Adventure in Rock Creek Park

Today we took a winter’s walk in Rock Creek park.

Many people were jogging. And walking dogs off-leash. One spry pup dig holes relentlessly. See him here:

https://youtu.be/HKYyoNTuMSI

And upon leaving the park, we discovered a lovely neighborhood of 1950s modern homes, amazing in their architecture and how they aged seamlessly.

And then we discovered deer in someone’s yard trying to return to the park.

PJ the Bear Visits DC

We arrived in Washington DC in good time: by 11 a.m. M and our Indian friends gave us a tour of the house they recently purchased, which right now has had the interior gutted and reframed.

We then headed to M’s apartment where our friends made us homemade Indian food that was out of this world. Frances had never had Indian before so that was her first adventure of the day.

We took the girls to the National Zoo, and while we did PJ the Bear visited the big monuments and the White House.

Reunited with PJ, we are now taking the scenic route (Maryland 210/Indian Head Highway) toward Richmond, Va.

For more on our adventures as they happen, follow me on Instagram: angelackerman.

Arrival in CDG

I have a love-hate relationship with flying. I love packing my suitcase. I love airplanes. I love the airport lounges. I love the physics of take-off. I love the first four hours in the air. Then, my ears clog. My butt hurts. I realize I can’t sleep. I have slime on my face. The plane always seems cold and the dinner gross.

That’s me at 12:30 a.m. my local time, after 6+ hours on the plane and only a one-hour nap after rising at 4 a.m. to start my traveling. And the other photo is my first plate of croissants in the CDG arrivals lounge. I grabbed the last pain au chocolat.

My travel companionIMG_7487, M, and I spent yesterday in his apartment in D.C., catching up while he packed. We had lunch at the nearby Cava. My pita had braised lamb.

We headed to Dulles Airport by bus-metro-bus and flew out on a Boeing 777-330 in premium economy.

Despite a rather disappointing dinner, only getting to watch one-third of the Little Prince movie and an episode where I nearly took out a flight attendant with projectile applesauce, I suppose it was a nice flight.

I normally have issues with my ears when flying and this time was no exception. My left ear is clogged severely and both ears gave me pain and discomfort during landing and even while on the ground. Let’s hope it clears up quickly.

It’s 9:15 a.m. Paris time, 3:15 a.m. Pennsylvania time. We hope our hotel will let us into our room early. M booked a room for the day so we can nap. Our flight to Djibouti leaves at 12:30 a.m. tonight and we have no plans for Paris other than to relax and run errands.

Little Girl Feet

The travels have commenced. I’m successfully boarded on Amtrak’s 6:55 a.m. train, the Northeast Regional, my regular hook-up between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

  
My day started early, with a random phone call for the second night in a row from Pakistan. Don’t ask me who it was, I didn’t answer. Normally I don’t take my phone into my bedroom but I thought it easier to use it for an alarm rather than change the real clock. Even though I had the ringer silenced, the vibrating phone woke me at 1 a.m.

And because I am traveling today I had trouble getting back to sleep. Part of it may have been the cats hogging the bed.

At 4:11, I got up. Husband got in the shower. I went down for a glass of juice. I hear movement upstairs and sure enough, my eleven-year-old comes down the stairs.

To tell you the truth, I was happy to see her. I hate the idea of leaving those I love without a final round of hugs and kisses.

We left the house at 4:30 so we could stop at Wawa for coffee. Child was thrilled to get a hot chocolate. I was disappointed they hadn’t started making egg sandwiches yet.

We arrived at Gayle’s house. Gayle drove me to Philly, as I laughed at her stories of errant students and she laughed at my tale of my daughter helping me pack and her reaction to my many styles of underwear.

And now, after 20 minutes at the gate next to the business class dude who couldn’t stop talking for 30 seconds (“My father fought in WWII and was recalled for Korea.” “Did you know Jersey Mikes has hundreds of locations?”), I am on the train with a 20-something girl silently listening to her headphones.

En route: Djibouti prep with paperwork & underwear

The preparations for Djibouti continue. My husband and I use remanufactured ink cartridges in our home printer and we had a small mix-up with our latest order. This meant by the time we received the basic black cartridges we ordered, I spent two hours before work printing and sorting backlogged household paperwork. In addition to my state tax forms (filed federal online), my mother’s various taxes and her roommate’s taxes, I had to print my daughter’s Girl Scout camp paperwork and then my travel related documents.

I finally printed my visa application for the Republic of Djibouti, and using a brand new black pen I bought just for this occasion, I carefully printed my information in the blanks. You see, travel for me requires a hunt for good pens and new journals.

Every time I travel, it usually coincides with a fresh journal. I never really plan it that way, but it works out that the preparation and planning spur my desire to scribble down my mundane life. The journal that perhaps I’ve worked on for several months or even a year suddenly fills up.

I started a new journal a few days before I found out about this trip. Since it was an everyday journal, I used one a friend had given me. It has a nice folded in piece to mark your page, but the outside is an Eiffel Tower. It’s also lined, and I prefer my travel journals to be blank. This allows me the freedom to sketch (although I have no skill) or to use the page in creative ways.

For this trip, I wanted something small, as it the journal will serve only this trip, not my life-at-large when I return home. I found a little blank book with a ribbon and an accordion pocket in the back that measures about 3.5 x 5.5 inches and the layout is horizontal instead of vertical. This has me excited. The pens are PaperMate InkJoy. Ballpoint but with a smoothness, and crisp ink colors.

My printing endeavor included my train tricket. My flight leaves from DC and I live in Pennsylvania. My family will drive me to DC, and then they will have a lovely weekend in the Nation’s Capital before returning home for Easter dinner. My daughter has the key sites listed: the zoo, City Target, the Ethiopian restaurant (which has a certain irony since I will be very close to Ethiopia), and the bakery Paul. On the way home, I plan on hopping the Northeast Regional from Union Station and meeting the family in Philadelphia.

Then, early last week Amtrak announced a sale— $38 for travel between DC and New York City. The tickets had to be booked by March 20, and travel had to occur before May 1. Hooozah! Saved about $15 on my Amtrak ride.

My next priority involves obsessing over my suitcase. I will dedicate a blog entry to my suitcase when I finally embark upon that phase. I’m not bringing many clothes. It’s going to be hot. I’m going to be sweaty.

I bought two camisole/shaper garments to wear instead of my normal bras. They will offer consistent coverage and support without padding or underwire to irritate me. They also increase my modesty as my blouses are so light and flowy that these camisoles act as second shirts.

I decided I’m not bringing home my soiled underpants. I realized in the last few years that most of my underwear is aging, almost ten years old. I usually select my best underwear for traveling but this time I’m taking the ratty stuff and throwing it away when I’m done. Yup. How first world of me.

My girlfriend, who lived in Texas and has survived more than one hot summer, advised wearing shorts under my long skirt to prevent chafing. I hate shorts. Don’t own any. Any I certainly don’t want too many extra clothes under my skirt. But, I do like the concept. So, I checked out the men and boys underwear at Target. I figured I’d be a large or extra large boy, and they had a large selection of dark colored and cartoon figure boxer briefs. They seemed too heavy. I went with the traditional white men’s boxer. My husband and I wear the same size, so I can give them to him when I get home.

Or keep them, and run around the house this summer in my “Djibouti attire” of camisoles and boxers.

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