24 August 2018

A Visit to Trumpistan: 12 Days in Washington DC and New York City

Last April, my husband and I headed to the United States for a little trip. It's the first time I would be heading to the USA while Donald Trump is in power. And given what we have been reading in the news, it feels like I should expect a totally foreign country this time around.

See, we were there for family reasons. My sister got married, and was throwing a party. So we showed up. That was in New York City. However, we also decided to visit some friends, so we decided that we would also visit Washington DC beforehand. So in the end, we were scheduled to stay for 5 nights in Washington DC, then take the train to New York City, where we would spend another 5 nights, before heading back to Berlin.

The way there was quite intense, actually. We were booked in Brussels Airlines, and had an early flight to Brussels. That was uneventful, but things started to get worrisome while connecting in Brussels. The immigration was super slow, and there were several queues that we had to go through, and if not for cutting the queue, we would have not made our flight. In any case, we made it, and thankfully our bags also did. Eight hours later, we touched down in Dulles International Airport, and our friend picked us up. We were actually staying in Reston, a suburb of Washington DC in northern Virginia.

Our 5-day stay with our friend and their family was interesting, and hectic too, given that they had 3 boys, ages 10, 7, and 5. During the weekend, we actually headed to Shenandoah National Park and drove around, in addition to visiting Luray Caverns which was nearby. After that, we had three full days exploring Washington DC and Alexandria: my husband hasn't been to Washington DC before so it was a great opportunity for him. I actually have spent a full week in Washington DC back in 2007, but it was nevertheless interesting to see other parts of the city that I haven't been to yet.

After 5 days, we headed to Union Station and took the train to New York City. As I have been to New York City several times in the past, I didn't really do sightseeing. Instead, I spent my time hanging out with friends. My sister and I have plenty of common friends, so we took almost every opportunity in the city to hang out as we don't really live nearby. There was just one place I visited which was new, the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. The other places I went to were all repeats, which was more just a backdrop to me meeting friends.

Oh, I also caught a cold. So there was one day I was just in the hotel in New York City. I really didn't feel like going out.

I must say, however, that while sight-seeing wasn't a major component of this visit, food definitely was. My husband and I were very much amazed at the variety of good food that we had while we were in Washington DC and New York City. Especially wonderful was the southern American cuisine which we pursued several times on the road. I believe this was the first time I actually tasted alligator meat.

And yes, I took the opportunity to attend some cultural events: I saw the LA Philharmonic in Lincoln Centre, and I also watched a play in 59E59 Theatres.

Overall, it was an interesting trip. It wasn't my best trip, but I must say I still had fun. I didn't get to see Trump (not that I wanted to), nor did I bump into his fanbase, but I suppose that's more a good thing than not. We'll see when I'd be back in the USA.

Of course, there are pictures. Stay tuned, they will follow.

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