Friday, westbound, bit by bit. The Metro, the bus to Dulles then, some interminable time after the vapid cheerful announcements-for-our-safety blared over humorless lines of travelers, laptops out, shoes in hand, I’ll be airborne again.

DC’s been okay to me, but I’m ready to go home. All honesty? I was done yesterday.

Wasn’t as bad as I’d made it sound, of course – you know how I tend to psyche myself out. Tuesday night at the reception, The Suit and I did just fine. Was charming as all hell, I’m sure, but talked way too much, as usual. At least I did – The Suit just followed along and tried to fit in.

Ended up at a Mexican restaurant with ICFJ staffers Vjollca, Patrick and Hans, drinking and swapping tales of life on the road. Note to self on playing oh-yeah-well-listen-to-this with international journalists: it’s a losing game, but it’s a hellaciously fun losing game. Yes, I had my share of stories, but wow – the tales I heard from “back when”. What it was like being a Albanian student studying journalism abroad – in Beijing. Or a German journalist masquerading as tour group translator in Albania (you’ll notice a theme here), learning bit-by-bit who all the putative “tourists” in his group really were. Have you ever imagined that such people existed? I know some you can talk to.

Was up late, and I knew I’d be exhausted the next day, but I just didn’t want the evening to end. Somewhere along the line, The Suit took a direct hit from a flying bowl of salsa launched by our waiter when he misjudged that last stair. Fodder for yet another round of “Oh – that reminds me of the time I was…”
Wednesday: more meetings, still trying to get all the pieces of an as-yet-undefined puzzle together. Dinner with a fellow Antarctica enthusiast, and then… then I was completely peopled out. Figured I would kick back and see a movie or walk the mall, but y’know? Curling up in a corner of my hotel room was working just fine for me, so I decided not to mess with it. I’d been “on” for three days straight and needed a break.

Yesterday? Mostly a blur – I know I talked with a lot of people. Spent time on the phone discussing the implications of penguin poop for satellite imagery. I kid you not.

Which brings me to now. Westbound on the 5A to Dulles. Next dispatch, from the Left Coast, I can pretty much guarantee it.

[p.s.: dig The Suit (pre-salsa)]

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