Cherry blossoms defy winter

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By Jun Ledesma

Sunbursts

Monday, April 21, 2014


Dateline Washington DC - It ought to be spring but winter hasn't actually exited yet. Temperature drops to as low as one degree C at the break of dawn and inches slowly to six even as the sun is up.

The consolation is that despite the wintry mornings cherry blossoms bloom quite luxuriantly and locals swear there never was a time when the cherry trees displayed such abundance of flowers they celebrated this phenomenon with a festival. The blooms linger on until these days. Washington DC is swarming with tourists. They brave the cold wind to visit memorials of and other spectacles, which can only be seen in this capital.

This is my third journey to Washington DC this time with my wife Jay and kids Adrian and Abbie. We had promised Adrian this trip as a graduation gift and Abbie if she makes it to the dean's list. Jay needs this respite for she had been working herself beyond limits since she assumed as Chief Agency Officer of Philam Life.

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As for me, I thought this will be my last long journey to the never land. My knees have become wobbly and so while the will has not given up yet I thought I too should have this chance of yet another adventure.

WDC is the cleanest and most orderly city I have been. We checked in at Double Tree of Hilton a cozy hotel which is a walking distance from the embassy row to include that of the Philippines. We had earlier made land arrangements with the Big Bus Hop In-Hop Off transport, which make our tour of the city comfortable and easy. 

There are massive repairs done in one of the major thoroughfares in DC. What impresses me most is the precision and sense of urgency in the construction crew. By the second day after they started with the repairs and upgrading, the entire project is almost accomplished. The efficiency of the project engineers and workers makes me wonder why our engineers seem to take eons to finish a project.

The orderliness in the city traffic is simply amazing despite the number of vehicles, one cannot fathom why this cannot be done back home. Discipline and courtesy among drivers are almost legendary. 

Parks and memorials are kept immaculately clean despite the hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists that flock to this city daily. But that is not all. Office workers travel to their office by commuter train, bicycles, and walking. 

We are in a city that is directly opposite the Philippines. I don't even have to set my watch on local time. If it is one o'clock in the morning it is exactly one o'clock in the afternoon. Philippines is known hereabouts because of Manny Pacquiao. They are replaying his boxing bout with Bradley and the notice for that is all over several channels. The government should tap Manny as its special ambassor to lure tourists to the Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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