Wednesday, January 2, 2013

City Walking and Memories

Today I left momma and daddy's house to spend the next few days exploring DC and catching up with friends.

(View from the restaurant in the hotel)

This is the first time I have ever stayed in a hotel alone. AND it is fabulous!!!! Yes, I love being with people, but I truly relish solitude and alone time! Such a sweet gift, especially before returning back to Panama where I'll hit the ground running.

Today as I was walking around, I was reminded of so many things about city walking. Memories that I had shoved to the back of my brain files and were pulled back out. Yes, I was the cheese walking through Pentagon City area tonight with a smile on my face as I remembered.

I also LOVE me some people watching! It is fascinating to me to observe people and wonder what their story is (in a non-creepy, non-stalker sort of way!)

Here are some of the things I remembered and/or observed:
* Zig-zag walking according to the Walk sign. You urbanites know what I am talking about!
* You will look like a tourist if you carry around a map. Therefore, I planned all my walking routes before leaving my room so as to avoid this conundrum. Yes, I am a nerd. I want to "fit it" as much as possible and not draw attention to myself (This does not work as well in Panama. I need a dark tan, chocolate colored contacts, but THIS is why I dye my hair. And well, to cover the  gray!)
* Most pedestrians will not make eye contact (forgot about this one!)
* Yes, women will walk in the official, noise-making heeled type shoes and seem like their feet are not hurting. Y'all know what kind of shoes I'm talking about? I love wearing those kind of shoes, they make me feel like a grownup. Too bad I can usually only last for a little while. (Thus the extra pair of shoes in my office!)
* The cold that bites at your face, while the rest of you is toasty! Perfect amount of cold air!
* The smell of exhaust (don't miss this!!!!!)
* If you walk at the right speed, you will hit nearly all of the Walk signals dead on! (I remember timing the Walk sign right outside of the H5 Kitchen in college!!!)
* More people were on headphones, not cell phones. This was surprisingly to me. I even saw one girl reading her Kindle while walking. Impressed!
* The street lights at dusk
* Parking meters everywhere
* Taxis lined up
* Surprised at the lack of honking - I only heard two!
* Assessing traffic to know when to walk even if you don't have the Walk sign.
* Getting excited when you arrive at your destination without pulling out a map.
* Never knowing what you will find walking along on the sidewalk

* Hearing so many languages all around you. (Love that)
* Sirens (hearing one right now - they sound different than Chicago sirens)
* Constant postings about vehicles being towed if you park in the right spot
* Tourist attraction blue signs
* City condos and apartments (think Gold Coast area, Chicagoites!)

I'm sure there are more things, but this is what I can recall now.

I was reminded of sweet times in Chicago, specifically. City life offers so many fun aspects. Not sure I'm ready to go back to this type of urban living, but there is a uniquely appealing aspect to it!

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