The evening I discovered Georgetown, my camera was resting in my hotel room with its feet stretched out on the couch after a long day spent capturing the White House, Washington monument and other iconic structures that cluster around these two buildings (grainy phone photos below).
But Georgetown was a short walk from One Washington Circle, and highly recommended by the concierge who insisted it made for a better evening than a visit to Dupont circle.
And so shortly after half six in the evening, I started walking. It was a little like walking towards Tomorrow – all I knew was that my destination was somewhere on this road; I had no idea when I would arrive or what it would look like when I did.
Georgetown is like a single High Street in a small town, characterised by university students and tourists who wander up and down its two sides looking into shops, entering restaurants, queuing for cupcakes and buying scoops of ice cream.
I walked to the end of the street, shortlisting restaurants as I went of where I would stop on the way back: top on my list was the new Cajun seafood place called Pier 2934, and the Vietnamese restaurant. And on my way back the muted yellow light at Pier 2934 won out.
They had a simple menu with seafood prepared in traditional cajun spice mix which ranged from mild to spicy.
I quickly chose the finger food basket of around seven large breadcrumbed shrimps fried in batter with cajun spiced potato chips, and was halfway through my meal when my entertainment for the evening arrived.
The piece de resistance on the menu was undoubtedly the captain’s catch: a plastic bag filled with marinated seafood including mussels, shrimp, crab and lobster mixed with potatoes and corn. Messy eating couldn’t be avoided as diners would be forced to dig their hands into the bag all the way to their elbows. And so each patron had a plastic bib wrapped around their shirt and a large piece of white paper was spread on their table surface.
The gay couple seated next to me was on obviously on a first date, and I could easily overhear how they had met online. One of the couple chose the safe seafood roll with a crab soup starter – the kind where a piece of food would not dribble down the chin or stubbornly wave from in between two teeth – but the other threw caution and the need to impress his date to the wind and dug into a Captain’s catch.
As I finished my meal, I watched their reflections surreptitiously from the mirrors that lined one side of the restaurant and the gusto with which one of them cracked crab claws and lobster legs. Bits of shell and meat dripped from the plastic bag onto the table, sprayed from his hands and shell crackers and he was in his element. But the experience wasn’t as enjoyable for his date who seemed more than a little taken aback by the display, tried to avoid direct eye contact or conversation and delicately took bites out of his crab sandwich.
It is nearly impossible to imagine a second date scenario for that couple.