In another terrible twist to my 2010 story, I am spending a few days in New York, enjoying my favourite town, and finishing up my Christmas shopping. After a day of running around the city, and two nights of interrupted sleep, I’m up at 5.30am on Friday to catch the 7.00am Acela Express train to Washington DC, where Rodney has arranged meetings for me to attend.
The Acela Express is under 3 hours, and we travel through New Jersey, Philadelphia and Baltimore (where my head madly pivots trying to spot any of the locations in The Wire).
Rodney (who is the Aussie World Bank dude referred to in my April post) is a total sweetie and comes to collect me from Union Station.
The station is a marvellous affair and is today resplendent in tasteful Christmas decorations including enormous wreaths strung up high around soaring domed ceilings. I think it might even beat New York’s Grand Central station, mainly because of the sense of open-ness and the light that streams in, but I’m not sure…
Rodney leads me to the metro, and I trot along behind him, dragging my bag, onto the train and then along DC’s streets (K Street, past the Pres’s street, Pennsylvania Avenue) to the Lombardy Hotel where I drop off my bad before meetings.
We are off to see the IMF at 11.00am, and then at 12.30pm, I have a lunch meeting in the World Bank cafeteria. Each place has stern looking security (the IMF guard glares at me incredulously: “How many cell phones do you have?” Err…2 cameras and 2 cell phones in my handbag…despite this unruly commitment to technology, they let me in anyway.
With 10,000 staff, the World Bank is, Rodney informs me, Washington DC’s second largest employer after the US Government. The IMF has 2.500 staff. On the outside, the buildings are plan-looking and low-rise only compared to New York.
After a busy morning, I snooze before a delightful dinner with Rodney and his wife, before it’s a night of real sleep and then back to New York on Saturday morning. Lucky I’d been to DC before, and saw many sights. Luckily I could at least grab a snapshot of the Capitol Building from Union Station as I left. 😉