Day 4 – Washington DC
March 29, 2014

It has warmed up considerably in DC. That after yesterday broke the all-time record for the coldest temperature ever recorded on 27 March in Washington – 15 F – the previous record was 17 F.  Today though it rose to 60 F (or around 20 C).  Might more pleasant even though it was overcast. Not that it mattered to me because I had meetings starting at 8am through to 5:30pm. It started with breakfast with the Dutch followed by a 4-hour meeting on professionalism, lunch with the Americans and then another 3.5 hours of presentations/discussions.  Not my idea of a fun day.

Michael decided to go to Pentagon City because that was where the Bose store he wanted to go to was located.  Helen and Chloe had breakfast with one of the other wives from SA who is also here and then also headed to Pentagon City for some shopping. I got the updates via cellphone messages from the credit card purchases.  michael renamedMichael managed to get himself renamed at Starbucks (see photo). You get the SA accent thrown in there if you say it phonetically. Michael also managed to have the a-typical American conversation with a random lady that went like this:
“Where you from?”
“South Africa”
“Oh – Africa – I have a friend who lives in Botswana – do you know her”
I have had that sort of conversation in the past as well and I reply:
“No, but I have a friend who lives in Canada, surely you must know them”

They got back after lunch and I guess they just loafed in the hotel room this afternoon. On the other hand we were listening to the Commissioner of Social Security talking to us.  The Social Security Administration pays out over $700bn a year (yes you read that correctly). To put that in perspective, the GDP of South Africa is $400bn so this means their Social Security system is almost double the size of the SA economy! That makes the Commissioner a lot more important to the world economy than anyone in SA.  I understand who the photographer seemed so much in awe of her.  The French guy who was fast asleep while she was talking didn’t seem very impressed though.

beerWe decided to just have dinner locally (read across the road) this evening. Nothing special.  But I was impressed with the beer that I ordered though. It was called Pabst Blue Ribbon but what was really impressive was that it was selected as ‘America’s finest in 1863’ (see photo, bottom line). It hasn’t won anything since then.

We went for a walk after dinner but Helen turned back due to sore feet from other walking. Michael, Chloe and I did a tour of the neighboring suburb though.  Some really nice houses. Michael googled and we discovered the prices started at about $4m. Not particularly big properties (maybe a quarter of an acre) but really nice looking houses. What was surprising was that most of them only had a single garage and the cars parked out of front were Toyota, Kia, Chrysler etc – no luxury cars or only very few. I guess all the money went into the house.

On the way back we stopped in at Baskin Robbin’s for a quick ice cream and then back to the hotel (yes we got one for Helen too). Early to bed so that we can wake up early again …

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