know is that we just kept getting photos of various things that Helen either thinks we should be buying (and we shouldn’t) or she thinks are very funny (like the range of Martha Stewart pet clothes). She seems to be enjoying herself much more than I am at the conference.

Tonight I had a client dinner.  We invited our clients from South Africa and the UK to join us for dinner at a restaurant in DC. It was a very popular restaurant and so we could only get access to the private dining area at 8:30pm and so it was a late dinner.  I only just got back to the hotel at just before midnight (#longday). Our SA marketing people booked the restaurant. It was a Greek/Lebanese restaurant called Zaytinya (www.zayinya.com).  No American items not even the wine.  Only Greek, Lebanese and Israeli wines on the list. I went with Lebanese. The red wine was better than the white but both were quite drinkable. Given it is 12:15am and Michael is already snoring behind me, I reckon it is time for bed!

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