Monday, 31 March 2008

On.....the back bay, DC and the law

The flight to Boston was via a Grayhound coach ride to Buffalo (a city I had vowed never to return to after I visited last year). We got to the airport in very good time but during check-in my duffel bag weighed the size of a crudely severed body and I had to painfully part with $20 in excess baggage charges. Interestingly as I went through security, the lady who checked my passport advised me that I had been selected by my airline to go through an additional screening.

It is my experience that where one has nothing to hide, the best way to deal with such situations is to grin and do exactly as you are told. Even your grin has to be gauged at just the right width so as not to appear too cocky. Don’t grin at all and you look like a moody terrorist. Anyway, I wondered casually why my airline had awarded me with such a dubious accolade. Is it because I is black? Who cares? One can never be too careful these days and it gave me a paradoxical comfort to know that dodgy looking people like me were being screened thoroughly. My shaggy, slightly dreadlocked, beard could perhaps do with a trim I thought as the TSA official frisked me doggedly. I suppose that it was also very reckless of me to still be donning the hotel towel that I had wrapped around my head that morning after my shower. You would have thought that someone would have pointed it out to me during the three hour trip from Toronto. I dunno. I suppose the declaration “Sir you have a damp towel wrapped around your head” could be construed as an overtly racist statement these days.

Boston itself was beautiful. I stayed at a charming hotel called The Colonnade which is in the Back Bay area of Boston. There is a neighbourhood feel to the city and walking down the wide, lamposted streets you get the impression that everybody knows your name. As a matter of fact someone should write a sitcom to highlight this neighbourhood aspect of Boston as the backdrop. They could use, I dunno, a bar or pub as the central setting and just have a bunch of people yammering all day about anything and everything. I tell you that sitcom would be a smash hit. What’s that you say? Cheers for the suggestion? Most welcome.

Boston and Washington are separated by some 450 miles of road. The drive is one that takes about eight hours on most days. It is a trip that falls very neatly into two halves. The first four hours allows you to navigate through the lush redness of New England foliage. The journey takes you through Connecticut and you end up in New York. The second half is in sharp contrast to the first as it is all industrial concrete from New York to New Jersey to Pennsylvania to DC.
D.C is a weird little place and I do mean little. It is divided into four quadrants and measures merely about ten miles in radius from north to south, east to west. I was hosted and dined by my dear friend Kulutempa who also acted as an unwilling tour guide. I found it strange that some of the more historic buildings are merely yards away from low income housing projects and ghettoes. It is also a city which appears to have a surfeit of crack-heads in its population. I lost track of the number of times that I was approached for a dollar. A dollar to a crack-head is that magical amount that will get him one step closer to his fix.

The high of my DC experience was immediately followed by a low. The high was my brief nocturnal meeting with a fellow blogger which I had hoped would be for longer. When I say that she has a feline strut then I am sure you will know who I mean. She is as witty and delightfully sardonic as she appears on her page not to mention sexy as hell. The one and a half hours we spent enjoying a drink before being kicked out was certainly a paean of rapturous note. On the way back I encountered a distasteful incident with DC’s finest when I was pulled over for no apparent reason. Unclear of my legal rights in this country (and having watched one too many movies) I suddenly became very meek and did not dare to ask why I had been stopped. They spotted my uncertainty and used this to nourish their nightly enjoyment. I was grilled for a further half an hour as they seemed to find the idea of a guy on a road trip a bit too incredulous. As they continued their questioning I relaxed and realised I had nothing to hide. I was not an illegal, I had a valid license and I was not inebriated. Surely the basic human rights that I was entitled to in England were equally applicable in Washington D.C (or indeed anywhere else in the free world). They sensed the slow transformation in me from rabbit to eagle and let me go with apologies.

In California now and heading to the Nevada desert. There is so much to report on the intervening trip (including another run in with the cops) that I will dedicate another post to that.

30 comments:

Afolabi said...

first..yay..sigh...lol...Your road trip seems like you're having the best time--the adventure, and its really cool you met catwalq (I think).

UndaCovaSista said...

Good to hear you're having fun. Still jealous tho'...

Lol@ the dreadlocked beard. I was in Mcdonalds this evening with a friend and witnessed a really funny sight. The guy frying the fries was Asian and had a long beard which he had neatly tucked into a net suspended from behind each of his ears. Too funny!

UndaCovaSista said...
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classybabe said...

Lol,did u really forget a towel on your head?!Wish i could go on a road trip myself,but i got no adventurous bone in my body

kulutempa said...

"married man at howard" eh? you will explain yasef...

Jaja said...
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Jaja said...

I refused to leave a comment on your last post. I was jealous. Someone was living my dream and telling it to me. I came off the post feeling breathless and forgot to wish you well.

Happy Birthday... It may be past now I guess but hopefully not too far..

You must be having a blast!

Am waiting to hear about your Casino waka in Nevada. safe, bro.

P.S
Be there rendezvous-ing with Catwalq till I catch two of you.

30+ said...

What! Damp towel on the head, well you tempted the port officials and they fell - lol

Be safe, over and out

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Since I know I am not the witty and sexy blogger you are talking about I will just tell you, the next time you have an encounter with the law, tell them you have a lawyer and contact me. lol! Cops must have 'reasonable cause' to stop you.

I heard that you came into town and am saddened that I didn't get to meet you, but am glad you had a good time in our neck of the woods. Enjoy the west coast!!!!

NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

Naapali said...

"I found it strange that some of the more historic buildings are merely yards away from low income housing projects and ghettoes. It is also a city which appears to have a surfeit of crack-heads in its population. I lost track of the number of times that I was approached for a dollar. A dollar to a crack-head is that magical amount that will get him one step closer to his fix."

True talk about the proximity of the high and mighty to the low and dirty. Crackheads are quite good at economics and have priced their demands quite well. A dollar is just high enough to get them closer to their goal but low enough that you would not mind terribly parting with it.

So I take it you went to the National Zoo and spent some time in the tiger enclosure? Or where else did u see cats walk?

Ms. Catwalq said...

am going on a road trip....the minute I learn howto drive..

so sorry to hear that those lazy heiffers were on your case. You did not tell them who you knew in town?

And Naapali,I see your technique ehn-ehn..... it's on!!!!!
I have taken off my gloves men. No more nice girl.

Aspiring nigerian woman said...

wow. you are living my dream...actually I have done the road trip in the U.S; very exhausting though. You met Catwalq?... you did you feel like you had already met her?

aworan said...

Hope your having a great road trip...

Zephi Fahrenheit said...
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Zephi Fahrenheit said...

pls tell me that the towel thing was a joke..just tell me..lol
naapali, is so silly

"where else did you see cats walk"

lmao

Naapali said...

Catwalq: I beg no vex oh. I'd hate for you to slap me with your silk gloves :-)

OluwaDee said...

Lol! u had a wet towel tied round ur head from ur hotel 2 d airpotr. lmao.

Ms. Catwalq said...

Naapali: I forgive you....

u r too cute anyways

fantasy queen said...

dreadlocked beard? did that come about from too much thinking? like twisting while thinking...oh whatever

off to sleep, at least there i can go on my own road trip too(without the stress), maybe we might meet at a diner somewhere.
see you around!

Waffarian said...

Shuooooooo, this trip never end? haba! I have been waiting for the "cops episode" ever since you embarked on your adventure...waiting for the rest gist! meanwhile, we gats to yarn."Holler" wey u get time!(incase u don dey yarn americana)

Onome said...

a towel round ur head shawty.....u for real???(lol)..well its good that u're travelling and having interesting experiences....waiting for your update:D

Jaycee said...

Lolll...did ur dreadlocked beard look as bad as Osama Bin Laden's? I have also been introduced to the additional scrunity camp myself before...lol. (I was mad, but secretly hoping no one slipped crack into my hand-luggage!). Lol. How could u still have a damp towel wrapped around ur head? I don't quite understand that part...lolllll.

Exactly the same thoughts I have abt crack-heads in DC, any dollar u give is pushing them closer and closer to their next fix. It's really bad!

Hope u don't run into the cops again. What's with the attraction?

Bunmmy said...

i'll really like to see/ meet you some day. Have fun!

Lighty said...

at least some1 is aving fun. trust mi, i'll give a finger to av as much adventure as u r aving right now. enjoy anjoy, and keeping updating.
i love ur blog already, can't believe i've never been here.

Carlang said...

Is it legal to leave a comment on a post you're extremely jealous off.

And i mean Extremely.
Boston.
Cops.
Washington.
Bums.
Cats with sexy bums.

I cant take it anymore.
I think i'll have to sign out so i can scream.


Happy Birthday though.
Have fun.

So update already.
What else happened?
Spill the rest of the juice.
Why the silence?
WHat?

Cat got your tounge?

Ekoakete said...

Have fun on your road trip! Hope you steer clear of any more cops :) And if you don't, dakun, biko, da Allah... just keep your hands where they can see 'em!

TheAfroBeat said...

Pele about the pull-over o. I definitely feel you on that meekness that takes over when you're not sure of your rights...quite frustrating in retrospect. Glad you enjoyed Boston though...I trust California will get you really excited.

Happy Travels!

guerreiranigeriana said...

police suck!!!...so you came for my side and never rang me?!...

Abbie said...

ha! You did visit the nation's capital. Because you are a tourist, I'll give you the benefit of doubt but your portrayal of DC is off. Pity, you didn't get to see the better, impressive part of DC. With the cops?? All you had to do was bat your eyes and they would have asked for your number, harrased you for a date and sent you on your merry way.

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