Number of days on the road: 38
Number of miles traveled in the car: 8,565
Items lost on the trip: 2 (the US folding map and my neti pot – not bad!)
Movies that we saw: WADJDA (wonderful Saudi Arabian film; see previous entry); THE BUTLER (hotel purchase – powerful and timely); NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (TV flick – a classic I remember from college that Arturo had never seen; I looked up all the characters on the internet as they appeared; for most, it was the role they were always remembered for…); DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (AMC theatre – excellent film about treatment in the early days of AIDS; Matthew McConaughey lost 45 pounds to play the part.)
TV shows that made us laugh: The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men (both broadcast in English in Mexico, but we continued to watch in the US).
In Texas, we got to visit Arturo’s son again, who shared his head cold with me. I treated it with Colloidal Silver (throat spray) and Oregonal; what could have been a wicked cold came and went in about 24 hours, I’m pleased to say.
We also visited some old friends of mine, Dexter and Jenny Sternberg, who treated us to a delicious breakfast last Sunday in their home near Waco, Texas. It was fun sharing the trip photos on my iPad, which I got totally addicted to on the trip (camera, emails, GPS, reading the NY Times, looking everything up online, etc.)
That day we drove out of Texas, through Louisiana, and into Mississippi.
And the next day from Mississippi through Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia.
Our ridiculous arguments continued, followed by The Silent Treatment (my favorite – NOT). Now that we were back on home territory, the option to just head the hell home – and fast – became a reality. So instead of visiting my dear friends Mary and Tony again in NC and going to Washington DC as planned, we got in the car at 4 AM in Atlanta (it wasn’t that hard to leave; the drain in the sink did not work at all, which is one of my worst pet (gonna barf in my mouth if I think about it more) peeves. Got to see my first sunrise in awhile THAT day.
But as the miles flew by, and a certain person came out of his cave, we made a last minute decision to go to Washington DC after all. It is such a wonderful place full of free things to do, and it being the capital of our nation, always seemed like a fitting last stop on a southern road trip before Home. (I remember doing this with a van full of Purnellies in 1981 after the inaugural Cross Cultural Express.)
Turned out to be the perfect stop. We stayed at a really nice hotel in Arlington, VA, which, for $139 included a lovely breakfast AND dinner, a spacious room with a full kitchen (think microwave AND dishwasher), sitting area, really nice bathroom (with drains that ran free and clear) and a king size bed 😉 The next day, which was yesterday actually, we visited the Lincoln Memorial (which Arturo had never seen), the Viet Nam Memorial (which he had never seen), the Korean Memorial (which neither of us had ever seen, and here was a case for the iPad — why WAS the Korean war fought anyway? Now I know!)
But the best stop was at the new (2010) Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which I didn’t even know existed. In the distance, we could see a light-colored, mountain like form, and from the map we could see it was for MLK, Jr. It was a beautiful blue-sky day and we walked over, entering into a space that overlooks the water, with a gargantuan sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. emerging from the mountain of rock. There were about ten eloquent quotes by him carved into granite walls; here are some:
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation: and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
“It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all preached LOVE. It is easy, really, to talk about love and peace in the Big Picture, but living it inside myself, living it in an intimate relationship, well, that is where the intention and daily work come in. And that’s pretty much what Arturo and I talked about, as we made a recommitment to our relationship, to staying current with communication, to recognizing that it takes two to get into an argument, but only one to help the other one out. We promised we would remind each other to REMEMBER what we were feeling at that moment in the sunshine.
So we ended on a beautiful high note, had a spicy hot dog on the mall, and spent a couple of hours in the Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden before heading home. I dropped Arturo off at his place around 8:30 last night with his share of the dirty clothes, and continued to fully unload the car here, smiling as I unwrapped the souvenirs from the Mexican newspapers, discovering a couple of pesos on the backseat that we had meant to trade in in Laredo.
My dear Avery stopped over for awhile and I got to tell him some of the funnier stories — and I can see already that the trip is going to take on a sheen that will only improve with time.
I said to Avery, “I would never go on that trip again, but I am very, very glad that I did. I guess that’s why they call it a Once in a Lifetime Experience, right?”