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First Day in DC: Asian Spice and Chemists

Landing Plane

Sunday afternoon I traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet up with my summer research students. They are presenting a poster at the American Chemical Society’s Fall Meeting, covering their fifteen months of undergraduate research efforts at their school, Texas Lutheran University. I get to go along and snicker make snide comments assist in my own inimitable way, as their research adviser. They do the work, I have the fun; I could get addicted to this research stuff! We met at Reagan National Airport, as we were all coming from different directions and arriving about the same time. We hopped on the Metro and went out to our hotel.

This is where the fun took a momentary holiday, far away from us.

On the map, the Comfort Inn Largo (FedEx Field) is only a short walk from Morgan Boulevard Station. I’m sure it said somewhere that there’s a shuttle available from the Metro to the hotel, but we weren’t ready for that information just yet. Oh no, first we had to learn about how far a quarter mile is in Washington. This we did by walking it. Turns out, it’s much closer to two miles than a quarter mile. With bags trailing along behind us. At least I had wheels on all my travel stuff; the yoongsters got to carry all their plunder.

The weather was fine, with a slight breeze. Only about ninety, some afternoon sunshine. Plenty of humidity to make up for all that, though. We were drenched by the time we reached our destination. There’s plenty of fast food in the immediate vicinity, and a few restaurants nearby. Of course, when we checked in we found out that there’s a shuttle service, 7-10 AM and 5-9 PM. Oh well. So we got ready, went out on the shuttle (more on that later) and visited Chinatown for the evening.

Today we got up in time for the Continental breakfast at the hotel, then got ready for the afternoon’s entertainment: Presentation of the poster at the Washington Convention Center. We rode the shuttle over to the train station, and boy was that a fast trip! Our driver, Ahn, is trying out for NASCAR or something. I suspect he’s changed his name to Ahn J. Foyt or something. He had that van running faster than granny’s stockings. I was hoping the evening before had been a fluke; but no, this was the “standard” mode for the shuttle. Overdrive!

Asian Spice

We had a bit of time to kill, and lunch to forage for. I called my sister-in-law, who’s also presenting at the conference, and we went to lunch. Just a couple blocks south of the convention center is an area of eateries in Chinatown, and we found a good one right away: Asian Spice. This place has a bar, a sushi bar, and lots of eating places on a couple of floors. The menu shows an eclectic mix of Asian dishes, from Thai and Chinese to Indian, Korean and Malay. I had an excellent Thai Green Curry, and we all shared Teriyaki Chicken appetizer. Service was great and the prices were reasonable. I’ll go back there on my next trip to D.C. for sure!

After lunch we headed north to the convention center and got ready for the bloodletting row and ruckus genteel undergraduate poster session. Setting up, then attending the poster, ate all afternoon. a nice crowd showed up, and there was a lot of neat stuff presented. Soft drinks and freshly made popcorn were served, which added a bit of a carnival flair to the proceedings. The only sad thing was, the popcorn cart was a long way away from our poster! I thought about hijacking one of the carts and moving it down near us, as I’d noticed that the crowd was thickest near the food. (No surprise there, eh?) I restrained myself, though; there were plenty of visitors to our little corner of paradise.

That evening we caught the train back to Morgan Station, risked another ride on the infamous shuttle, and got out of our good duds. We walked across the street to Jerry’s Subs and Pizza for dinner. Surprisingly, there were hardly any sub sandwiches on the menu! Lots of Philly Cheesesteak variations, though, and some great looking burgers. I had an Ultimate Burger, the fellas split a large cheese pizza, and life was good…

Enjoy the (Sticky Capital) Heat!


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