Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dateline Raleigh-Durham (OK, Really, Durham): Late Night Hotel Posting from a Suburban Office Park No Man's Land

Upriver ascent from Reagan Washington National Airport looking at the National Mall including the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and White House, Washington, D.C., 4:19PM April 17, 2017.

It was a gray day following some light (but insufficient to break the drought) rainfall.

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Here I am in Durham, North Carolina -- in a decent hotel with a tongue-twister of a name due, in part, to its Durham location. That would be the Wingate by Wyndham Durham. This is part of the whole Research Triangle area.

I have a nice, carpeted room with a single, large bed. The currents are drawn (does drawn mean closed or open??) -- by which I mean closed. The air conditioning unit is swooshing away and making the room pleasantly cool.

Upriver ascent from National Airport looking at downtown Washington, D.C., 4:19PM April 17, 2017

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This is the same blurry image as above taken with my crummy cellphone camera, but focused on my part of D.C.:

Upriver ascent from National Airport looking at downtown Washington, D.C., with my apt building marked; 4:19M April 17, 2017.

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My journey here was quick and mostly painless -- including a relatively quick two-part Metro ride (there is another month-long "surge" on the Green / Yellow Lines screwing things up), a fast sprint through TSA security (for whatever reason, a number of passengers including myself were waived through without having passed through the full body scanner), and a Delta jet that was barely half filled.

Descent into Raleigh-Durham Int'l Airport (RDU) flying over Falls Lake, 4:56PM April 17, 2017.

I was able to match this lake -- and the roadway crossing it -- using Google maps.

Here is the Google map view:

Google maps view of a portion of Falls Lake, N.C.

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I should note that when I made the reservations, Delta's online booking system showed the entire jet filled except for a sort of premium section (not first class but "Delta Comfort" second class), which required me to get that seat at a slight upcharge.

Descent into RDU over woodsy suburbs of Raleigh, N.C., 4:58PM April 17, 2017.

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I've not made any mention about the whole ugly mess with United Airlines last week and the passenger -- Dr. David Dao -- forcibly removed by the Chicago police because he refused to give up his paid-for seat for last-minute Delta crew trying to get to Louisville. The whole horrible incident was filmed by multiple passengers and has caused United no end of (deserved) very bad week-long publicity and some changes to the airline overbooking system.

The reason I haven't mentioned this is because I've been having trouble posting blog entries and fallen behind on political-themed posts.

Descent into RDU over woodsy suburbs of Raleigh, N.C., 4:59PM April 17, 2017.

Lots of McMansions.

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The only trouble was a young couple with a two year old boy who was yelling and screaming for the entire hour-long flight -- and being encouraged by his parents.

It is true, of course, that I am not a parent and have never raised a baby or small child (and never will), but I just don't understand the American approach to parenting whereby that kind of behavior is encouraged and rewarded. I honestly don't understand it.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport terminal, 5:15PM April 17, 2017.

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Anyway, the descent into Raleigh-Durham Int'l Airport was quite stunning -- passing through dramatic-looking cumulus clouds (there was a cluster of thunderstorms developing). Then the jet passed over leafy McMansion suburbs filled with wending streets and cul-de-sacs. I'll refrain from any political commentary here.

When the jet made its last turn for final approach, I got a great view of the airport and its runways.

Parking lot located off Slater Rd., Durham, N.C., 6:07PM April 17, 2017.

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Of note -- and as the lead image of this entry shows (or at least suggests -- I also had a great view of D.C. and environs as the jet followed an upriver take off from National Airport and I had a right-side seat (i.e., one facing the District). I could easily see my Hampton Courts apartment building (and practically, ever-so-briefly, my window). (See image above with yellow arrow.)

Upon arrival at RDU, I called the hotel front desk and a van was dispatched to pick me up -- and it was a quick 5-mile ride with a nice driver. I tipped him $7.

Yours truly, in my hotel room, Durham, N.C., 8:53PM April 17, 2017.

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Once checked in, I headed over to the workshop venue (just to make sure of the way -- it's a quick walk) and then I had dinner at the Page Street Grill, also nearby.

I've been watched TV tonight -- old sitcom reruns on TV Land and Hallmark. I've had numerous (as in dozens) text exchanges with Chris on various topics including on the author George Saunders and his newest, bestselling book Lincoln in the Bardo. Right now (at 11:42PM), it's a rerun of The Golden Girls.

3rd floor corridor, Wingate by Wyndham Durham hotel, Durham, N.C., 10:17PM April 17, 2017.

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OK, that's all for now. I have to be up by 6AM in order to get to the workshop by 730AM. Mornings are not my thing.

Oh, yes, last night, after the gym, I went to Jo Jo on U Street (near my apartment) and watched a live jazz band and had a bit of dinner and few drinks. My neighbor Fred joined me.

Jo Jo, Washington, D.C., 10:47PM April 16, 2017.

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Also, on the walk to the Metro station from my apartment, I bumped into Nellie's bartender Derrick. That was a bit of a coincidence since he is originally from Durham, N.C. As ever, Derrick looked amazing. He's certainly one of the most attractive guys I know.

OK, that really is all for now. I'll try to update this blog tomorrow evening (my second and last night here).

--Regulus

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