Thursday, December 04, 2014

Union Station, DC--copyright Kyi May Kaung (KM Kaung)

Union Station DC--by Kyi May Kaung--from my novel Solo Woman Traveler--

I don't drive in the USA, and so places like Union Station (photos further below) are full of memories, not all pleasant.

I don't "live in the past" but as I am writing my memoirs now, I use things like photographs to remind me of the past.

At first I came to DC from Philadelphia via Maryland, near Laurel, where Joe & Scallion Shoot lived.

From their home they drove me into town for my first visit to the National Gallery, to see Turner's The Peacock Room at the Freer, to the Old PO building.

I can remember everything, from what they said, to the reproductions of the Matisse cut outs, which are still doing well at the Gallery gift shop.

Then I needed to come in by train, starting in about 1985, as the Burmese embassy in DC started to harass me and the other 5 Fulbright students.

By 1988 there were only 3 women left including me.

The terrible people at the Military Attache's office left a bad taste in the mouth, as would the radio station from hell 1997-2001.

A friend Myles Glasgow and his wife Edee Maeda helped me as earlier The Princess had introduced me to Myles.

My other friend Yasmin and I stayed at Edee's house (Myles and she were temporarily separated at the time)

Edee made us a Japanese dish with seaweed--shabu shabu, but I apologized as all the time Y and I discussed our troubles in Burmese in stressed, loud voices verging on hysteria.

E. then dropped us off at Union Station, where the ceiling had just been restored--so it must have been 1988.

Now, 2014, it is being restored again, with inner scaffolding and nets to catch debris.

Once, about 2006, I hurried through Union Station and met Jack Healey, former head of Amnesty International, and his lady sitting near the flower planters in the main hall.

We talked of how we missed our mutual friend and colleague Z, who had left FBC when it split.

--Nowadays, my passes through the station are somewhat happier--

but I cannot ask the Syrian-born limo driver who usually drops me off about his country of origin or his (extended) family.

I did ask briefly as we approached the station--

"So how is your family?"

He made an unhappy sound--


I quickly said, "Forget I asked you."

He pulled up at the curb, he helped me with my bags, and I paid him.

I told him to take a $5 tip, but he did not, maybe because he remembered he owed me $5 from last time when he did not have change.

I hurried into the station.

Copyright KMKaung
DC Union Station--all photos copyright KMKaung
Kyi May Kaung's photo.
Kyi May Kaung's photo.
Kyi May Kaung's photo.

Singer with a fantastic voice--I should have tried taking a video, but was too tired and weighed down with baggageKyi May Kaung's photo.

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