Travel nights & the homecoming of terror

When we travel, we nearly always arise early to seize the day and catch a stunning sunrise or two. However, we’ve observed that we tend to retire early as well, and there’s only so much stargazing one can do. After all, most attractions aren’t open beyond sundown and there wouldn’t be much point in stumbling around in the darkness either! Many offbeat locations don’t offer much by way of night life so inevitably, we find ourselves holed up in our rooms by 9 or 10 PM, our tummies replete with a good dinner. On many of these travel nights, one show that has kept us faithful and riveting company is the American television series House of Cards (hence the featured image of the United States Capitol).

Just last night, we watched the much awaited first episode (chapter 53) of Season 5 and it was as if there had never been a season break in the show! Now, a lot has happened in this fast-paced political dream over the last four seasons. And if like us, you don’t have the time to sit through the last few episodes to refresh your memory, read some plot summaries online instead. However, into the very first minute of the new episode, we were hooked and at no point did we have to Google anything to understand the story.

Alert: Spoilers ahead

House of cards season 5

So S05E01 begins at the point where Frank and Claire are back together, contesting the elections even as they divert the backlash from Tom Hammerschmidt’s article with a declaration of war on terror. If you recall, the veteran journalist from the Washington Herald had done a damaging exposé piece on Frank’s crimes. And in the meanwhile, two domestic terrorists from the United States had beheaded an innocent man, giving Frank an alternative weapon with which to sway the masses. In this episode, a stunning turn of events is revealed with regards to the capture of Joshua Masterson.

We enjoyed watching the strange familiarity between Claire and Tom Yates yet again. Yates was the writer hired by Frank Underwood to write a book on his employment project ‘America Works’. And it was most gratifying to see Frank and Claire as a united front again, although some chinks in their relationship remain. For us, the main selling point of this show has always been their unshakeable bond, which seemed immune from all the murky waters they dabbled in as part of their professional lives. Although this bond seemed a thing of the past in season 4, we are hopeful that it is revived completely in season 5.

While there’s a lot of turmoil in terms of Frank’s candidacy for President of USA in season 5’s opening episode, a lot has also returned to normalcy. Doug is back by Frank’s side, Catherine Durant is toeing the line again and the Republican candidate Will Conway and his wife Hannah aren’t exactly in the clear either. The episode reveals a terrible yet fascinating manipulation of a tragic event and a global monster for personal gain. But will Frank’s play on terrorism pay off enough to make him President again? We’ll just have to wait and watch.

Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café! #HOConZCafe

Planning to visit the White House?

White House by Diego Cambiaso
White House by Diego Cambiaso

After seeing so much of the White House and the United States Capitol in reel life, we’re pretty keen to see them in all their real life glory. While one can’t simply walk into the White House, one can definitely submit a tour request through one’s home country embassy in Washington DC. This has to be done at least 21 days in advance, and a maximum of three months before your planned visit. If your request is approved, there will be an intense security screening, following which you can enjoy a 45 minute self guided tour of America’s centre of power.


It is easier to visit the United States Capitol (pictured at the start of this post). Simply go to the Capitol Visitor Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol and visit the exhibition hall, shop and restaurant. But if you want to explore the historic areas of the building (which are the real treasures), you have to be part of a guided tour. These will take you through the Crypt, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall as well.

What else do we do on travel nights?

We might take a walk, plan the next day’s sightseeing or make calls to our families back home. Now it’s your turn to tell us! Go on, leave a comment.

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