Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was out for his daily lunchtime constitutional in the heart of Your Nation’s Capitol yesterday when he was accosted by a nicely-dressed, rayther pretty young lady with a vaguely Caribbean accent.

“Excuse me,” she said, “Can you please tell me the way to the National Mall?”

“The National Mall?” I asked, somewhat startled.

“Yes,” she said, “The National Mall.”

“Um,” I replied, “Well, this is the National Mall, all up and down along here.”  I waived my hand about, indicating the space between the Grant Memorial just behind us and the Washington and Lincoln Memorials off in the distance.

“Oooooh,” she said, a distinct look of bewilderment crossing her face.

“Errr,” I said, trying to be helpful, “Were you looking for a particular building?”

“Oh, no,” she replied, “But I just don’t see any stores around here, that’s all.”

I blinked, aghast at what I’d got myself into.  How the hell to let her down gently?

M’yes,” I said in my most diplomatic voice, “No.  It’s all museums and galleries and memorials, I’m afraid.  No shopping here.”

“Oooooh,” she said again.

At that point, feeling I had nothing more to offer beyond a wild idea of giving her Metro directions to Tyson’s Corner, I legged it.  I mean, honestly, what else do you do?

Ol’ Robbo has been hoofing it about the Mall on a regular basis for something like four or five years now and been approached by visitors with many different questions and/or requests, but I have to say that this one was a first.