Friday, August 1, 2008

Arrival at Last!

Finally, the day we have all been waiting for: the arrival of our twenty AGU in American 2008 participants and their escort, Dr. Hitomi Izaka. Here in the US, we began the day at 10:30 with a team meeting at the Quality Inn, then had lunch at Chipotle and then boarded the Terp bus for the ride to Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The day had begun much earlier for Dr. Izaka and the participants, however; in fact, for them August 1, 2008 had about 12 extra hours! We all arrived at the airport at about the same time (3:30 EDT, which would have been 4:30 a.m. August 2 in Japan), but the International Arrivals area was terribly crowded with about 15 planes that had arrived at approximately the same time. I can only imagine what the scene was like in the customs area. It must have been chaotic. We waited for about an hour and a half for the group to appear, but when they did, things went a bit faster. Everyone boarded the bus for the ride to College Park, which took almost two hours because it was rush hour. The driver took us right through Washington, DC, so the group got to see some sights, like the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol, and the Lincoln Memorial. (They will see some of these up close very soon!)

When we arrived at the Quality Inn, everyone checked in quickly and went to their rooms to unpack and freshen up before dinner. Heather and I left and the mentors planned to divide the group into three to go to Noodles & Co., Potbelly Sandwich Works, and (I'm not sure where Mike was going to take his group). They must be having dinner now, as I write this.

I was pleased to meet Masanori Sugiura, who is a friend of Ryo Kamiki, one of our AGU2006 participants! I hope I can learn everyone's name in two or three days.

Here is a slideshow of pictures from today:
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1 comment:

Nikki said...

Hi! It was great meeting everyone today and I'm looking forward to an amazing two weeks! Also, at Potbelly's six of us enjoyed delicious subs and milkshakes. Mmmmmm!