When I traveled to Bethesda, Maryland last week for the Malice Domestic convention, I had no idea I was going to use a world famous method of transportation. Automobile, plane, and trains took me most of the journey, and there were pleasant surprises along the way.
I rarely travel by myself. When I do, I tend to imagine I am on a grand adventure. Maybe that's my coping method for the stresses of navigating strange places.
My husband drove me to DIA - Denver International Airport. Maybe I can't call my first observation unexpected, because I have traveled through the airport many times, and have seen this before. Embedded in the airport floors are dinosaurs. Not real ones. Shiny metal images.
I had to smile. The reason I was making this trip was partially to promote my novel Stone Cold Dead - A Rock Shop Mystery. Dinosaur fossils are part of my story.
I arrived at the Reagan International Airport on time, and now had choices to make about how to get to the hotel. A woman on my flight had assured me that the subway was a safe method of transportation.
For a small town girl like me, taking the subway seemed daring. An adventure. I made my way to the Metro station. I was certain big city, East coast people were all rude and in a hurry. With trepidation, I asked an obviously seasoned local how to operate the ticket dispensing machine. He explained the process to acquire a ticket, and which line to take. Everything is remarkably simple and color-coded.
I had to make a transfer, and managed to find my way to the correct train, going the correct direction. Confident I was not going to get lost, I relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
The Metro was humid, warm, and dark. Maryland might consider a mushroom farm in the subway tunnels. I snapped photos like the tourist I was. No one seemed to mind. In the Washington D. C. vicinity, they are used to tourists.
Then I turned a corner, and saw the most remarkable escalator. I snapped a photo, but sadly it did not turn out. Here are links to photos of the longest escalator in the Western hemisphere:
I stepped on with my bags. The escalator rolled up, up, and up some more. I didn't know escalator etiquette. You are supposed to stand to the right so more ambitious people can race up all 230 feet on the left. I shuffled to the side to allow the sprinters to pass.
The ride is so amazingly long, a reporter wrote an article about things to do while you're riding the longest escalator in the Western hemisphere:
I arrived in Bethesda. I had no idea how to get from the Metro station to the hotel, so I approached a couple musicians. The two gentlemen placed an open guitar case on the ground and prepared to perform in the subway.
"Can you tell me how to get to this hotel?" I held out a printout with the address of the Hyatt.
"That's a real nice place," one said.
"See that elevator?" the other said. "It'll take you right there."
I thanked them, tossed a dollar in the guitar case, and wheeled my bag away. I went up the elevator and was deposited nearly at the door of the hotel.
A banner announced the Malice Domestic convention. I made it!
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