Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Red Carpet Club limbo

Dianne and I are headed for Rome--we arrive tomorrow--but today we're in limbo, at the United Red Carpet Club at Dulles Airport, with a six-hour layover. My father-in-law gave us a lifetime membership to the club decades ago, and the people at the desk now react to the 1978 piece of plastic as if were an historical artifact.

The club is nice enough. It has multi-colored carpet of the sort that's guaranteed not to show dirt even if never vacuumed, and there's plenty of free food and drink. We're in hour 3 and I've already had a plum, fresh strawberries dipped in sugar, a pack of short-bread cookies, one cheese bars packed in plastic, and 3 machine-made cappuccinos. I've also read 4 newspapers.

But the time is not exactly flying, and it's tempting to think that we're suspended here in airport netherland, neither home nor in Rome, where we want to be.

But there is another way to think about life in the Red Carpet Club, and it comes by way of Alain de Botton, author of The Art of Travel, which informed our philosophy of travel in Rome the Second Time. For de Botton, one's trip/vacation begins the minute one leaves the house. The taxi to the airport is part of the "experience," part of the "fun," part of what's interesting, and so, I suppose, is airport check-in and watching folks in the security line and, yes, 6 hours at the Red Carpet Club. The Red Carpet Club is not actually in de Botton's book, and now I know why.

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