As another week passes, I think I’m at a weird cross-over phase between feeling at home in DC and still feeling like this is a vacation. The humidity is one thing I didn’t really expect, I enjoy the sun – we don’t see it often enough in Scotland – but here the humidity can make the simplest walk feel like a trek across Death Valley. Although, with it now being September I’m looking forward to my first ‘Fall’ in the States.
This week I sampled the delights of one of DC’s most illustrious institutions, Ben’s Chilli Bowl. Located on the infamous U street, Ben’s Chilli Bowl has remained unchanged in an area and a city that us underwent many over the last X years. Regular clientele ranges from your average blue-collar worker to Presidents and Prime Ministers. And that’s what makes it the place it is.
Throughout the decades and incidents, it’s been there. The 1950s seen jazz greats such as Nat King Cole and Miles Davis play along the street, the 1960s seen riots after the assignation of Martin Luther King Jr, the 1970s and 80s seen the decline of the area and increase in drug problems, the 1990s seen the arrival of the Metro and the 2000s further regeneration of the area. Throughout it all, Ben’s has stood there, forever unchanging – it’s a place where good service and good food is their prime concern.
It was also frickin’ delicious.
Another secret to DC which I’ve quickly become accustomed is that of Brunch. We have brunch back home, however brunch is superior in DC for one primary reason; bottomless mimosas. For as little as $10 (The Pug, H Street), you can enjoy some refreshing champagne with a splash of OJ all afternoon long (provided you get some food – try the Breakfast burrito!). For a slightly more up market location, Southern Hospitality in Adam’s Morgan does the same deal for $15. If you go during college football season, expect the place to be packed with Clemson fans.
It’s not all about the cuisine culture though, although I really feel like I should pay some sort of compliment to the food trucks outside Gelman… another time.
The academic side of the exchange has also been an enthralling one. Being a political science student my subject are all general in that area, from ‘President’s at War’ to ‘Media, Politics and Government’ – they all offer unique insight into our modern world and moreover, they look at how they are applied in practise, instead of just theory – which is a welcome change to how my home institution general teaches.
The knowledge and calibre of professors here at GW is also impressive. You can’t really beat being taught about how media and press operate together, than by being taught by a former White House correspondent!
Next semester I’m eagerly looking forward to an internship, which could be at a number of the unbelievable places which GW has connections with, being so close to the political elite here in Washington.
So, it’s all go but I’ll be sure to keep you informed!