Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Washington, DC

Seeing the monuments, museums and buildings in Washington, DC make one depressingly aware how relatively small is ones own city.

I don't think I'm sticking my neck out when I say that there is no city with more classically beautiful architecture than Washington, DC.

Even more impressive is that beyond the central hub of white stone are very nice, 20-story or so buildings in the style of something you'd see on de Maisonneuve Blvd. or McGill College St. in Montreal.

My impression of Washington before visiting was of a nice city with a nasty outer area where everyone gets murdered eventually. Instead, I found a relatively clean city at its outer limits. And no one was shot when I there.

Perhaps the air-conditioned public buses help calm people's passion. It's difficult to stay angry at your fellow commuter when you're enjoying a cool bus ride. Unlike Montreal, people in suits get to work without feeling the need for another showing. And a sign (and pre-recorded voice) announces the next stop.

(Note the Montreal transit authority: If you want people to ride the bus and leave their cars at home, make the experience pleasurable.

Invest in air-conditioned buses and more people will use them in summer -- if for no other reason that to stay cool on really hot days.)

Apart from the architecture and public transit, Washingtonians appear to be very well-read, if the number of newspapers are an indication.

I will write more about my trip to Washington (and Boston, Philadelphia, and Gettysburg). For the moment, I'll simply say: go. It's worth the trip.

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