Jun 1, 2004

Memorial Day Weekend

Friday evening all of us took the metro up to the Ballston area and had dinner at a Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant. It was good, but not great. It was nice to hang out, but on the way back, we were all so tired that the metro ride was not entirely fun.

Saturday was relaxing. I slept in and chilled for most of the day. Frank and I did some shopping and later went down to Old Town Alexandria. The place was packed!! It is a street with lots of restaurants and shops. Since the WWII dedication events were going on, there were tons of people and bikers in town. There were bikes parked up and down the street. It was pretty cool! Lots of rough looking, good old, proud Americans. The only thing I could do without is the thunder from the bikes, but I guess it would not be right without it. We went to another Mexican joint and it was much better than the place we went to Friday night. The food was good and very reasonably priced. They also provided us with very good service. The fact that they were all Mexican was a plus – I was confident that the food would be good.

I went to the new church I was interested in on Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t exactly jazzed by the experience and I felt empty afterward. When the service was over, I looked at my watch and the service at the other church, CrossPoint DC, was just getting started. I hopped in my car and drove about three miles to CrossPoint and made it there just before the pastor started his message. It felt good to walk in there and sit down. The message was good and the music was excellent. After the service I joined everyone for snacks and some of the people invited me to go to the WWII memorial. We carpooled in several cars to get there (thank GOD! I surely don’t know my way around the mall area.) On the way I discovered that two people in the car also work at the office with me… small world! Let me tell you, the planners and designers did a great job. The memorial is a beautiful piece of art. It was nighttime and the lighting was very good. There must have been several hundred people milling about. There were still plenty of veterans handing out and it was good to see them. I wish I would have had my camera, but since it was dark and I had no tripod, it was okay. I will have to make it out again to snap some pictures.

Three of us went to grab a bite after visiting the memorial. My new friends, James and Scott, and I went to a burger joint and I had a very yummy bacon cheeseburger and a blueberry shake. I wish I knew where it was so that I could go there again, but Scott will be able to tell me. Scott is in the Army and is a member of the “Old Guard.” He does special assignments (I think that’s what he said.) He told us that on Monday, he and his comrades were going to line the route of the President and his motorcade as they make their way to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. I got there but after I walked very quickly uphill for what seemed like a long time, I learned that the ceremony was closed to us mere lowly people. I did see Scott while he was standing at attention on the road though. I stuck near the President’s route and snapped some shots of the cemetery itself. Soldiers from the Old Guard place more than 240,000 US flags on the graves. It is quite a sight to see all the flags lined up. I got some very cool pictures. The President finally made it out of there and I was able to get a few shots of his motorcade. I think you can see Donald Rumsfeld in one car and Laura Bush in the other. They certainly haul butt down the street. They don’t waste any time getting from point A to point B.

I met up with James at Arlington and we went over to a ‘picnic’ with some other church members. It was supposed to be outside, but it was rainy and we had to have it indoors. They used an electric grill and it was so smoky inside! But the food was good and company was great. After that, we went to a gathering for People of the World – a group from the church. I believe that most of the folks there were Chinese. They had a BBQ of all meat. And when I say all meat, I mean it. There was really nothing else but meat there. Ribs, chicken, clams, pork chops, it was unbelievable! The just kept putting more meat on the grill… they took meat off and put more meat on. They were so friendly and it was sooo good. Definitely my kind of get together! I did take some pictures and will post them soon. After that, we went over to a graduation party and I ate a little bit more. More very nice people and good food. It was just such an awesome day, but man was I pooped! On top of it being a long day, we had to drive back to Alexandria in a torrential rain storm! They have had some very wet weather here in the past week or so. But it had kept the temperatures in the 70’s – not bad at all.

Tuesday was a very slow day – I was very tired from Monday and did a lot of reading. I also learned that Kenny and I were back on the 2nd shift. I was going to go to the church men’s group, but decided that I would need to go grocery shopping instead so that I could cook dinner to eat at work. Since I will be on nights now, I needed to finally make the jump and save money on food by cooking dinner. I also had the privilege of washing my clothes again. I can’t wait until I move into my apartment June 14th where I will be able to do laundry in my own place and don’t have to leave to keep checking on it. I now know that I will be on the 11th floor of the building – I wonder if I will have a view of anything good? Well, need to get to bed. I have to cook breakfast and dinner tomorrow morning.
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