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  • Day 1 • May 9, 2016

    Well, another Learning Moment has begun! I took a taxi to Boston’s South Station on Monday May 9, my 32nd birthday, and got to South Station at about 7:30 PM and hung out in Club Acela, Amtrak’s executive club, until my train for Washington, DC left at 9:30 PM. This time, I sat in coach class, and it was comfortable! While I hung out in the café car, because of my birthday, I was provided with several small bottles of wine, and the passengers sang Happy Birthday! Also, the passengers got a piece of pound cake and put 32 straws on it, which represented candles. The rest of the ride was awesome!

  • Day 2 • May 10, 2016

    An exterior photo of Bethesda's Bagels shop in Dupont Circle DC.

    When I arrived into Washington DC’s Union Station, I took Lyft to my friend Jen’s house. I got a smoked salmon bagel from Bethesda’s Bagels in Dupont Circle, slept for a bit, then we both went to BGR the Burger Joint in Dupont Circle for lunch. Then, I took the bus to the hotel, and since the room wasn’t ready yet, I was able to get the Metro passes, wine, and snacks from World Market and the Metro station. Then, unfortunately, Davia, my friend, could not do the big pub crawl that we were planning at the last minute. So, my friends Tyler, Emily, her awesome boyfriend Johnson, and I hung out at the hotel’s awesome free drink reception and caught up. Tomorrow will be another awesome day!!

  • Day 3 • May 11, 2016

    After a wild night Tuesday night, I overslept and woke up at 10:00 AM! Even though breakfast ends at 9:30, the hotel staff was nice enough to make me fried eggs and home fries, which was great. I then took the Metro to College Park and had lunch at Hard Times Café, an awesome sports bar, with Tyler. Tyler’s burger, my chicken sandwich, and the hand-cut fries were awesome! I then took the Metro back to the hotel, and my wish came true. Metro has a couple of new trains, and I rode one! Unlike the announcements on Metro’s older cars, the announcements on these new trains are automated, and the floors are tile instead of carpet.

    When I got back to the hotel, I noticed that the snacks and wine were gone! I assume that housekeeping threw them away, because I remember that on Tuesday night we had some of the snacks and wine, but not all of it. So I went back to World Market and got cookies and wine that was similar to the previous day. I then enjoyed the hotel’s free happy hour, and was chatting with a teacher who was taking his 8th grade class on an annual trip to Washington, DC for a week. They are from California and they stay at this hotel every year. After that, at 10:00 PM, my awesome friend Samantha arrived! It was great to chat, and we ordered room service, which she enjoyed. I had a burger again, because it’s the only good thing on the menu. Tomorrow will be another awesome day exploring DC, then Friday its part 2 of this Learning Moment, Raleigh, NC baby!!!

  • Day 4 • May 12, 2016

    Aerial photo of the Pentagon. The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. As a symbol of the U.S. military, The Pentagon is often used metonymically to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense.

    This morning, Sam and I enjoyed the awesome free breakfast at the hotel. She really enjoyed it! I had a few fried eggs and home fries, and she had an awesome omelet. The atrium was very busy, probably because a lot of people were going to go around and visit the various historic sites. Then, we started out our day long adventure exploring our Nation's Capital! Unlike how tourists usually check out cities, we took the Metro to a bunch of sites, went out of the station, took pictures, then went back on again so we could see as much of the city as possible!

    Our first stop was Dupont Circle, which is a famous neighborhood in downtown DC because of the big circle off of the main streets. Since Sam enjoys libraries and bookstores, we stopped off at Kramerbooks and Café, and there were many books to check out, some of which were very old. Also, right down the street, is the world famous Krispy Kreme donuts, and it was so great to get our fix because they don’t have those up north!

    Next, we walked down Connecticut Avenue, one of the main roads in DC. There were a lot of people out and about, and it was warm, about 70 degrees. There were also a lot of food trucks, selling Greek food, sausages, and other cool stuff. We took the Metro over to the National Mall, so that Sam could take a few pictures. Like Connecticut Avenue, the mall was crowded with tourists, but it was great. We then went up to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia! Unlike the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, it was much quieter, and felt more like a nature type of environment. After taking a few pictures, we went over to the Pentagon, which was similar, and did the same, then our last stop for the day part of this adventure was the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, one of the big malls in DC. We had lunch at Harry’s Smokehouse, and I enjoyed a great beef brisket sandwich, to get me ready for the weekend in Raleigh, NC, and Sam enjoyed a great salad. We got back to the hotel at about 3:30 PM and took a nap until about 6:30 PM.

    At 6:30 PM, we enjoyed the free happy hour at the hotel with one glass of chardonnay each. We then ate dinner in Georgetown, another hopping neighborhood, at a place called the Paper Moon, on an outdoor patio. It was a warm night, about 75 degrees. This dinner was to celebrate both of our birthdays, since they are both in May. We split calamari, and I had tortellini with grilled chicken in a cream sauce, and Sam had potato gnocchi. After dinner, we got the lay of the land of Union Station, the big train station for tomorrow, then went back to the hotel. What an awesome day, and tomorrow we travel on Amtrak down to Raleigh, North Carolina for the Music is our Vision East Coast Schools for the Blind Music Festival!