The Lincoln Waffle Shop

Entry #17.1 / 3rd July 2022

Describing my slumber on the mountain-like feather-light pillows as merely peaceful would be an understatement. Whatever material the beds at The Generator are made of, I want to know their contact as soon as possible. That was hands down the best sleep I’ve had in months.

            Enjoying a bit of a lie-in, I gradually emerged from my sleepy state around ten to nine (which, given the early starts I have on camp days, felt like a luxury). Getting out of bed was a bit of a struggle initially, but duty called.

            After freshening up and preparing for the day, I couldn’t decide what I was more excited about: the sightseeing ahead or the prospect of returning to bed later tonight.

            When I said goodbye to Janette and Ryan the previous night, they mentioned they were planning a relaxing day at the hotel, and we agreed to meet up later. I was eager to explore the Capitol and let the day unfold.

            I’m not sure if it was the excitement of being in Washington DC or my determination from the night before, but I found myself embracing the solo-traveller spirit. After getting ready in comfortable clothes and light makeup, I left the hostel after ten and set off into the city.

            Before heading out, I searched for nearby breakfast spots and decided on Lincoln’s Waffle Shop, conveniently located in the same direction as the Capitol.

            Following the directions from Google Maps, I strolled through the streets and stumbled upon a food market along the way. Knowing that I’m probably going to have a very unhealthy weekend, I decided to buy an apple to eat on the way to the waffle shop and OH MY GOD!

            Hands down best apple I’ve had all year.

            ‘Bet that’s something you thought you would say.’ The responsible voice chimed in for the first time since…

            Huh. I thought, realising it was the first time either of two voices spoke up since I arrived in Washington DC.

            It wasn’t unusual for me to go without hearing the two opinionated voices chiming in. To be honest, as I got older, matured, and recovered, their appearances and opinions became rare. They would express themselves sporadically when a situation – whether emotional or humorous – arose, or during a creative project, and sometimes engage in minor arguments over trivial matters. However, because I’ve been so immerse in this new experience of coming to America, I hadn’t fully grasped that their constant opinions had become less frequent.

            And now they hadn’t piped up much was the new weird thing.

            If there was a hidden meaning to it, I couldn’t dwell on it too much at the moment, as my growling stomach, after finishing my apple, reminded me that I needed much more fuel to get through the day.

***

The Lincoln Waffle Shop was bustling with activity, evident from the line outside. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t too long, especially for me. Being a solo diner, I managed to secure a seat at the counter relatively quickly.

            Feeling the adventurous side of me come out, I decided to order waffles which, surprise surprise, I had never tried before. I’ve had pancakes, but waffles and French toast? I never tired either before coming to America. And I guess, looking back, there was really no opportunity to try either. I didn’t even have pancakes that much, just here and there.

            Turns out, waffles aren’t half bad. They may not rival my love for pancakes and French toast, and certainly don’t compete with a bacon and egg sandwich, but I wouldn’t turn one down if it were offered to me again.

            However, when I briefly lined up for the waffle shop, I noticed another queue across the street labelled “Ford’s Theatre.” I had no clue what that was, but I was intrigued. So, as I waited for my waffles, I looked up Ford’s Theatre.

            I think my jaw may have dropped when I realised that Ford’s Theatre was the location where President Lincoln was shot, and the Peterson House, directly opposite the theatre, was where he died.

            First of all, I had no freaking idea that the theatre he was at when he was shot was actually in Washington DC. I don’t know why, but I didn’t even really consider it was in Washington DC. Secondly, I literally had no idea that the theatre was basically a museum, along with the Peterson House.

            Thirdly, this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

            So, looking at the museum times for the next day, keeping in mind what time I would need to catch the bus back to NYC, I booked a slot for around nine thirty in the morning. It was around three dollars as well, so nothing overly expensive.

            Satisfied with my breakfast and for tomorrow’s plans, I paid for my food and set off for the rest of the day.

***

I didn’t have much of a direct plan for the day. I knew I wanted to see the Capitol, but anything else? I wasn’t sure, and to be honest, I didn’t want to overly plan my day either. Ryan advised me to see where the day took me, which was both a good and scary idea.

            I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going on. I like the known.

            I hate the unknown.

            But isn’t this the point of the Camp America experience? The point of travelling? To expect the unexpected. To walk into the unknown.

            So, I followed Google Maps towards the Capitol and would see where the day would take me from there.

            There wasn’t a lot to see, and at the same time, a lot to see along the way.

            I walked by the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building, where a dozen American flags waved in the breeze. Then, I passed the Archives of the United States of America, followed by the National Gallery of Art, which boasted a massive fountain out front that could rival the opening shots of FRIENDS. Next, I noticed the Canadian Embassy building. Finally, I was trekking past Union Square Park.

            As I walked, there were things to see along the way, but simultaneously, you can appreciate that they’re commonplace. What I mean by this, in my own unique way, is that they’re just there. For people who live here, they’re simply a part of their home that they probably see consistently throughout the year. But for travellers, they represent a whole lot of something.

            As I continued to follow Google Maps weird directions (why the hell was I trusting this thing?), I came across a garden centre. It began as a maze with many people going into it and I was curious.

            I looked at the time first before I realised – wait, I have no plans. Nothing in solid timing anyway. I can get to the Capitol whatever time I want.

            I grinned and, once I adjusted my backpack straps, I headed into the maze of the garden centre.

***

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