smittenbyu: (Default)
The DC metro, the public transit system, of the nation's capital, of a nation that is acclaimed to be the most powerful in the world, sucks. Absolutely. It's sad. They have to fight constantly to keep and get their funding. They have been begging and asking since 2008. Warning that trains are getting old and people will see its ill-effects by 2012 if nothing is done. Sure, enough, we see them. They did finally get some funding through TARP and other means to repair some stuff. Some long-overdue messed up escalators are finally getting fixed and hope to be actually working...soon! 

The new line that's to go to the Dulles International airport will at some point be over once the Loudon county keeps its word. Apparently some newly elected Republicans think it's a waste of money. 

And they are constantly raising fares. I haven't commuted in the last two years on a daily basis. Every time I do go the fare has gone up! I have no qualms of increased fares but I also expect the service to improve. 

The boards can be a little confusing and tourists, oh goodness, tourists cannot read. And everybody expects the metro to be the same as the NYC subway system!

This morning I got off at the Smithsonian metro station. To take the elevator out to the street, you run your fare card or smart trip card (which is what I have) to usually get the turnstile to open. Well, because this station gets so many visitors, they left the turnstiles open - because it CONSTANTLY breaks down. So, tourists would just walk through without swiping their fare cards. They don't realize they need to do it and some honestly make the mistake. Some guess think, hah! They got a free ride. 

Well, that also explains the big crowds lining to see the station manager when they are making their return because that fare card won't work. Well, one because the fare card probably was bent beyond recognition in someone's pocket but also because the machine thinks you never left the station, so how could you be getting back in?! And the Smithsonian station continues to have only ONE station manager to deal with not only running of the stations but also the tourists' confusion!!

So, I tried to help. This couple from Russia with a toddler in tow. Oh how cute was the little one. He smiled, said hello to us, while the parents just walked through. I said, they should still pass their fare card through. Well, the wife put one through and the machine swallowed it up. She glared at me! I said, probably the credit in the card was over and asked how much she had put in it. She said she put in for a roundtrip - $2.00. lol... that might have been enough 5 YEARS ago! The one way fare for them would have been $2.10 from where they were coming from! 

And they were asking me if it was counting by the time spent or distance. wow..they didn't read any of the signs. I just shared it's by distance. And for the second card that they didn't run through, they would have to see the station manager on their return. It won't work for them. They chose not to believe me and continued to be upset at me for losing a fare card. ETA: oh..they do think it's the same as NYC, where for $2 you get a ride and you only swipe when you enter and not exit. There it doesn't matter if you go past 10 stations or just 2, it's a flat rate. But not in DC. They really didn't look up at the signboard where there's an exhaustive list of fares depending on the time you are riding the metro and to the stations you are going to!

ah well...I tried ...miserably. It turned out to be a beautiful day though. Went to the Air & Space Museum with another mom and kid. D loved it!  
smittenbyu: (Default)
It's a hot day! We witnessed over a dozen policemen/women take down some guy who was resisting arrest and needed to be literally carried and shoved into a van that looked like something that caged animals in the heart of Georgetown. And I guess it's only in Georgetown where you could get a dozen cops to respond in a matter of minutes!

And it was a hot day! It was a bit uncomfortable as the temperature rose to nearly 90F. We took our visitors out to Georgetown and checked out the Old Stone House and we were in the garden when we saw all the commotion just twenty feet away. We are still not exactly sure what was going on.

But that's not why it was a beautiful day! Today was a great day for D, so far anyway. She had a wonderful breakfast. Nursed very nicely before we left home. And when we were out she took water nicely (she generally just bites the sippy cup), and had a great lunch and washed it down with BM in a bottle and is taking a nice two hour (so far) nap at home. She was the happiest baby on the block, waving hello to nearly everyone!

I just wanted to record these moments! D is getting better with her eating though. But still no fruit intake. sigh. Her favourite food now is the thepla with any veggie daal. At least she is a healthy girl. She doesn't touch any cakes, chocolate, ice cream, sweet stuff. ah well...

ETA: She woke up from her nap to a quiet apartment and that made her upset! She looked so puzzled as how she got to such a quiet environment and spent an hour either nursing or just being held and crying all of a sudden! N had taken the guests out for some more sightseeing while she napped at home!

She was back to her normal happy self when they got back and we went out for dinner. She enjoyed channa-bhattura and wanted to talk to everyone at the restaurant! Got home and she was out in 10 minutes!! what a breeze!

I am completely dreading Monday where there will be no grandma (she left day before yesterday), no grand-uncle & grand-aunt (the visitors) and N - who will be at office! Even in normal circumstances she has the Monday blues. sigh.

But it was a wonderful day!
smittenbyu: (distraught)
A long long time ago, after a visit to Hyderabad I had observed how they needed a traffic policeman/woman standing under the working traffic light to direct traffic flow. I had never seen that anywhere else until now. The nation's capital needs such traffic police during rush hours. You will find frustrated traffic cops standing at the middle of the intersection directing traffic as the light turns red/green. One might think how effective can they be? Oh one look (glare, really) from the traffic cop will bring any bus, car, bike to a dead stop. You don't mess with the cops here! ;)

Which also brings back to the frustration that the drivers in DC are just plain rude and impatient. So many cars honk. Often times unnecessarily. As the car awaits for the pedestrian to cross before they turn right while the light is green for the pedestrian, the car behind (usually a cab driver) will honk at the car!! grrr... There are different types of drivers in DC leading up to the reason for the horrendous driving:

  • First group are the DC-ers who have put themselves on a pedestal and self-proclaimed important people and own the road. After all the residents are taxed without much representation in Congress. Humility is not seen as a virtue in this city. And their driving is reflected in this attitude.

  • Then there are those who just are tired of the whole city coming to a standstill when the President wants to go grab a burger at Five Guys or some Chili at the famous Ben's Chili Bowl. Although, I doubt he goes on these trips as often as people think he does (after all that Chili run was back in Jan and the burger was back in May). But usually that's the first reason people think of when there's a traffic jam.

  • Then there are the tourists who get lost in the maze of one-ways in the city and are terrified of getting lost in the city's "ghettos". DC has just recently come out of their reputation of having the most number of crimes in the country.

  • Then there are the locals who are annoyed at the tourists navigating the roads and the pedestrians who think the light is forever-green for them to cross at whatever and whichever intersection.

  • Then there are the drivers who get stuck behind a car cruising at walking speed looking for parking!


These are just some of the reasons N & I don't drive into DC. We even advice our visiting friends not to. But many just ignore our advice and usually remark something to the effect of "we have driven in India, this is no big deal" or "we are in the US it can never get that bad except for maybe NYC and LA" kind of talk. Afterall DC is not that big. No, it's not that big but we do get a ton of visitors every day! Ah well, they learn the hard way!

And these days the Metro has been no better. On Saturday I spent nearly 3.5 hours of the day time on the metro commuting! It should have been an hour and half total for the commute, even on a weekend! sigh....
smittenbyu: (Default)
Washington D.C. residents are taxpayers but they have no representation like other citizens in the country do in the Senate and in the House of Reps. oh wait ...they do... Technically all senators and House Reps not only are to represent their constituencies but also District of Columbia. And in the recent stimulus package one of the many things that the Republicans picked on was renovation works needed to be done to the National Mall. Some places that the world comes to see as the capital of the "most powerful country in the world" looks pathetic. I am glad that they did receive some funds to fix up the place. And they didn't get funds to put up signs of the many monuments people are visiting. ah well, who cares if the foreigners think that they are looking at just another Obelisk when it's the Washington Monument in memory of George Washington. We will just make do...

As for voting rights, the bill did make it through the Senate last month... all voted for it except one... that 1 was Senator McCain. hmmm.... bitter are we? The House is bouncing about with it. Lets see what happens with it.
smittenbyu: (Default)
On Sunday, we headed to the Mall, where we got tickets (free) to go up the Washington National Monument. Some of the pictures are here. It was amazing to see how much the leaves have fallen within two and half weeks! But what caught my eyes were spots of trees with bright red leaves. They were beautiful! These pictures are through the thick windows above and not too clear!

spots of red trees

The other cool thing was on the way down in the elevator, they slow down a bit to show the many memorial stones that were used in building the memorial. Memorial stones recognized the many entities and individuals from around the country & the world who donated funds to help build the monument. The cool thing was that elevator windows turn from solid white to transparent glass! It was cool!! ;)

After then we headed to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. It was cool. We barely got through the lobby area! Cousin spent a lot of time in the gift shop! Definitely a place to go back to and spend a day!! It has a planetarium. A place I truly enjoy!
smittenbyu: (Default)
What a wonderful weekend that was! Our first thanksgiving together - hubby's & mine! I was amongst other things grateful for wonderful warm weather on the Wednesday & the day of Thanksgiving! I was actually wearing sleeveless top! ;) It was a wonderful gift from Mother Earth! Very kind!

I was also very thankful for the invitation given by N's friend to join him & his family for thanksgiving lunch. Friend's mother is a professor at a university here and she invited several of her grad students as well. We went expecting to join a traditional American family lunch, instead spent the afternoon with Americans, Africans, Peruvian, and Japanese! We had a wonderful time learning more about Cameron, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Peru. The Japanese wasn't in a very social mood. Learnt about some of their research areas and are all quite intriguing. It took me back to my own student days not too long ago!

Dinner we spent with an Indian friend's house. He prepared wonderful yummy pav bhaji, one of my favourite dishes that I savour every time I am in Mumbai! But I was really full from late lunch we had and so couldn't truly enjoy the feast that his friend prepared! :( We watched a movie together on his large flat screen and had a quiet and good conversation about life in general.

Friday after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, we headed out to catch some good deals on winter clothes as I had really none, except for the few items we bought last month! We spent nearly four hours in the retail store, and enjoyed the early-bird-specials in the nick of time, thanks to N's good memory for the prices that were before the end of the sale, and the wonderful cashier who was willing to overlook the passing of the deadline. We could have gone at 4am when the stores opened, but really I just couldn't get myself to jump in into the world of consumerism that way.

It's really horrible. I feel sad when I look at the employees who look like they could just scream or crash into a deep slumber if you handed them a pillow and some space to lie down. Why do we do this to ourselves? Fine, they probably get paid more for that day. But they see the ugliest side of consumerism in the matter of few hours. I wonder how they handle it. My friend later did say though that if you know exactly what items you are looking for then going at 4am makes it worth it as the queues for the cashier in the first one hour wouldn't be long yet. But if you are there to browse then expect hours of wait.

Anyhow, we got home in the evening exhausted. It was also that time of the month and it drained me. But hey! I got a whole new wardrobe!! We won't be going on another spree like that for some time!!! I have never spent that much in one shot before! oof...but we got the stuff we really needed. Saturday was spent looking for a blender/food processor! We got a wonderful deal, plus we made use of a friend's generosity who gifted us with a gift card at one of the stores! Of course, the item is still sitting in the car boot! :P

Oh the highlight of the day, our apartment is now officially fully furnished!! Wednesday, N and his friend headed to IKEA to get the futon mattress that was out of stock for quite some time to finish up the final major purchase! We assembled it on Saturday afternoon and hubby took me on a wonderful date at our new couch with dinner & wine and beautiful dance-able music!

Somewhere in the day we headed to one of the high-end grocery store to get some potatoes, as the place was right there. We ended up with many more things. And our freezer is now stocked up for the winter! Yes, that's all frozen veggies, cheese-jalapenos poppers (yum!) & ice cream!!

equipped for Winter

Sunday was R&R time. We lazed around in bed till mid morning, late lunch, talk, relax, read, bum..... and as Monday comes around, it's back to reality and back to work....

I hope I will be inaugurating the blender/food processor soon to make some coconut chutney to go with dosas soon....as hubby made a bet with me that I will make dosas (from scratch, not the dosa mix) if the laptop which will return today will come fixed and if not he will make me pesarattu (dosa made with moong dal). I much prefer plain/masala dosas and I much prefer my working laptop than continuing what seems like the neverending saga!
smittenbyu: (fun fun)
I am still here. Still alive and kicking! Been enjoying hubby time...a lot! ^_^ After a long absence it was wonderful to have him back! Now am having withdrawal symptoms as he heads back to office! Can't wait for the upcoming thanksgiving break.

This past Saturday the both of us headed to the DC Wizards basketball game against Portland trailblazers! What fun it was! We got tickets from one of his higher ups who couldn't make it to the game and got some good seats to watch the game! The last time I was at a basketball game was back in college when HPU played BYU-Hawaii!

The game game

Some half time entertainment was amazing!

trampoline wizards 

Alright am off to the gym to warm up these muscles and get the moving a bit!
smittenbyu: (fun fun)
One of the things I was looking forward to about four seasons was seeing fall/autumn* with N. I was looking forward to the walks in the park with leaves in all shades of reds & oranges. It really would be my first time to see the leaves change colours. Rome winter was cold for us back then but it wasn't cold enough for the leaves to shed. Or maybe they did and I just don't remember.

Alas, with me, the warmth came to Arlington/Dc and fall came late in Arlington/DC. A tree here and a tree there changed its colours but most looked like evergreens I have been seeing back in KL**.

And finally with a week of cold cold weather the trees are finally on track. And it seems I just might get to see it with N after all! Currently the view from the window is a sea of trees in shades of greens, yellows, and reds...it's gorgeous..


Fall is here!

* what is the difference?
** I need to get out of the habit of abbreviated Kuala Lumpur. sigh. But it feels so strange saying it all out.



On Saturday, for Veteran's Day weekend I headed to the National Mall to watch the Vietnam War veterans walk in a parade. It also marked the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. I bundled up and prepared for the cold. It was wavering somewhere in the late 30s (around 5C). Caught some bands preparing and warming up before the start of the parade.

practice run 

The sun

Nov. 6th, 2007 06:05 pm
smittenbyu: (Default)
I started cooking dinner when the sun decided to head down the horizon. I cut the vegetables and put in the spices and put in the rice. Did the dishes, and cleaned the kitchen counters! I sit down at the TV, my stomach starting to rumble. The aromas fill the apartment and maybe even out the corridor. I am ready for some primetime TV. 

And look... it's only 6pm!!!! what in the world?! It felt like 8pm! sigh........ it's going to be a long winter for a girl who loves her a bit of sun! le sigh....

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