11 May 2009

Travel developments

A quick recap of what I've been up to:
  • I visited the Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church, and met with my contact there, Alexandra Beninda. We had a great time talking about various LGBT and other issues, including some of my insights from my Asian sojourn. We were also joined by other great LGBT activists of the church, and we ended up having the weekly lunch at Freddie's in Crystal City. Freddie's is northern Virginia's only LGBT hangout (partly because the great hangouts over at Dupont Circle in DC are so accessible), and I'll be returning there for its weekly karaoke night with Alexandra and the party.
  • Did some shopping. More tunics to play with (though this time, most of my tunics are T-shirts).
  • I spent Sunday afternoon driving up to central New Jersey to visit a relative and have dinner. Due to traffic, toll booths, and slower speed limits, my drive took four hours each way, rather than 3 1/2 hours I'd expect for a similar drive in California and Nevada. I did not start the return trip south until after midnight, and I made it back to Virginia barely in time to beat the Beltway rush hour. (I was so drowsy, I was even more of a road hazard than a drunk would've been.) At least I was glad that my rental car has a built-in E-ZPass, which allows me to breeze through toll plazas; I'll be billed when I return the car, and if I would rather pay cash, I can keep the E-ZPass inside its windshield metal box and therefore deactivate it.
  • I am cancelling my planned trip to Philadelphia because of the traffic issues I encountered during the New Jersey drive. To make up for it, however, I did a museum tour within DC. It was nice to see some Kwan Yins stateside (even the fabled Eleven-Faced variety) and lots more fine art. I also visited the Air and Space Museum - for the third time - and ended up seeing some flight attendant exhibits that are of big relevance to my novel. (In fact, I ended up buying two pictorial books about flight attendants.)
  • I met my Democracy Cell Project contacts, Karen Bradley and Richard Bell. It was nice to join them again - and talk about all the great people of our group (many of whom I met in previous travels). We had dinner at their favorite restaurant, Hawk & Dove, located just southeast of the Capitol. A Buddhist-themed meditation session followed. More opportunities to talk about current events and politics - and to share my findings from South Korea and Hong Kong. I may see them again before I leave the area.
Hoping for a good time for the rest of my stay. Photos will upload whenever I can find the time. I am hoping to carry the good spirits back to my everyday life in Los Angeles, into my Toronto long weekend, and well beyond. (My next travel project after Toronto, and San Francisco Pride, will most likely be a long drive to Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park.)