Dragging myself into the airport with my half asleep status was the first and foremost important task to accomplish at the beginning of this trip. With the half hour nap I took earlier, my mind clearly wasn’t functioning as well as usual, but I still made it to the Southwest Airlines counter to meet up with the rest of the group. Everything went pretty smooth until some issue occurred while we were trying to check in. We stayed at the counter for a while, trying to figure out what was going on, and the worst case would be that our flight would be delayed. Fortunately, at last the problem was solved and we were able to board on plane on time. Now off we go...to our first stop of the East Coast
trip - Washington D.C.!
After a good five hours of resting on the plane, we safely arrived at the airport of, not Washington D.C., but the city that I have visited two years ago, Chicago! Although this was a different airport, it still reminded me some of the great moments we had in our Chicago trip (including getting lost on the first day and the trash cans without bins in a windy city - you can probably imagine how that would be like). We took a break there and bought some McDonald’s for lunch, and then off we flew, to D.C.
We finally arrived at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and right when I step foot outside the airport, it felt as if I just entered the desert. This hot, humid weather was killing us as we were trying to make our way to the hotel. We took the airport shuttle to the closest metro station, where we bought our SmarTrip cards and metro fares. We got off the metro train and walked about fifteen minutes to our hotel. Now a fifteen minute walk may not seem tiring, but imagine a group of twelve people dragging their luggage under the beautiful, large and bright sun after long hours of plane rides. On our way to the hotel, we discovered that many crosswalks in D.C. actually have surprisingly long phases of time for pedestrians to cross. For example, many countdown time signals start at 60 seconds prior to turning into a red hand signal. Now as crazy as it sounds, this 60 seconds time phase is actually set for the purpose of allowing pedestrians to cross multiple crosswalks, ranging from crossing two to three crosswalks within this minute.
We finally see Hotel Madera and checked in our rooms. After a while of resting and settling, we headed out to the Mai Thai restaurant near our hotel and had our first meal in D.C. And then of course before we headed back home (in this case, our hotel), CVS is the first must-visit place before we begin our journey of exploration of famous places in D.C. This concludes the first day of our East Coast trip.