R & R in DC
One of the cool things about my job is that I get to take “home time” pretty much wherever I want. This time, I chose Washington DC in the springtime. I had been planning this trip for some time now, hopefully to catch the cherry blossoms and general blooming spring. I’ve just arrived but I fear I may have missed it, we’ll see.
Getting here last night was a chore. After a long day, I parked at a truck stop in Jessup, MD; it was about as close as I could get. After packing and emptying out my fridge, I hiked up to the main building to get a taxi. I had called a couple of cab companies two weeks ago to get an idea of how much it would be to get me to downtown DC and I was told about $50.00. After calling one taxi company, I got a call back from the driver on approach an said he was driving a Lincoln Town Car. “A Town Car” I exclaimed. “I called a taxi, not a Limo”. David, the driver, said “it’s all good, I’m a taxi service”. When he pulled up, I opened the door and <!–more–>asked him how much it would be and he said $85. No way am I paying $85 for this ride. I told him I had called his service and asked how much it would be and they said $50. I told him I’d call another taxi and that I didn’t need him and shoo’d him away.
But, of course, he wouldn’t let up. He kept telling me that no one would take me to DC for less than that. Yeah, whatever. I called Yellow Cab and asked them on the phone how much it would be and the guy said probably between $35 and $40. So, I said c’mon then. After I had called the other company, David called me back and kept going on about how it really costs that much and that he was sitting down to dinner with his family when he came to get me. Oh, wah, poor baby, I thought to myself. As I was saying goodbye, he then said he would take me for $55. “Sorry bub, you blew your chance” and I hung up.
While I was waiting for the next driver, a lady, about my age, approached me and said “I’m sorry, I was in the restaurant and couldn’t help noticing, are you trying to get a taxi”? “Yeah” I said. “I called a taxi and that guy showed up in a town car and tried to rip me off”. “I called another service so we’ll see what happens”. This lady then explained that she was worried about me asked me if I had enough money for the ride and she offered me some money if I needed it. Well, I just about dropped a tear right then and there. I told her I was fine and thanked her for her kindness. We got to talking and her and husband, who were having dinner in the restaurant, are from Florida. He’s a truck driver and she’s learning. We chatted a while longer till the next driver arrived and I bid her farewell. How about that? There are indeed some truly good people in the world.
The Yellow Cab driver arrived, in a real yellow cab this time, and I asked him how much it would be and he said $60. Oh c’mon, what the…? It was getting late and I got in, steaming of course. Alex, the Driver, seemed nice enough though, but I got out my iPhone GPS and tracked the ride just in case, you know. He took me the most direct route, 26.5 miles right to the Washington DC HI Hostel and the tab was $51.75. OK, I can deal with that. I tipped him a little and got out.
I got checked in and signed up for a tour of the Library of Congress in the morning. My room is on the eighth floor and I came to the stairs before the elevator and I wondered if my knees would hold up, so I gave it a shot, wearing my pack and all. It reminded me of a hostel in Germany I stayed in, on the top floor. I needed the exercise and it felt good, it got the ole ticker going and I made it, a bit winded but not arresting in a cardiac fashion or anything. I found my room bed and met my roommates from Toronto. They were all turning in and I thought that sounded like a Capitol idea. I’ll explore the hostel in the morning.