Gridlocked DC welcomes its guests with a grrrr

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Washington, Apr.13 (ANI): Military Police in downtown DC. Military trucks stationed outside innocuous looking buildings in the city centre.

Washingtonians aren't used to this kind of logjam as New Yorkers are, because of the latter hosting the UNGA annually.

Motorcades of heads of state have been causing roadblocks across the District, Andrews Air Force Base, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Airport, affecting parkways and inter-states.

Several streets have been closed and will be opened only on Tuesday. Parking restrictions will be in place until noon Wednesday. However there were no chaotic scenes and no major snarls.

Some metro trains ran packed to capacity. The sight of Capital Police in black bulletproof vests outside subway stations was a disconcerting sight for some who were not aware of DC hosting a summit of this scale.

Not many are going near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, of course.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is staying at the Willard Hotel, which is just a block away from the White House. Roads around this landmark hotel have been barricaded since Friday though the Prime Minister arrived on Saturday.

The Four Seasons in Georgetown, where the Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani is staying also has metal detectors and armed guards stationed outside. The road was closed to traffic to accommodate police cars and motorcade vehicles.

Prime Minister Gilani's hotel bill for the duration of his stay will be close to 15,000 dollars a night. That is about three times more than the Indian Prime Minister's bill which would probably be about 3000-5000 dollars a night.

Security costs a lot and hotels are ensuring that they provide nothing but the best for their VIP guests.

The Marriott Wardman Park in Woodley Park, the Mandarin Oriental suites goes for 6,000-10,000 dollars, and they are all booked to the hilt during the conference.

With the summit coming close on the heels of the Cherry Blossom festival, Washingtonians are waiting for the visitors to leave and so they may retake their city. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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