Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Keep Common Sense Alive

So you are coming to the 10/30 Jon Stewart March on Washington?

Posted by Rational Ray Bradley on September 23, 2010 at 4:43pm
View Rational Ray Bradley's Blog.

by Rational Ray Bradley

Herein a visitors' guide. I will be updating it daily. Please post any issues you want addressed or researched.

I am told (but did not check, because that would require effort, and I'd rather pontificate on things from my comfortable office) that hotels are very full. If one stays at interstate hotels (try those along the Richmond Highway in Alexandria or Fairfax County, but bear in mind that an actual interstate hotel is not located on, or near, the actual interstates. This is DC, not Topeka. Red Roof Inn ain't settin' up shop on I-66, rent's too high) you can get a room for $40-80 a night. But you will be dependent on driving into DC, not using a subway or bus, as you will be beyond the public transit system's reach, which, quite frankly, can't be reasonably expected considering that half the towns you might be staying in didn't even exist 50 years ago, or were nothing more than whistle-stops and truck depots. For instance, Gainesville, Virginia. I used to go through Gainesville when I was a kid on my way down to my uncle's farm in southern Virginia. Gainesville had a grain elevator, a quarry, and a couple of gas stations. Maybe a gun store. As of 1980, it was nothing more than a couple of traffic lights on the way to Charlottesville. It now has several monsterous shopping centers, housing developments and a Wegman's. Have you ever BEEN to a Wegman's? Seriously, they're totally the best grocery stores. Get their fudge or go mental in their bakery.

If you stay in the city proper, prepare to pay as much money in hotel fees per night as you do for your car. DC is small area for a big city, and has so many building restrictions due to the panoramic vistas of the Federal core, the developers can't build vertically like they can in Chicago or New York. It's also built on a lot of old swamp land, so they can't build down, like Zion in "The Matrix" movies. So, the available real estate is more expensive than you'd imagine. Therefore, the hotels in the city's core have to charge rents that feel more like you landed on the Yellow Block with Hotels in Monopoly. Still, many of the hotels are quite nice, and realize that with expensive fees comes a higher expectation of service. The doormen will usually help you get a cab, if you require, and I think it's a law that all of the hotels have to have a Starbucks in them.

So this is mainly a list of free, cheap, good, bad, and safe or unsafe things.

Free and Coffee

One can get free wifi access in many parts of DC: any Starbucks (and often any restaurant adjacent to Starbucks, because one of the cool things about wireless that Tea Baggers don't understand is that the signal can totally go through walls and shit); most Barnes & Noble bookstores (which usually contain a Starbucks, which again I think is a law); Caribou Coffee (another chain, though it restricts your access to "adult" sites including some FaceBook functions and you can't hit up www.llamaporn.com because Caribou's major investor is Red Cresent Ventures, at one time the 2nd largest Islamic-based venture capital firm in the world, and they've got those pesky morals, and really, if you're that damned lonely that you're gonna fill your spank bank at a coffee shop, ew, and go back to the Tea Party); Illy's (at New Hampshire Avenue and M Streets NW), which also has the best coffee...but don't hate on Mayorga's or Quartermaine, either. If you find yourself in Old Town Alexandria, called such because it's the old Colonial-era part and not the ridiculously sprawly part of the town called "not Old Town Alexandria," there's Misha's, and the nearby Buzz Bakery and St. Elmo's Coffee Pub. No, that's not the setting of "St. Elmo's Fire" you BratPack fiends. That's a douchey bar in Georgetown.
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Cheap Eats:

Silver Diner

3200 Wilson Bouelvard

Arlington, VA

and other locations see: www.silverdiner.com

[Clarendon metro stop, Blue and Orange line)

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