Hiba

Capital’s diversity enriches visit, cultivates appreciation

Oct 23 • Hiba Almasri, Opinion • 449

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Washington, D.C. is a magnificent place to be. Roaming the streets of the district, I came to several realizations, not necessarily closely related to each other.

The first is that the city is, unsurprisingly, very diverse. Walking down the streets of Washington, I would hear a foreign language spoken every few minutes. It was wonderful to see, as it’s something that I personally wish Erie offered, too.

Not only was the city diverse, but groups of people who seemingly belong to the same classification, are also diverse among themselves. For example, while I would hear Arabic spoken by a group of people together, I could also tell their accents differed from one another – one would be from Egypt and the other from Lebanon.

The second observation I had was how well-groomed the city was. Granted, I only visited places tourists usually visit, like the Washington Monument, the White House and several other political attractions tourists usually seek out.

That, however, got me wondering about the other part of Washington that I, as a tourist, am oblivious to. Not everyone in Washington, for example, shops at M Street’s Coach and Kate Spade – if they do, then the world is in bigger trouble than I thought.

Either way, next time I visit – if there is one – I would like to see where the average Washington resident shops for clothes and goes for food and picnics. I want the inside scoop.

The third observation was one Washington shares with New York City – which is expected, given that both of them are attractive metropolitan, touristy cities.

When it comes to people’s behavior in the streets, I managed to find three classifications for people, and I’m sure there are more.

The first are those who bury their heads in a map – be it virtual or physical – checking if they’re going in the right direction. The second are those who walk straight and fast with their heads down – these know where they’re going and don’t need a physical or a satellite map.

And then there are those who are completely clueless, possibly without a map or a phone held tightly, looking for a rare type of person – someone with their head up, to ask where to go.

This break, I got to be two of the three.

One second I was frantically looking at my Google Maps application, which – unlike me – knows where I should be heading; the other I was looking up, making sure I’m walking in the right the direction. More times than I’d like to admit, the cursor on my map indicated I was going the opposite direction of where my destination was, and that left me and my friend walking in around in circles for quite some time.

The second day I got to experience being the last type of person I refered to, when my phone died on me. My friend and I were completely lost, roaming the streets between Washington Circle and DuPont Circle, with no idea which direction we are going to.

In spite of my complete lack of directional awareness, my trip to the nation’s capital was successful and was a great way to wind down mid-semester.

 

HIBA ALMASRI

almasri002@knights.gannon.edu

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