DC Diary: Hair-raising hike to Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan
Tuesday, Sept. 23
8 a.m.

“I need to find a Dominican hair salon.” When I uttered this statement, I more or less got the same reactions: a blank expression, followed by an inquisitive look and the question: “What’s so different about a Dominican salon?” No one understood that my type of hair needs a special kind of hairdresser because of how delicate it is, since I often straighten it with chemicals.

My determination to find such a salon took me to the streets of Adams Morgan. At this point, I should add that I’m from Miami, Fla., I live on the Mount Vernon Campus and I am a freshman. And before I forget, I had never been on a subway system before coming to D.C.

A friend referred me to the salon and handed me a business card. I decided to venture out on my own and find the salon at 2318 18th St. I woke up with a dreading fear, not knowing what to expect from the day ahead. I stepped out of my room with directions in hand. And it was not the directions to the salon that bothered me but the Metro map. As I glanced at the intricate jumble of colored lines for a quick moment, I realized I might be getting lost today. But I headed out anyway.

Everything started smoothly. I bought a Metro card. I took the Orange line toward New Carrollton and spotted a seat near the door. Staring into the faces of other passengers, I started feeling a bit triumphant. Taking a deep breath, I thought my first trip on Metro wasn’t too bad. After a successful transfer to the Red Line, it wasn’t long before I arrived at the Woodley Park – Zoo/Adams Morgan stop.

But an hour after getting off Metro, I was officially lost. I stood alone on a sidewalk reading business signs that bombarded me from every direction. I had been looking for 18th Street for the past hour, ready to conclude that it did not exist. I was growing frustrated, confused and close to breaking down in tears. Not only was I lost in a strange neighborhood that at first appeared picturesque and refreshing, but I was starting to feel trapped in a twilight zone.

Everyone I asked for directions pointed me a different way. And, of course, I got my fair share of “I don’t know’s.” I repeatedly wondered how residents of a neighborhood could not tell me where a street was.
I stopped asking for directions and began to figure out the address on my own. I was beginning to relax and enjoy the scenery. The calm and quaint neighborhood was a change from the more busy and fast-paced feel of Foggy Bottom. If I had come to Adams Morgan under other circumstances, I’m sure I would have enjoyed being there.

My eyes opened wide in disbelief once I discovered the infamous 18th Street. I made a right and started to read the signs. My eyes locked on a particular one – I had found the Dominican salon.

Ironically, I wasn’t overcome by joy as I walked into the establishment on the brink of tears. A hairstylist ushered me in and comforted me, obviously confused by my misery. I explained to her what I had just been through. She tried to sympathize with me but still looked puzzled by my behavior.

An hour later, I set foot on Foggy Bottom. Relief overcame me as I recognized my surroundings. I have never been happier to be back on campus. The hairstyle was nice, but wasn’t worth the trouble I had gone through. Next time I’ll just stick to neighboring hairdressers.

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