DC Trip: Day One
I woke up at 5:30 a.m today to catch US Airways flight# 44 for Washington DC. It had already started raining. I packed everything and made sure that I had not forgotten anything. I thought I hadn’t . Now, while writing this blog entry in my Arlington hotel room, I realize I forgot to pack my Humphrey T-shirt! Walter Cronkite School of Journalism had prepared special T-shirts for its Humphrey Fellows.
My apartment-mate Mukesh Ropeta and I locked our apartment and went to the apartment of our third Pakistani colleague, Javed Afridi, who shares the place with a wonderful Sri Lankan media manager called Chevaan Danial. Barely had a few minutes passed after we reached their apartment, we got a call from the Discount Cab driver that he was waiting outside. That said, all four of us were going to drive to Sky Harbor Airport in one cab. We had a lot of luggage but assured the driver that we could still manage in one cab because we came from a part of the world where his cab would be used to accommodate at eight ten people. It was a sick joke!
In fact, we had a very reasonable deal from the cab driver who charged us $20. It was surely the best way to get to the airport without spending a lot.
At the airport, we met Dr. Bill Silcock, the supervisor of the Humphrey Fellowship at the Cronkite School, and other fellows. We flew at 9:00 a.m and landed in Washington at 1:00 pm.I slept on the plane for the most part of the trip to cover for the time I spent awake last night. Soon after checking at the hotel, I was tired and hungry. I realized that everyone else was hungry too. Hence, we decided to meet up at 5:30 p.m. Actually, the time in Phoenix is different from the time zone Washington falls in.
Washington is unlike Phoenix: It is cold here. The wind blows fast enough to compel you to wear a jacket.
After settling into our rooms, the group of Humphrey fellows went out for the search of some food. We, three journalists from Pakistan, were perhaps very lucky to find a wonderful Arabic restaurant down the Key Bridge in Arlington to eat some Pakistani food. The chef there was a Bengali and the owner was an Arab.
It was the best meal I had gormandized since coming to the United States in the last three months. We had to pay $50 for the meal but we did not have an iota of regret over spending the money. After all, you cannot get good food even at times when you have a pocketful of money.
Tomorrow, is a very busy day as we are going to meet our counterparts at Maryland College Park, which hosts the second journalism program of the Humphreys. The interaction tomorrow will focus on Journalism, Terrorism and Crisis Reporting. We will have dinner at the National Press Club.