Monday, April 13, 2009

My World Tuesday

Thank you Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise for hosting My World. You can see other 'My World' photos or join in and share your own by clicking on the icon above.

One of the modes of transport in my area is the Metro System. If ever we want to go into the city of Washington we usually drive. Gregg's office was located in DC for many years and he knows where the prime parking spots are, but then so do many others - it is always a challenge. He used to commute and the journey would take anywhere between an hour-and-a-half to two hours one way during rush-hour. He would more often than not take the metro rail but fortunately a few years back his company moved to an office building 15 minutes away from our home. We couldn't believe our luck but not so lucky for those who lived in say the other side of Washington or nearer Annapolis. He still occasionally goes into the city to meet up with clients. Besides parking being hard to find, it can be very expensive on a day-to-day basis. Therefore the Metro is a popular way to get about.

When we were going to the Cherry Blossom Festival, it soon became clear that the freeway was not the way to go. We ended up parking in Arlington and hopping on the Metro, along with a zillion other people I might add. It didn't seem so bad at first but then when the train rolled into the platform the cars were already packed to the gills. It is hard to tell but the photo above shows the longest escalator I have ever been on and it seems very, very steep going down.
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Added note: Laurie from April Wine has written about her adventures on a recent trip to Washington, and very kindly linked to my post here. If you are thinking of heading this way go check her out her article as she has some excellent pointers.
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One thing I forgot to mention in my original posting - and I thank Joann from Jack and Joann for reminding me about it in my comments section - was that when riding the escalators, always stand on the right hand side because the locals will be using the left to hurry up and down the escalators and may get a little irritated with you if you are blocking their way. This is standard protocol when using them and out-of-towners often don't realize this. On the weekends it didn't seem such an issue becuase as many as there were, I didn't see too many people in that much of a hurry, but during the week-day stand by!
We got off at the Smithsonian stop and as you can see it was 'busy'. This is a blurry, blurry photo but it seems to fit somehow.
Here's a better one - we were being told to keep moving but I had stopped quickly and held my breath to take this photo, and immediately was told by a Metro police officer to move along. "If you stop they'll all want to stop" he said. Very naughty of me as I had stepped aside out of the throng of people, slightly behind him to get a bird's eye view of the track before he said anything. I could not resist just one more shot. It only took a second and I knew I probably wouldn't be back for a very long time. "Sorry sir" said I and I moved along with the rest of the salmon fighting upstream!
I was very glad to disembark and when we rode the escalator back up to ground level, the sky was a very beautiful sight to see.

Several hours pass, we have enjoyed ourselves and are on our way home.

We watch a couple of trains come and go...

and then ours arrives.

At Gregg's suggestion we make our way to the end car thinking it won't be as busy, but we are still pretty much squished. Considering the volume of people everyone was very polite and orderly, but you can't help but bump into people and I feel my toes getting stepped on a few times, and even felt the wheels of a push chair roll over my feet at some point. I think that might have been on the platform now I come to think of it. I hear one young girl behind me tell her companion that she was not going to push in front of people after being urged to do so. I looked at her with a grateful smile as I really wanted to get home! We were prepared to wait for the next train if we had to but managed to get ourselves inside.
We were right at the end of the car by the emergency exit and I have to say I was a little nervous about that door. Gregg assured me it was safe and so I got my camera out - of course - and I saw the light from the platform leaving us as we sped along. Taking photos takes my mind of the 'sardine-in-a-can' feeling.
It is a view I have never seen when it has been less crowded and we have been able to pick our own spot further up, never having thought to stand at this spot to stare out the back before. It was very interesting.

Later I noticed that Gregg is not hanging on to a safety handle but the actual hinge of the door. I was not happy when I saw that but by this time we were safely home and I was looking at the photos on the computer screen.

A little while later a couple got on with their two small boys and they were straining their wee necks to see the tracks, so Gregg asked their Dad if they would like to change places with him, and he squeezed around them. They were very excited as they stared through the glass, with their Dad standing beside them. I think they will remember that ride for a long time to come. Gregg told me it was perfectly safe after I questioned whether they should be so close to the emergency exit, in a quiet voice because their parents were right there. They were safe of course but I'm a nervous nelly about such things and always will be I suppose.
Here we are at that very steep elevator again. It is much easier going up than going down. Across the other side I saw a poor lady hiding behind her husband. The accoustics were excellent and I heard these little squeals as I watched her peak over her husband's shoulder and then duck down again fast like a crouched cat. Their daughter was in front looking behind her. I assumed she was rolling her eyes because I might not have been able to see her face but I am pretty good at reading body language, and on top of everything else I saw her head shake slowly back and forth. All my sympathies were with her mother. I enjoy riding the Metro but don't do well in crowds at the best of times and that ride was way too much a feeling of being packed in a small space like a sardine in a can. Next time we go it will hopefully be in a quieter time or if we take the car - which is more likely - I will trust Gregg to find the great parking spot he usually does.
This is a building opposite the exit and I was once again glad to be on ground level looking at a beautiful blue sky, or in this case a reflection of it in the windows. Even if it had been pouring with rain I would still have been glad. All that being said it was worth the trip and the claustrophobic moments to see those Cherry Blossoms that day. I would have walked on hot coals for that sight - not really but you know what I mean.
I was exhausted at this point and the three blocks to our parked car ALL UPHILL seemed an awfully long way away, but one step in front of the other got me there as I plodded on behind Gregg, who kept telling me that it was the other side of 'that building', pointing somewhere ahead of us. And when we got there I would groan, "I thought you said it was the other side of THIS building?" "I meant THAT building up there." God bless him, he's a canny fellow and knows how to put that carrot in front of the donkey. Call me Eeyore! Eeyore was rolling her eyes just like the young girl on the escalator earlier. Of course I stopped along the way to take several photos which this time took my mind off my sore feet and I will share those at a later date. As we arrived home and walked through the door I mentally kissed the floor, and physically kissed Gregg because he had gotten me safely home, and we both slept very well that night.

29 comments:

  1. You had a very good ride over there. Excellent photos. With all these you must slept like a baby.

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  2. Master Post here, with fantastic photos.

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  3. I planned on going to the Cherry Blossom Festival but I just didn't have the chance. Hope you enjoyed it.

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  4. Denise: What fun captures of the subway.

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  5. I'd definitely have the sardine in a can feeling. And my hubby uses that "it's just on the other side of...". In our case, it's usually the other side of a hill. And then the next hill, etc.
    Nice photos to tour us through. The blurry one shows the hustle and bustle. I like it.

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  6. Beautiful world and very interesting details. BTW, go check my page,I have something for you there. Hope you'd like it.

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  7. I love the ease of taking the subway. It's also a good place to people watch. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I wish we had better public transportation. Everyone here drives way too much.

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  9. Your post reminded me of the time we tried to take the T in Boston after the 4th of July celebration. We had to let five trains go by before we found one we could squeeze on to.

    Your post also made me miss our trips to DC when we lived in Jersey. It took me three hours to drive and then another two hours to get across town to the hotel near the Pentagon. But I did appreciate the metro. I like good public transportation.

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  10. Thanks for taking us along. It's been at least 15 years since I was in D.C. and thought the Metro was a pretty good system, but even then it had "capacity" problems. Great photos to portray it!

    Nebraska Birding

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  11. hey denise...enjoyed my metro ride into dc...i really don't like metro rides but, will use them if i have to. your photos were fab.
    have a great week.

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  12. Thanks for taking me on a trip that I will probably never be able to make. The shots are very realistic. The metro looks modern but crowded. We are so behind here in Brisbane that we don't have underground trains but the above ground trains are not too bad but they can get crowded in peak hour.

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  13. That was quite an adventure for both, but I enjoyed it. I am a supporter of public transportation. All these years working in Downtown LA, I always ride the Metro, be it bus or train. Since I live 3 miles away from the park & ride, it gives me only 45 minutes door to door. Talking about luck! But parking in the building costs $20 per day, too expensive.

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  14. Wow, big adventure on the metro. Thanks. That cherry blossom festival is a lot bigger deal than I thought.

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  15. I've been on that escalator- my cousin thought it was very funny that I don't like going on escalators! You could hear me squeal too!

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  16. Hello Denise
    Talk about the ride of your life lol
    Loved the photos, you were game to take them, even tho you didn't show peoples faces there is always the chance someone might think you are snapping them.
    Here at home I often take public transport, when we are away we are always willing to use the local systems, but by the look of that line I think I might think twice. Is it that crowded like that all the time or just that particular day?
    Take care
    Cathy

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  17. You reminded me of the joy of riding by the window and watching the tracks emerge (or dissapear) down the long tunnel.
    Great post! I'm glad to be at home.
    aloha, sistah

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  18. Well, you certainly had an adventure! I do like the blurry photo, it conveys the feeling of busy-ness! Glad you made it home safe! I'm not sure I would endure all of that to see the cherry blossoms!

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  19. Thanks for bringing subway ride to me here. I can feel the 'sardine cramped' atmosphere, and you managed to to capture it digitally.

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  20. Wow! Great pics here of the Metro, Denise. I haven't taken it in so long I don't even know the fare structure anymore. I remember before the Metro was built and you could take a bus straight into D.C. That was nice. Anyways, great photos---I bet Metro would love these for advertising! :o)

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  21. Thanks for visiting my posts this past weekend. Been busy so I'm sorry I'm late getting to your blog.

    Going into D.C. is always an adventure. You can always spot the out of town folks because they don't know the protocol of keeping the left lane on the escalators cleared for those locals rushing to and fro from their offices. My Jack hated fighting the tourists when he worked for EPA downtown.
    Have a good week!

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  22. looks like a good ride but your right a bit crowded. I have never been on one of these trains before. One day will have to try it

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  23. Hi Devise, if you think that wasn't a nice experience then you certainly wouldn't want to go on the London Underground as it is far worse and more crowded and very dirty. Glad you got home safe.

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  24. Reminds me of The Tube back home, although alot cleaner and more modern by the looks of it! Just as crowded though.

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  25. A wonderful subterranean post. I think the longest and by far the steepest escalator I have been on was in London. I clung of the handrail all the way down into the bowels of the earth.
    Great shots with difficult lighting.

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  26. I've been here, too and it was fun to take that ride with you. Very wonderful post!

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  27. I love this piece. We just got back from visiting our daughter in college in DC and had much the same experience. We learned a lot this time about how to navigate the metro and what to carry when out for the day. THanks so much for sharing!

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  28. I've been having fun reading all your comments. Thank you so very much.

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