Amtrekking, Day 4: D.C. to Manhattan and Everything in Between

The last 24 hours have been an absolute whirlwind, which is why I haven’t posted anything during that time. In brief…

Arrived in Washington DC on Friday afternoon. Train was late arriving, so I didn’t get to see half of what I wanted to, but I did feast my eyes on the Washington Union Station (an architectural masterpiece created by Daniel Burnham), the Library of Congress, the US Supreme Court and, of course, the White House, which blew my mind. “Obama is in there right now,” I thought to myself, over and over, contemplating the likely response time of the secret service and the potential leniency of the judge if I insisted that I just wanted one solid punch.

Boarded the third train of my journey, which was completely different from the first two, though I’ve since learned it’s a pretty common type of train in the Northeast. If nothing else, it was weird to be on it for only two hours, which figures, because of course THIS time I was seated next to the gorgeous South African girl with the Sexiest Accent Ever. Then again, my ardor waned somewhat when she told me the thing she was most excited about in New York was shopping at TJ Maxx.

After arrival, checked into the cheapest hotel I could find in downtown Philadelphia (inexplicably NOT sunny, despite everything TV has taught me). I’ll see more of this city on Sunday; for the time being I was late for a dinner engagement and the hotel shower didn’t seem to have a setting other than “third degree burn.” I had to call the front desk so the clerk could demonstrate the borderline arcane method for adjusting the temperature. I’m already loving how much I’m paying for this stupid room.

Dinner and drinks at a place called Varga with my friend Natasha, who I was meeting in person for the first time. We talked for hours on end and racked up a considerable bar tab. She is a really amazing person and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her and her husband on Sunday.

Stumbled back to my room and into bed. Bed! Glorious bed! Here’s one great thing about the train: you stop taking mattresses for granted.

Woke up late and fought with the front desk for a while about the cost (and, as it turns out, the availability) of the second night’s lodging. In the end we settled on a much lower price than they originally wanted in exchange for me not having a working bathroom. Compromise is good.

Stormed out of the hotel and went to find coffee, and food, but mostly coffee. A nearby place called Cosi gave me that much, along with a really awesome flat bread sandwich. I’m not leaving this city without eating a cheesesteak, but there’s still time.

Bought a surprisingly cheap ticket for the train to Trenton, NJ. Left the station to walk around for a bit before the train arrived and found myself in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Interesting place full of seafood smells, gold building decorations and beautiful women. Best part was a sign covered in Mandarin lettering except for the single word, “iPhone.”

Took the SEPTA train to Trenton (all the while wondering when a prim lady would scold me on my table manners; that one’s for you, George R. R. Martin fans). Coming into Trenton, saw a bridge marked by huge letters: TRENTON MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES. Stay classy, New Jersey.

Boarded yet another train, on which I am currently riding. Next stop: New York Motherfucking City. Let’s do this.

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