Back from D.C.

I got back from Washington D.C. a couple hours ago… after an 11 hour drive to my parents’ house. Tomorrow I’ll head up to Houghton.

The vacation was great, Whitney and i had a ton of fun. I just want to say that everything in D.C. is absolutely huge! Things seem very close together, but that’s simply the size fooling the viewer. I can’t even imagine how many miles we walked over the few days we were there.

I didn’t have internet access while I was there… the internet access advertised by the hostel wasn’t a free wireless setup like I assumed; instead it was a few computers that cost $1 per 10 minutes of access. Tomorrow I’ll post pictures and backdate a few entries describing the trip (so, if you’re interested, you’re going to need to check the website after Sunday morning and check below this entry).

DC, Day 3

Oof… these long days of walking are killing me.

We started off today at the International Spy Museum, the only museum we’ve been to in D.C. that you have to pay to get into. It was really interesting and had quite a few cool toys. It’s rather hard to describe what we say there, but let’s just say that a lot of the things you say in Bond movies are real.

We headed back towards the mall after we left the spy museum and went into the National Archives to check out the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I took a couple of pictures, though none turned out very well due to the lighting. We stopped by the food court in the basement for a snack and it was wallpapered in WWII era home-front propaganda, which I thought was quite cool.

Upon leaving the Natl. Archives, Whitney and I split up, she headed for the American Indian Museum and I went to the American History one. I got to see quite a few nifty things there, but I was hurrying through to meet back up with Whitney in a couple hours, so I didn’t spend as much time on the Polio exhibit as I should have.

As I blundered down the steps, I realized that I still had about 45 minutes, so I went to the National Air and Space Museum and went on a photography spree. Lots of cool things there, ranging from primitive airplanes to modern ones, Saturn 5 rocket booster engines and the moon lander. Quite an interesting place.

I met up with Whitney at the Gallery of Art,West building at 3… well, 3:15 because we didn’t see each other for a while. I’ve decided that my dream home will include marble. I love the way it looks and it feels so nice to walk on. We visited a sculpture garden outside on our way to Ford Theatre.

After viewing the bed in which Lincoln died, we plodded back to Chinatown, weary of all the walking we’ve done over the past few days. Rejeuvenated by dinner, Whitney picked up a bottle of Smirnoff Ice (she is a girl…) and decided to take another late night tour of the Jefferson and FDR monuments. We made it back to the hostel about 11 and I’ll soon be falling into my bed. I think I’m ready to leave though, and I’m looking forward to the drive back tomorrow.

DC, Day 2

Our second day started out a little different than the first. I left Whitney in bed to go locate a grocery store to buy some breakfast/snack foods and some contact lens solution (I had conveniently left mine in the car, which was parked at Fort Myers).

Upon my return, we grabbed some food and headed to the metro station for our first tour of the day: the Pentagon. Tom managed to arrange that on a day’s notice by calling the Secretary of Defense’s office. Upon clearing security and making it into the entrance lobby though, we discovered that not all of the appropriate paperwork had been filed, and after a couple of phone calls, Tom had one of his NCOs push the paperwork through so we could get our tour. Unfortunately for my brother and his girlfriend, they got lost trying to get there (they drove by 5 or 6 times apparently, but couldn’t find parking) so they weren’t able to join us as planned). I had an enjoyable time, and was quite shocked at how astonishingly huge the Pentagon is. To think, over 20,000 people a day work there.

After an hour long tour, we hopped back onto the metro and got off at the stop for Arlington Cemetary and wandered around for a little bit, seeing JFK’s eternal flame and, from a distance, Robert E Lee’s house. We also stopped by the relatively new Women in the Military Memorial. To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed. I felt that the memorial lacked purpose… or that it was being put to a dual purpose by housing a tribute to all of the dead in the latest Iraqi conflict. While I don’t mean to belittle those who have died in service, I would have liked to have seen that display in its own memorial.

We then headed back to D.C. and visited the Supreme Court building. Due to timing, we didn’t get to listen to the presentation in the chambers, but I doubt they’d have said much I didn’t already know. I was rather impressed by overall tone of the building though. Just like most of the other government building, marble predominated in a classical architectual fashion, but the Supreme Court had its own air… one of fairness. Unlike most things in D.C. the smell of politics does not ooze from the walls.

Walking back towards the mall, we grabbed some tickets to tour the Capitol, and after waiting around for an hour (and then another hour in line) we made it into the Capitol building. I was semi-impressed. Our tour guide seemed knowledgeable, but he missed a number of things that would have been interesting that I doubt most people know.

After roaming back to Chinatown for dinner (at a burger place called Fudruckers) we headed back to the Mall and convinced ourselves that the Jefferson Monument wasn’t a very long walk. Wobbling upon tired legs and with parched throats, we began our journey… not learning from our previous experience with the Lincoln Monument. In D.C., the only things close together are the Smithsonians. We finally found our way there and collapsed for a few minutes to rest our feet.

After pausing for water and picture taking, we headed out to the FDR memorial, which, thankfully was closer. Unfortunately, do to the D.C. “winter” none of the fountains were working and it was slightly less than impressive. Afterwards, we began meandering back towards our hostel, taking a quick stop across the street from the White House for a picture.

And thus ended a rather long day of wlaking.