Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hiking Through Washington- A Capital Idea

Hello once again dear readers and armchair hikers and apologies for having been less than diligent in keeping my blog updated as often as I should. Henceforth, I promise things will improve- if only because the number of urban distractions for the remainder of the hike will certainly be far fewer than the number I faced in the Boswash Megalopolis.
But oh what fun distractions are! One of my favorites was being in DC for Halloween- usually a holiday I celebrate with as much zest as National Pickle Relish Day. Through a friend, however, I heard a rumor about the possibility of a group going trick or treating at the various embassies. Having not gone trick or treating since seventh grade, I was a little worried if I still had it in me, but the international relations aspect of it won me over. Though my friend backed out at the last minute, I nevertheless went over to Dupont Circle, where I met some other revelers, who, like me, were wondering where the group was meeting. It took a bit of asking passersby if they had seen a marauding costumed horde in search of embassies, but eventually we caught up with the larger group, and after paying the ghastly fee of $40 had a great time. The $40 actually was more than worth it, as included in the evening was a 3 hour long tour of the neighborhood where the embassies were with lots of interesting stories. As far as the embassies go, we got candy from Romania, the Netherlands, Monaco, Iceland, Portugal, and China. At the Monagasque and Icelandic embassies I even got a chance to chat with the ambassadors for a few minutes. Two other things are also worth mentioning: the junta that runs Myanmar had no candy for us at their embassy, but the protestors across the street gave us candy after leading us in cheers of "Free Burma!" And if that wasn't bizarre enough, the Afghani embassy was closed, but since the organizers had called ahead, there was candy left for us in plastic bags outside the embassy. That's right: our tax dollars which go to prop up the government of Afghanistan against the Taliban are being spent on giving candy to Americans trick or treating at their embassy in Washington. Oh, and if you're wondering what I went as, well, I took my pack and poles and went as a hiker, of course.
One of the other top distractions in the DC area was having the chance to meet with Senators Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Both were keen to hear about my adventures on behalf of Fisher House (more on Fisher House in my next post) and generous with their time. My meeting with Senator Bingaman came about since I am either a second cousin twice removed or third cousin once removed of his wife Anne. They both treated me to a great lunch on Sunday and were eager to hear about my family tree research as well as my hike. And they are also to be thanked, along with everyone who has donated so far, for a very generous contribution to Fisher House.

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