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Tuesday January 6th, 2009

January 7, 2009
Today is the day where I found out that our hotel has a free shuttle to the Shady Grove Metro subway station.  My refusal to ask get me and my family into the trouble of having to take the bus.  I even purchased an $11 all-you-can-use bus ticket online two weeks ago (and I remembered cringing when the ticket did not arrive by Jan 2nd)  I figured it will be easier and cheaper to take the bus than drive because parking at the subway each time is $5.75.  But the bus schedule was irrational to say the least.  Later on leisure conversation with the well-dressed driver of the shuttle, I found that they would even give us a ride anyway within 3 miles radius of Crowne Plaza Hotel!  Sigh!

“Ma’m, you’re on the wrong lane, you’re not gonna be able to go thru that lane.”

That was one of the attendant at the D C Metro-subway telling an old lady she had to use another lane to enter.  These machines were clearly marked and sometimes the same lane could be an entrance or an exit, just like the Singapore MRT.  But the only reply from her was

“hablo Espanol, no Inglish, no Inglish…” 

That is the problem of Washington D C today.  Language.  There are so many immigrants in this city, even the suburbs are not spared.

Today is drizzling and nasty.  A little cold about 35°F (1° C) in the morning, something I would not complain in Erie.  But the folks here were terribly worried that it might be cold enough for freezing rain and that would be nastier and could cause a lot of automobile accidents.  “Especially in D C where most people are not from here and they don’t know how to drive,” said the very well-mannered shuttle driver.

Anyway, after working in Joint Meeting interviewing potential candidates, I met my wife and kid and walked around Woodley-Zoo areaa on Connecticut Ave looking for suitable food.  We almost fell for the INTERNATIONAL Cafe and the Indian Cuisine right across from Marriot Hotel.  But instead, we saw the word IPOH.  It’s called Ipoh Asian Cuisine.

It is located upstairs  and is not very prominent.   When we went up, it was so crowded, we had to wait to be seated.  Immediately I heard the waitress speak Hokkien to the waiter and then conversed with the chef in Cantonese.  This must be real Ipoh food.  True enough, when we sat down, we could order our “Roti Canai” (which is like Roti Prata), “Poh Piah” (薄饼) and “Pineapple Fried Rice”.  Another persistent search, another success.  Usually we have to look for a chain restaurant of America called PENANG to eat Singaporean/ Malaysian food.  The waiter cleared my credit card and after see ing surname asked “Mr. O**, are you from Malaysia too?”.  I answered no but this gives me confirmation that it’s authentic Malaysian food.  Bill totalled thirty over dollars.  In America, you said “quite cheap what, hor?”.  In Singapore my aunt would say “Two dollars, I can get you the best Poh Piah in town, man!”

Next hour, I met my colleague trying to bring three toddlers(6 year-old, 4 year-old and 3 year-old) by himself using the Metro subway.  Good thing he met us.  We traveled together to the Museum of National History at the Smithsonian, then at the end, we kept wondering how he’s going to bring them back on the subway all by himself during rush hours to Omni Shoreham Hotel.

In another hour, we finally reached Shady Grove station.  We waited for the shuttle for about 20 minutes.  In the trip home, the shuttle detoured to a different route to pick up another guest.  From this detour, my wife learned about his new place,  Washingtonian Center.  That will be for her tomorrow.  After a little rest, I drove out to ROCKVILLE in search of Maxim (美心), Kimsam (or Kam Sam, 金山), Oriental Market (东方超市 ) and China Bistro.  The first 3 are grocery stores and the last one is a restaurant.  After going to Maxim, we convinced ourselves we should buy food from there and forget about going to China Bistro.  But after reading the Washington Post Review, I feel I had to go to China Bistro.  Some other day, at least.  So we bought combo rice box ($4.95,for rice and 3 dishes Kung Pao Chicken宫保鸡丁 / tomato fried w eggs 番茄炒蛋/stew eggs卤蛋,), two deep fried tilapias ($5) and some cooked mushroom wrapped in tofu skins ($2.99 香姑豆付皮).  Then we also bought some bok choy ( 白菜) and other Chinese groceries that totaled a hundred dollars.

From Maxim, I chowed down two Dao Sar Bia (豆沙饼) before driving off.  On our way back, we almost lost our ways driving in the rain and navigating by pure memory.

When we were home, we ate like three hungry ghosts.  Here’s the before and after.




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