Sunday, May 29, 2011

Business Trip

This past week I was in Alexandria, Virginia for a meeting. With the baby coming soon, and still a lot of work to do to be ready for her arrival, my wife told me to have fun because when I get back it’s time to get serious about getting the house ready. So have fun I did...
Prior to checking into our hotel, my coworker and I decided it would be best to find a liquor store.  In Virginia, beer and wine can be bought just about anywhere but liquor is not that easy.  We had GPS and an iPhone and still ultimately needed to ask someone for directions.  After searching the aisles, I opted for a bottle Jack Daniels Honey.

The first night I decided to take a dip in the pool.  Just like the rest of the Hilton Mark Center, the pool is very nice.  It is half indoors and half outdoors.  After getting into the pool, the lifeguard notifies me that the outdoor portion of the pool was closed.  A wooden plank was sprawled across the pool blocking off the deep end.  I waded around for a minute or two then asked why the outdoor portion was closed.  The lifeguard replied that the outdoor portion didn’t pass inspection yet.  Mind you this is all one pool, that I’m in.  I decided not to 
swim very long that night or ever again.

Since swimming wasn’t going to be an option, on day two I decided a jog would be helpful to sweat out some of the alcohol.  Since the hotel is located directly next to a park, I figured that would be my best option.  Before heading over to the park I thought it would be best to ask the concierge if the path in the park was a loop or if it was clearly marked.  Since I was supposed to meet my coworker for dinner I didn’t want to get lost in the city.  I was informed that the park was closed, but was given a google map printout and told of a popular route.  Despite being a little leary of running the streets of a strange city, I decided that with the map I could find a better route than the one suggested.  Veering off the recommended route started off well.  The road was tree lined, shady, and slightly downhill.  Once I reached 
my next turn I realized that this next leg would be along a very busy, non-shady, steeply inclined road.  While huffing my way up this hill I tried to concentrate on not letting the cars passing by see me struggle.  Since I didn't bring any music, the only thing I had going through my head was the realization that it was much hotter than I remembered and this hill, combined with the traffic, was why the hotel didn’t recommend this route.  Well, it turned out that those were more than enough distractions, because I zipped right on by my turn.  Now beyond the limits of my printout, I had to improvise my way back.  It was a nice run, but next time I think I’ll take the recommended route.   
One afternoon it was arranged for the group I was with to receive a tour of the Treasury building.  In case you are not familiar with what the building looks like, it is on the back of the $10 bill.  The building was very fancy (spiral staircases, gold plated fixtures, decorative columns, etc.)  The highlights of the tour included seeing the old cash room, going into a vault, and seeing the Secretary’s office.  We obviously weren't allowed to go into the Secretary’s office, but as we walked by, the door was open and I tried to get a peek.  We were, however, allowed to tour his private meeting room.  This room is now famous for being the room where the meeting with the top bankers occurred at the beginning of the recent financial crisis.

As with all trips, eating was a big part of the trip.  Most of our meals were either at the hotel or at chain restaurants, but for one dinner we went to a local place called Clive’s.  It was nice... after a few Jack and Gingers it was nicer!  For dinner I ate the pan seared salmon special.  I have a rule about eating fish out - unless you can see the ocean or the place has something fish related in the title, don’t order the fish.  I broke the rule, but it worked out this time.  However, I did get nervous when asked how I wanted the pan seared salmon cooked.                    

Well... all things considered the trip went well.  The meeting was relatively beneficial.  The Jack Daniels Honey was smooth and delicious.  But most of all I made it home safe!