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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DENVER TO DC

Denver International Airport (DIA or DEN--I think both, which is really confusing) is the largest airport in the USA, with a total area of 35,000 acres, twice the size of Manhattan.  It is the fifth busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements and passes through more than 53 million flyers, double that of Honolulu International Airport (HNL).  The architecture is evocative of Native American teepees and snow-capped mountains:


Luis Jimenez's Mustang, all of 32 feet tall, welcomes you to the airport.  


Unfortunately, the head of the Mustang fell on him in 2006, and he died.  The sculpture had to be completed by his family, staff and professional race-car painters.  There is considerable controversy, and Mustang might be soon removed.

The airport has a 7 megawatt solar photovoltaic farm, which is the largest such system in Colorado, and provides 6% the energy consumed at DIA or DEN:


There is a half billion dollar adjunct terminal being built to, in 2016, house a railway station, and will include a 500-room Westin Hotel & Resorts.  The rail link to Denver will cost an additional billion.

Frankly, I think this is one of the worst designed airports in the world, as the hotel shuttle drops you off so that you still need to go up one floor.  My hotel was located further than my home to Honolulu International, but at least the ride and back were free.  You need to go up and down and up and....using a of escalator energy.

I was sitting in seat C coach, and somehow got this photo as the plane landed at Reagan National:


Note that Fall colors can be seen, although I suspect the peak of D.C.has come and gone:


Tree Fall Leaf Color:
  • ash   yellow or maroon   
  • beech   yellow to orange
  • dogwood   scarlet to purple
  • hickory   golden bronze
  • oak   red, brown or russet
  • poplar   golden yellow
  • red maple   brilliant scarlet
  • aspen (Colorado)   yellow  
How many of you knew this?  Maybe I'll see a forest of aspen trees flying into Denver:


Here is Pennsylvania:


I'm staying at the Willard Hotel, which is an Intercontinental:


President Lincoln stayed here, with the hotel history going back nearly two centuries.  The National Theater is close by, but Lincoln was shot in in Ford's Theater, three further blocks away.  Mark Twain of course slept in the Willard and so did Ulysses Grant, where a story goes that special interests camped in the lobby to influence him, leading to the term lobbyists.  But this is an exaggeration.  Today:


I would place the Willard right down there with the St. Regis in D.C., way past prime and sinking.  The staffing is fine and location okay (White House grounds only a block away--with the Metro Center a longish hike away), but a major makeup of the internals can be suggested.

As I lived here for three years, I've never taken a official tour.  Tomorrow, I will.

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Super Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) is at a whopping 175 MPH, and will cause devastation wherever it churns over the central part Philippines, but largely sparing Manila:


Chances are that Haiyan will reach 180 MPH, but not challenge the 190 MPH of Tip in 1979.  Then, crossing the South China Sea as still a powerful typhoon, Haiyan will crash into Vietnam just about over China Beach, also known as Danang.

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