An American Girl in Washington

From South Beach to SxSW

Posted in All about moi, Travel by AGinDC on 9 March 2012

Well, here I sit, at the airport hours and hours early because of a miscommunication with the temp assistant. Sigh. But at least I can write a post now! This week I started in Miami, chilling on South Beach, working in the sun and feeling like a total jerk talking on conference calls with bossa nova playing in the background. I had a blast, of course, I got an awkward tan so that now my forearms, the bottom half of my legs, my face and v-neck are all three shades darker than the rest of me, and I drank a lot of mojitos.

Palm trees. Always a good sign.

This flamingo was hiding in the space between two buildings at the hotel. Shy?

Me, enjoying the double-sided camera on my new 4s. Also, the sunshine.

This picture would make you think that life is beautiful and I spent all day at the beach. It is, but I didn’t. It was windy as hell and I ran up, squinted, took a quick picture, and went back to the hotel. That was the only time I went to the beach.

I was staying at a horrible hotel, the Wyndham Garden Hotel on Washington Ave. They have a great courtyard with comfy seats and free wifi but the rooms are atrocious. The first room they gave me had a giant hole in the window so of course I went right down and got another. In this one, the window was intact but there was no hot water! However, I didn’t want to change yet again so I just resigned myself to cold showers for the duration of the trip. On the last night, I had hot water (in the shower though not the sink) which was nice, but around midnight I was sitting on the bed, working, when a giant ROACH skittered across the floor and into the bathroom. Needless to say, I packed like a madwoman and got the hell out of there. I checked into the Marriott at the airport and slept comfortably for the first time in three nights. Oh, and did I mention the terrifying wall paper?

Try sleeping next to THAT.

It took a lot of cake to comfort me…

Luckily, my friend JP was visiting from London and she bought me a cheesecakey chocolatey dream from Oprah’s favorite cake place (at some point, for five minutes). One thing I’ll say for Oprah, she’s a woman who knows her cake. But really, are we surprised? We also ate at Doraku sushi. Delicious. Go there. Now. … What are you still doing here?? Go!

Of course, the next day I had to get up insanely early and, due to a variety of factors including exhaustion, a 45-minute security line (and no, there were not enough people to justify that) and the fact that I forgot to mail my mother the salsa I got at Lime in South Beach so of course TSA had to unpack my suitcase and throw it away. Because God forbid I should get on a plane and attack a cockpit with a jar of medium chunky. Anyways, for all of those reasons and many more that took up small or large increments of time I arrived at the gate for my 7:10am flight at 7:11. And of course it was already rolling down the runway. Because, unlike normal, considerate airlines who call passengers over the intercom and wait an extra minute when they know they’ve checked in (in fact, someone is being called by Southwest AS I TYPE), horrible American Airlines that I try to never fly shuts down five minutes early and rolls away even when they should know that there is an insane security line and people might be trying to get on. Oh yeah, and then their desk clerks are rude as hell. I hate American Air so much. I would rather ride a mule with a GPS than fly with them. So yes, I missed my flight and had to hang out in the airport forever until the next one showed up. Thank goodness I have enough work to keep me occupied. But this is why I am buying a Priority Pass as soon as I can afford one! I spend so much time in airports, I really need to have access to lounges, and not on a day pass. Ugh.

Random Miami statue

This window was insanely colourful. There’s really no excuse for this.

Best thing I’ve seen. Ever.

Anyways, eventually I got to Houston and thank God my hotel was divine. The Hotel Derek (which I kept calling Dexter) is where Don Draper stays when he’s in Texas. I was so happy, I spent most of the time in my room listening to Ella F. and working, which was perfect. But, I did go to dinner with some girls in Sandbox on the first night at everyone’s favourite Texas restaurant, Pappadeaux. I finally had my seafood etouffee, thus completing my Cajun trifecta begun on Mardi Gras weekend. The lobster bisque and pineapple mojitos there are also amazing, and the oysters were the biggest any of us had ever seen. Then we went for drinks at Boheme, which is one of the coolest little places is in Tejas. Perfect for outdoor socializing on a warm summer’s eve. The next night I ate at Capital Grille with a group of our amazing Executive Directors. This was a Texas meal if I’ve ever had one. The steaks were ginormous and there was nary a vegetable to be seen. I had a blast and am well on the way to not losing weight ever again.

Wall of art at Hotel Derek. Other awesomeness? TV in the fireplace. Oh yeah.

Mmmmmm… etouffee.

I have got to get one of these.

Funny thing about Houston? The cab drivers here take credit cards but by “take credit cards” they mean they swipe them in those old-fashioned carbon paper thingies and then you have to sign it like a check and then they pull out the world’s oldest flip phones and call a number and enter all of the digits and find out whether it’s approved or not. It is hi-larious. I discovered the second half of this process because one of the cab drivers stopped me and said my card wasn’t approved. I said it’s a corporate card, it has to be. He tried again and it went through and I later got an email saying he had entered the wrong number. Which is what happens when you’re entering 25 numbers into a phone you stole from the ATT Museum.

So that was Houston. I am now on my way to Austin, which could not make me happier because a) Austin is amazing and b) it’s SxSW! Woohoo! I’ve never been before and can’t wait to jump into the madness. Everyone is going and I am so excited to get to hang out with amazing people from both Teach For America and Sandbox and other random awesome people from all over. I’ll also be hosting a happy hour for our alums and having meetings with all kinds of interesting people for the five days I’m there. Plus lots of bbq and random bands. I can’t wait!

For now though, I have plenty of work to do and plenty of hours in which to do it.

C’est la vie,



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