Saturday, May 7, 2011

An Adventure in DC (the getting there and back)

John doesn't begin his new job for another week or so, and Taylor had off of school Friday so we thought it might be a good day to make a trip to the ZOO! We live fairly close, yet have never been. I know you can just "hop on the metro" as I've been told, but it's not nearly as easy as it sounds, especially with children.

We began the day pretty early....6 am to be exact. We did what we had to do to get ready for the trip, then it was 7:30 and we realized we were too late to take the VRE. So we drove (through rush hour traffic) to the Vienna Metro. We were blessed to find a very nice lady walking out of the parking garage who pointed out an excellent spot for us. She said, "a great spot like that.....that never happens!". We thanked her profusely.

A very kind stranger.

We got to the Metro ticket machines and stood there like a couple of chimps. That machine was so complicated, we knew we'd never figure it out by ourselves and still get to the zoo before closing. So we asked a Metro worker for help. He seemed irritated at first, but quickly softened up and showed much patience with us when he saw how thankful we were. And boy were we thankful!

Another very kind stranger.

We boarded the train and Evan was so excited and nervous. I could see Alexa and Sky grinning, too. Other passengers boarded and they were clearly not as thrilled at this ride as we were. And somewhere in their daily commute, most of them lost their sense of humor and possibly their ability to smile. That's okay, though. Evan was havin' a blast and would say, "weeeeeee!" as we moved along the metro rail. We tried to shush him a bit, but then I thought, "so what, he's not being too loud and he's having a blast. Some of these people could take a lesson from him". He sat with Taylor and she helped to entertain him with games on her ipod. Thank goodness because it was about 30 minutes until we had to switch from the orange to the red line.....or was it red to orange?

When we got off the metro to switch to the other line, we had to make a bathroom run. We looked around but couldn't find one, so we followed everyone else, went out through the exit and headed towards the escalator.

It was the steepest and longest escalator I have ever, ever seen! It was seriously intimidating. They don't usually bother me, but this one did.

John took Alexa's hand, I took Evan's and the other girls just stood by themselves.

About half way up, some yayhoo comes barreling up my right side, shoves into me forcing me to let go of the rail. I lost my balance but fell forward, thank goodness, instead of back. He was an older, larger man and he was sternly mumbling something along the lines of, "I need to get through here, sorry, but I need to get through". I said, "What the heck?!". Then I grabbed the rail again. Within seconds, a very rude 50-something woman pushed past me, on the right again forcing me to let go of the rail and lose my balance. She, like the man, also pushed past my two daughters and John, holding Alexa's hand (forcing him to let go).

As she did this, she very rudely said, "Keep to the right, you're in Washington!!!!". I just thought, enough is enough. So I started shouting random things at them such as "If you're going to run, then take the freakin' stairs!!!" and "Could you be more rude?!!!" I shouted a few more things that I probably shouldn't have, and I won't repeat. (sorry mom)

At my little freakout, no one else attempted to pass us.

If I had been told kindly that this was how things are done on the escalators in DC and could we please move to the side, I would have done so willingly and SAFELY. But quite frankly,......."unwritten rule" or not, it's rude. It's dangerous. It's selfish. I don't care if you do this every day and you're busy, busy, busy and we are in your way. If you see a 4 year old boy, holding his mommy's hand and gripping the railing on a very steep escalator and you rudely push past, you are pathetic and there is no excuse for that behavior. You are probably the same person who sits in the isle seat on the metro, not moving in to let someone else sit down.

Two very rude strangers.

Yeah, we witnessed people doing that, too. They sit on the isle part of the seat, not letting anyone else sit beside them. They don't seem to care that others are standing, as long as they get two seats to themselves. Really people?!

More rude strangers.


After the bathroom run, we needed to get back on the metro to get to the zoo. There was no money left on our cards to do so. It seems you can't exit the metro to use the bathroom, before you reach your destination, or it totally nixes your trip. Nice.

So we talked to a person working at that metro station, and explained our situation. She was very kind and told us to just tell the metro worker at the next stop what had happened. We thanked her and then boarded the train.

Another very kind stranger.

We had no trouble at the next station, as we exited, because the metro worker was completely understanding and let us through without a problem.

Another kind stranger.


Finally, we are so close to the zoo! Well, not really close close, but closer than we've been all morning. We had to walk 4 or 5 blocks up the street to get to the zoo entrance. ugh. But it was a gorgeous day and despite the honking of horns and people on the road getting irritated with each others driving, we were able to take in the beauty of the area.....the flowers, the architecture, the sunny day.

NOW we are at the ZOO!!!

(I will do a whole separate post about the fun at the zoo itself, because it was a blast, and I took lots and lots of pictures that I can't wait to share. But this post is about the adventure in just getting to and from the Zoo. Who knew that would be an adventure in and of itself?! Certainly not me.)


When we left the zoo, after all that walking around the zoo (it's HUGE), we were exhausted.....and our feet hurt. We walked the 4 or 5 blocks back to the Metro (taking turns carrying Evan because he was just "done") and were once again confused by the crazy metro ticket machines.


there HAS to be a simpler way to get a ticket to ride the subway! Someone needs to get on that, like yesterday.


As we stood there, yet again, like a couple of chimps....or chumps....fumbling around with this machine, a kind man noticed our struggle and offered to help. He was just a man, perhaps a commuter, but he was very knowledgeable about these mind-boggling-machines-from-hell. We were so incredibly thankful. He helped us through every step of this trying process and didn't part ways with us until he was sure we had our tickets. Really, as exhausted as we were, that was an angel, an angel I tell you, right there before us. I could practically see his halo.

We thanked him immensely, then proceeded onto the train.

Another kind stranger.


The rest of the trip home was rather uneventful, except we needed another bathroom run during metro train switch and learned our lesson about not going out the "turn styles", so we asked a metro employee what to do. He begrudgingly guided us to a rather nasty "emergency"bathroom, but it still served its purpose and we moved on

(after ample hand sanitizer usage).
Another kind stranger? (yeah, I suppose...not the cheeriest, but kind enough)

Evan fell asleep on my lap on the metro ride home. We got to our van, then headed into what John refers to as "hellacious traffic".

It wasn't as bad as he had predicted, especially for that time of day, and we saved time by using the HOV lanes, too. We reached our home, exhausted, happy, and full of memories made. We talked to the kids about their favorite parts of the day, and their favorite animals etc. I'm sure they had an amazing and memorable time.

We slept very well that night.

The rude people will not deter us from going to DC. Nopety nope. I'm sure they wish they would. But we encountered far more kind people on this trip than we did unkind. And their helpfulness and smiles will stick with us,

while those that were rude will be prayed for, and then most likely forgotten so as to not ruin the memories of this day.


I look forward to posting on the actual visit to the National Zoo. It is a wonderful place.

I hope you all are enjoying some adventures and time with family this weekend.




Grandma Jo said...

Sounds like this was very much a learning experience - in the ways of the world and the metro! Glad you made it through! I'm also glad the kind strangers outnumbered those not-so-kind ones so as not to deter you from further trips. LYAB!

Theresa said...

I felt bad for your trials but you have such a great way of expressing your thoughts and making a positive out of the negative....I'm still laughing at some of your discriptions! You need to start that book....