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A very hot day in DC!

June 9, 2005, 9:28 PM

What a hot day it was on Wednesday. But it was a fun day, though I tried to spend as little time as possible in the sun, and outside for that matter. A good day to go railfanning for most of the day, as Metro’s air-conditioned in and out, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

But first, some outdoor photography, with an emphasis on vertical photos, so that they would be easy to use in the photo feature on the main page. I spent a little time downtown, since I wanted some new urban photography for use on the Web site. I was successful here, and so I got off at Farragut West and walked down to Murrow Park, across the street from the World Bank. Last time I was down that way was for A16, when Sis and I went to a big demonstration.

This particular day, it was, as expected, normal. I got a few pictures, and then slipped into the Starbucks across the street from the World Bank. Now you want to know what was downright bizarre? Wherever there was a fire alarm strobe, there was not one, but two. A Gentex strobe was to the left, and a Wheelock strobe to the right. Like this:

Two different fire alarm strobes, side by side

Additionally, there were red bells. Still, it was quite strange to see two strobes from different companies next to each other like that. And it was consistent with the strobes, both in the main restaurant and in the restrooms.

After leaving the Starbucks, I passed through Farragut Square, and arrived at the Farragut North Metro station, on the Red Line. I caught a train to Shady Grove, and visited Cleveland Park, Tenleytown-AU, Bethesda, Medical Center, Grosvenor, and Shady Grove on the way up. On the way back, I visited Van Ness-UDC and Dupont Circle.

At Dupont Circle, I walked around a bit, taking photos, while attempting to avoid direct sunlight. I then went over to the nearby Books-A-Million on Dupont Circle, where, you may recall, three other people and I all took a time-out from the inaugural festivities. From there, I went around to the CVS across the circle, where my intention was to get a large bottle of water to cool off and replace lost fluids. Things didn’t quite work out for that, as the lines were going way back into the aisles, and I didn’t want to wait. I ended up putting the water back and getting a juice from a street vendor.

I also got a shot of the new canopy at Dupont Circle’s south entrance:

Dupont Circle station canopy

From there, I was ahead of schedule. I was finished with my “official” objectives, but still had time to spare. So I figured I might as well do a little more photography. So I rode to Gallery Place-Chinatown (where there was broken glass on the floor, which I reported to an employee), transferred to the Green Line to L’Enfant Plaza, and headed up to the surface. I went to L’Enfant Deli, where I got an Orange juice, and then sat on the patio there for a bit. Then I got back on the train and went to Smithsonian station. I did a little outdoor photography as I walked from the Independence Avenue entrance to the Mall entrance. Re-entering the station on the other end, it was fully rush hour, with some congestion on the Blue and Orange Lines, likely due to a Blue Line train that was accidentally routed to the Orange Line at Rosslyn, and related maneuvers to get that train back where it should be (the train turned around using the interlocking at Clarendon). As such, trains that passed through were totally full, but that worked out, as it worked out to sit out a few trains. I was able to test a few camera settings on some trains as they came in, plus was trying to capture the exact color of the LED displays on some of the newer cars.

From there, I went back to L’Enfant, and from there to Pentagon City.

At Pentagon City, however, before I settled into my Washington-Post-and-smoothie routine, I went over to the Aqua Massage place. There, I was contemplating getting a massage in their big massage machine, but first the lady running the place wanted to show me a few things. First thing was the Massage Mouse, that used pads placed on your shoulders to send electrical stimulation to your muscles. Very weird feeling. After the lady let me try it out for a bit, she asked me if I wanted to get it. “How much?” was what I wanted to know. Turned out that it was $100. For that much, they can keep it. Besides, going online on that Web site that I linked you to above, we find out that the place at the mall is gouging you on it.

Moving along, after I rejected the Massage Mouse, on to the next sales pitch – the heating pad. Basically, it’s like this device, but a different brand. Press the little activator button, and voila – instant heat. Just boil the pad to bring it back to normal, and you’re ready to go again. How much? $80, and $100 if you want the belt. Again, pricey.

The next sales pitch was for a vibrating massager. So the lady ran it all over my shoulders and back. How much? Also pricey.

So after three high-pressure sales pitches in a row failed to get me to buy something, I said I was interested in using the big Aqua Massage machine (you know, their flagship product?). I ended up getting the 15-minute massage, which was, as always, wonderful.

And then the last high-pressure sales pitch: Would I like to buy the package deal? A whole bunch of Aqua Massages for around $100. My response: No. As a rule, I do not buy from people giving me a high-pressure sales pitch.

I have to say, the Aqua Massage place at Pentagon City was better when they kept their focus on the big Aqua Massage machines. Once they went to the big high-pressure sales tactics with all the secondary junk, it gets to be a real turn-off.

And then I went to One Stop News on the bottom level for my Washington Post, and then to Mr. Smoothie for my smoothie. They were out of lemons, thus a lemonade freeze, which I was after today, was not available. A pity. So I got my old standby, a peach/strawberry Fruity Freeze. I had to remind them, as sometimes happens, that it was the no-ice-cream version that I was ordering, and had to stop them once they started dispensing ice cream into the blender. Turns out that the ones with the ice cream (called “Fruit Smoothie”) was more popular than the one without, so it was force of habit. But they happily fixed it, plus I’m quick at stopping them when they go to the ice cream machine. But once it was done, it was a good smoothie, as always.

And I went out to enjoy it.

Also, while at the mall, I got a photo of what Pentagon City looks like during the tourist season:

Pentagon City Mall during tourist season

All the yellow people in that photo are tourists as part of a school group, from, according to their shirts, Gainesville, Florida. Some of them even wore belts that said AAA Safety Patrol. And as is usually the case with school groups, they visit all the monuments and museums around the National Mall in DC, and then can be found (to quote a Metroriders poster) “stampeding through their most cherished of Washington monuments – Pentagon City – on their annual invasion.”

So yeah, there’s a reason that I enjoy my newspaper outside.

From Pentagon City, I caught a Yellow Line train to Huntington, where, on the way down, I played Pac-Man on my cell phone. Then at Huntington, I walked around a bit outside the north mezzanine, contemplating taking a bus across to another station like Van Dorn Street or Franconia-Springfield, but decided against it this time (perhaps another day).

I missed the train I came in on, and caught the next one, which ended up being a CAF. That worked out well, as the CAFs have good A/C on them. It was COLD when I got in there, which was just what I wanted. And while I waited for it to leave, I played Pac-Man on my cell phone. We actually sat at Huntington with the train turned off so long that the lights went out, which they do on their own after so much time. My comment to the other passengers was, “Mood lighting!”

Then the operator showed up, turned the train on (which automatically turned the lights back on), and we were off. I transferred to Blue at the Pentagon, and then rode over to Rosslyn and then transferred to an Orange to go to Vienna. I missed an eight-car Orange Line train at Rosslyn, and the next Orange train was a six-car train. Drat. But I did get the railfan window the whole way to Vienna, which was nice.

And then, on the way back, I had a special mission to accomplish. At work, we collected money and ordered a shirt for an assistant manager of ours who transferred to the Dayton Wal-Mart. Then when it arrived, we all signed it. So since this particular manager was working overnight, and as I was doing most of the legwork for the project anyway, I took it to her on the way back from DC. The shirt was really cute, too. It had the Metro on the front, and the back said, “Thanks for keeping us on ‘track’!” It was cute. So along with my usual stops (Sheetz in Haymarket and Wal-Mart in Woodstock), I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Dayton, and dropped off the shirt, and made her day. That Dayton store also has a lot of memories for me, as that’s where I shopped when I went to JMU.

And that was my day. I got 225 photos, making this a great photo day, and I’m sure you’ll see a lot of them before it’s all said and done.

Web site: The Dupont Circle Citizens Association

Song: I sing in the car to keep myself perky on the way home from DC. Otherwise I get droopy, and have to stop to take a nap along the way. One time, I had to take two naps to make it home. Still, I always try to keep singing something bouncy in order to stay alert. This time I sang every bouncy or fun or amusing song I could think of from the 1984 season of Today's Special. That was fun. I avoided slow songs like "Peaceful Possum" or anything else that could make me droopy.

Quote: "Mood lighting!" - Me on the train at Huntington when the lights went out.

Categories: DC trips, Shopping, WMATA