Sunday, July 26, 2009

Exploring D.C.’s Extra-Exurbs

This weekend, I decided to go beyond the museums and monuments of DC, to the Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah is roughly an hour and a half away from DC… an hour and a half assuming you don’t get lost. Of course, I got lost. HOWEVER, my lack of direction led me to meeting wonderful Virginians, and thus experiencing a little more of Virginia. For example, while in my lost state, I met a burly (and friendly) man with heavy duty suspenders. Unfortunately his sense of direction was not much better than mine, but together we figured out what road I should have been on and how to get there. Within this first encounter, Virginia’s multi-personalities exposed themselves. There is more than one Virginia indeed! I was flabbergasted the first time I heard that distinctive southern drawl, but then I remembered that yes, Virginia is in the South. It was still interesting to hear such a different accent in the same state as Crystal City, my residence for the last 7 weeks.

Moving on from the commute and the wonderful people I met, the landscape of Shenandoah was amazing. In mere car ride (relatively short car ride) I went from the hustle and bustle of DC to a tranquil park. Instead of buildings and fast walking political junkies, there were Mountains, trees, and skunks. During the day, I hiked up Old Rag. Although the Metro’s broken escalators (stairs) have been kicking my butt for the last couple weeks, hiking up boulders was quite the workout! I highly recommend traveling outside the city next time you get a chance.

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