Today brought back fond memories of negotiating the
crowds and very cold weather at the Inauguration
in 2009. I was with two
sighted friends so there was less need for GPS
as compared with this year when it was us two blind folks and our
The first challenge was dealing with the Priceline
page to book a hotel. I wanted something that was reasonably close but not too
close so it would cost a fortune. We ended up about 1.5 miles away.
Then, we had to get into DC from Virginia with several of
the bridges closed. I worked with the taxi driver and together we figured it
Then we had to decide how to get from the hotel to the
Capital area where the events were taking place. All of the roads within 10
blocks were closed to cars. We could either take the Metro and get somewhat
close or take a taxi to an unknown location. We chose the latter and ended up
at 1st and K streets, about half a mile from where we needed to be.
I was using a combination of live GPS mode and Virtual
mode to sort this all out. Not knowing the address but just the intersection, I
used the cross street selection to find a destination.
Our progress came to a screeching halt about 175 feet
from 1st Street and Indiana Street. There were masses of people and we were
moving forward about 5 feet every 10 minutes. It was a bit dicey with our two
dogs in such a packed setting but we kept ourselves next to the side barrier. I
noticed a few officials and cameramen moving along the outside of that barrier.
When we didn't move at all for 20 minutes, we hoisted our two dogs over the
barrier and then clambered over ourselves to the cheers of those near us.
They were happy that at least someone was doing what they
were all tempted to do. After that, it was smooth sailing right into the heart
of the capital mall and the crowd gathered to hear the Inauguration.
Thank goodness I was not frozen like last Inauguration
when it ended. Off we went in reverse, first to find a restaurant and then back
to the hotel. I did a search for nearby restaurants and went to them one by one
only to find out there was an hour or more wait at all of them. We decided to
eat back near the hotel, outside the crazy downtown area. I guessed right that
we might find a taxi at Union Station and from there it was easy going back to
our hotel. On the way, I look virtually for a restaurant near the hotel. For
the heck of it, I switched to Blindsquare
and found some options that way.
It was really fun to have navigated such a complicated
set of circumstances using the GPS as one of our tools. Hats off to the guide dogs
who did an amazing job guiding and being patient in such crowded conditions.
Oh, yes, and then there was the Inauguration itself which is such a historical
event to be fortunate to attend.