Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 30 - Afternoon in Washington

Steve and Christina gave us directions but when we got to where we followed their directions though there was no white house.  So we ran into the others from the group and they set us straight.
The security gate to the White House - remember all the symbols
in Washington have special significance.
Just wonder what this one means
We were also joined by the lovely Sandra and Malcolm but Sandra had a bad leg issue so we went on without her. Although I was very reluctant too but she ended up catching up with us at the end.
Flags are everywhere 
There were the usual amounts of excessive photo stops for Moi so it took us longer than what we thought also it was a lot warmer than we thought and me wishing I left the jacket on the bus.  Oh well that is what is all is about.  We finally made it to Pennsylvania Ave…  
White House with Sun Flare 
We went past the treasury building which was so beautiful with the roses and just the style of the building. There are some seriously amazing old buildings in Washington and some stunning architecture and I loved it.  
Needs no introduction 
We walked up to the white house near some very serious looking security staff and there were some people in front of us who asked if they could take a photo and were told in no uncertain terms NO!
Looking towards the Capitol Building  
We saw the white house which does really look like the movies and the best entertainment is the people’s reactions along with the protesters around the grounds.  We did the obligatory photos in front for all of us.  Then continued back along to the main downtown area which I never really realised how pretty it was with lots of fountains and squares along with many having inscriptions in the ground.
One of the many inscriptions in Washington  
We were going to try and climb the clock tower but we got through security line which was huge only to be told that the tower was not admitting guests until 2pm.  So I decided to leave the rif raf there and head to the Museum of American history.
Post office Tower  
It was such a beautiful day and we were conscious of the time because otherwise we would have been taking a cab back to the hotel in Alexandria.  So when I walked in I knew I had to work out fast what I wanted to do and see the most because given that it was a long weekend it was sooo busy.
First Lady Display at the Museum of American History 
So I tackled the Star Spangled banner but I had somehow switched my camera onto manual focus so that meant all the photos I snuck in there were ruined.  But I didn’t realise until later and when I went back the line was too long. But the banner is the original flag that was created I think during the civil war.  It is pretty much in tatters but it was the original one that Mary Pickersgill made which has only 15 stripes and 15 stars was originally created for Fort McHenry.
Michele Obama Dress 
After I tackled the star spangled banner I went to the First Lady dresses display and drooled over the beauty of the dresses with the intricate designs.  It was a display done really well.  I also realised that Michelle Obama is really tall and athletic.  While the Bush’s ladies style of dresses was very conservative and bit blah.  Hilary had a lot of style for the early nineties and I want some of the early dresses as mine.   Sarah Polley I think and Eleanor Roosevelt had some amazing dresses and were my favourites.
Sarah Polley Dress 
I also went to the pop culture exhibit which was so fun …  like Dumbo’s car from the original Disneyland ride, Dorothy’s shoes from Wizard of Oz, the Original Kermit the Frog, Fonzies Jacket, Peanuts cartoon etc. I also went to the war exhibit because I still didn’t really understand why they had the war of independence and civil war but after that I did understand.  There were so many significant events in each war the dates and facts are hard to keep straight but I managed it eventually.
I headed back and skipped lunch because I was too busy having fun but at least found an apple and a bottle of water and traipsed back to pick up the bus.  So walked back with some of the passengers from our tour as I bumped into them as I walking down the mall and It was fascinating to discuss with them how they manage their travel in doing tours along with retirement.
Dorothy Red Shoes  
Christina made the comment that is the first time we have all been back on the bus on time and god forbid early because obviously none of us wanted to be left behind.
We headed back to the hotel and they once again had put me on the floor with everyone else right next to the elevator so this time I went down to get moved because it was too much after having so many rough night’s sleep I needed to be away from the lift. 
Fonzie Jacket 
So I went down to see Christina and see if I could be moved.  She looked at me like uh oh when I said I had a problem but once I explained the situation she was fine because I was calm and very apoplectic about needing the change. This is how you deal with these situations people not yelling at your tour director. People are more than willing to help people who are polite and considerate.
Declaration of Independence 
 I got moved to a floor I think with no one else.  So I quickly unloaded and put a load of washing on then quickly went and got ready for dinner. It was our last dinner as a group so I was looking forward to it.
Photo of the First Star Spangled Banner  
But when I went back down the stupid wash wasn’t finished which annoyed one of the group members but there was nothing I could do because I had to leave because I was already running late because I had been down twice already to see if it was finished.  Then I realised I forgot my connector to the tripod but didn’t have time to run back for it.  So annoyed with myself for that. 
The centre court display at the National Museum of American History 
We went to dinner in this cute little place but everyone was separated so I ended up being last one in so I ended up with Marie, Heather and Neil which was really good but still would have been nice to be as one big group.  But I took photos of everyone and stayed out of most of them haha We went to the toilet with the frosted glass and I still swear that people could see in it…. That freaked me out.
Washington Monument  
We headed out to the illumination tour however, I did try to talk Steve into dropping by the hotel so I could go pick up the connector but no luck…  L
Outside the pick up point - National Gallery
We headed past the back of the white house but it looked like there was something happening because it was all lit up with lots of security and Christina said they might have had an engagement on for Columbus day the next day.  

National Gallery
Our first stop was the World War 2 monument and it was so beautiful all decorated with lights and the general feeling of reverence of the area it was perfect and respectful.
WW2 Monument  
We then headed over to Korea War Memorial which I had a feeling this was going to be extra special because Christina had really being looking forward to sharing it with us.  When she got us all there we gathered around Christina and she told us in hushed tones about the feeling of the memorial.  She told us of the story of the crawling through the jungle and the feeling, mood that she created was perfect. She did the story telling really well. Also explained the meaning behind the inscription “Freedom is not free” which is the United states way of expressing gratitude to those who have served. I can only hope that I do it as well as you did that night Christina.
Korea War memorial  
The photos weren’t great because I had to use the flash in order to get the photos.  We then were allowed to wander for a bit so I went with Malcolm and David to the Abraham memorial even though we were going to be stopping there tomorrow it was still cool to see it all lit up. It was busy but very hard to photograph during the night without the tripod…  Doh … I am just going to have to come back one day.  But we literally had 10 mins to see it which is not enough time but still it was beautiful.
Korea War memorial  
Our final monument was the Washington Monument and it looked great and so majestic of a night time.  The only monument that we didn’t get to visit which was a shame but hopefully next time.
Lincoln Monument 
We got back to the hotel relatively early so I was able to sort the washing out and get that finished.  Also I started to repack so I could manage my bags a bit easier arriving into NYC.  But I did prepare for the following day with a backup bag and my usual workout clothes because it was going to be 30 degrees walking around the city so I wanted to be a bit cooler than I was today. Also developed a plan of attack for the day as to what I wanted to see and I decided on the Smithosian Castle along with the Holocoust museum. This is the reason why this blog post has taken so long because I still remember the turning point of that day.  I have been avoiding…  

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