By that afternoon, we were on a train to D.C. I made the mistake of telling a nasally, hippopotamus-shaped woman sitting next to us where we'd be staying. Turns out she too was staying at the D.C. youth hostel. When we got off the train, she asked how we were getting there. "We're walking," I said. "Can I walk with you?" she asked. "It's over a mile a way," I told her. She looked hesitant. She was weighing which was worse, physical exertion or loneliness. She decided to give exertion a try. It only took a couple of blocks for her to start whining about her knees, and one more block for my husband to start carrying her suitcase in addition to his. When we stopped at intersections, she panted heavily and squinted intensely at me from under her fleece-lined, ear-flapped hat. The hat made her look like the fat kid no one likes in elementary school. "This is too far to walk," she said. "I dunno. I walk several miles every day, so it doesn't bother me," I said facetiously. "That's why you're skinny as a horse," she sneered. Halfway to the hostel, we passed a beautiful synagogue. I commented on it, and she said, "Yeah, it's pretty. Do you have a preferred religion?" I told her that I have no preferred religion, but that if I were to choose one, it would probably be anything but Christianity. She gave me a condescending look and said, "Well I believe in salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ." Conversation was over. I ignored her for the rest of the walk.
Later that day and the next morning, my husband and I walked to all the famous sites in D.C., and took pictures of Orange Clouds's Brett Doll in front of them:
Then it was back on Amtrack to head to New York. We arrived at Penn Station during evening rush hour, and it seemed so surreal to me. The reason why is that until this moment, my brain believed incredibly dense crowds could only be composed of Asian people. This is because my only prior experiences with such dense crowds were in Bangkok, Chengdu, and Seoul, where the density came with a din of languages I could barely understand. Now here I was, surrounded by an overwhelming amount of people, speaking MY LANGUAGE. A New York Giants game was going on that night, and obnoxious groups of men on the sidewalks were bellowing out predictions of who would win. I felt like I was in an alternate universe.