Friday, August 26, 2011

Obama, you better have the BBQ ready.

WOW Friday and Sat in DC was EPIC...

I worked out I walked about 25-30 kms in the 2 days, and it was so so hot, it was about 35˚ and humidity hovered between 70 and 90%. So so hot..

Kat decided she didn’t want to come to Washington so I headed out into the big world on my own. Probably better that way, as she holds no interest in American politics like I do so she would probably have been bored shitless. On Friday we had to move apartments on Friday morning but couldn't go to the new one until 11.30am, so I had to pack up all my stuff and leave it up to Kat to check us in and move my shit, while I made my way halfway up Manhattan, to the Mega Bus Terminal. There was a heap of people waiting for the bus, the bus was scheduled to be leaving at 8am, and I was worried I was going to be late, as we were supposed to be there at 7.45, I didn't end up getting on the bus until about 8.15am.  The bus was full, I was hoping to get a double seat to myself, no luck, instead I sat next to a girl who proceeded to push her ass up against me and snore.. That was a fun 4 and a half hours. Apart from my newfound friend, the bus trip was uneventful. I still can’t get over America’s obsession with overpowering A/C. I was so so cold on the bus trip, its so stupid, I was shaking and knowing that it was mid 30’s outside. Not going to miss this.

I arrived in DC at about 1pm and I headed to my hotel. For some reason I decided to walk, while wearing jeans on a 35˚ day with humidity sitting at around 80% BAD IDEA! I got to the hotel and felt like crap, so I checked in had a shower and went out to explore..

The hotel was right in central downtown DC, it my window was on the right side of the building I would have been able to see the white house, it was about 2 blocks away..  that being said, The White House was my first stop. its kind of funny, there is only really one spot you can see it from and everyone gathers around this little gap in the fence to get a look. it is a magnificent building and represents so much, but when it comes down to it its just some guy’s house. I was surprised by the amount of security and at the same time the lack of it. you aren't able to drive down any of the roads that pass the fence of the white house grounds directly, yet the fence is not very high and would be easy to climb over. though I'm sure if you did that the secret service would be all over you ass.. 

There is a cop who's sole job it is, to watch people look through the fence at the white house. I had a bit of a chat to him, he had a couple of interesting and funny stories to tell.. He had been the 'fence guardian' as he got called for 3 years now, his favourite moment was when some Asian tourist dropped his camera through the fence. then proceeded to attempt to climb the fence to go get it. he obviously told him to stop, but with the communication issues the man continued to climb the fence. anyway it ended in him being hauled away by the secret service, with his horrified family looking on as he was taken away. Haha.

From the white house I could see the Washington monument, (the big pointy stick) though there aren’t many places in Washington you cant see it from. So went to have a look,  I really wanted to go up to the top, but you have to line up to get tickets really early in the morning or have booked them months in advance. I'm clearly not that organised, so I would have to line up Saturday morning to get to go up to the top.  it’s a really cool thing to look at and then when you learn the history it makes it so so much more awesome. When it was completed it was the tallest building in the world, and now still stands as the tallest full stone building. Commissioned by the government of the time, construction began though about a third of the way into construction it was halted for close to 10 years because of political infighting and lack of cash.  You can tell the difference between old and new by the colour of the stone, as materials changed during the extensive period of inactivity. from the inside it is much more obvious, in the lower part of the building all the stones are cut by hand so they are much rougher, and then the technology of machine cutting came into practice so the higher up the monument you go the better cut the stone.

From the Washington monument I continued on to the Lincoln memorial, another centrepiece of DC. DC is very logically set up, all the main things are on a strip down the middle called the national mall.  At one end you have the Lincoln Memorial and the other the Capitol. It is a huge grassed column through the centre of town.  Between Lincoln and the Washington monument, there is the WWII memorial and the massive reflecting pool, which you would be familiar with if you have ever watched an episode of bones.. all I wanted to do was sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and look out over the reflection pool past the Washington monument and out towards congress like the do at then end of many many bones episodes.. DC ruined all my fun, at the moment they have drained the entire pool, because they skimped o cost when they built it so it is leaking and sinking.. so now they have having to rip the whole thing out and replace it.. life ruiners.  Continuing on my way towards Lincoln, I stopped for a bit and made friends with another squirrel, he was eating a peanut! How cute!

Finally made it to Lincoln, it looks so much closer than it actually is from the Washington monument. Like all the important things in DC, the Lincoln Memorial is a fantastic building, and everything about the design and construction has a purpose. For instance there is 36 columns which represent the 36 states of the union while Lincoln was president (and at his death) and there is the names of the 48 states chiselled into the front fascia which is how many states there was when the memorial was completed, the last 2 states were added at a later date.  

This was one of the places I really wanted to see while I was in DC. I think because it is one of those places that everyone has heard of, I just really wanted to see it for myself. Also Lincoln was one of those presidents that really did great things, and I firmly believe we would be living in a very different world with out people like him. Inside on the left and right walls inscribed are his 2 most famous speeches, the Gettysburg address and on the other his second inaugural address, both of these speeches changed the course of history, it was overwhelming to be in that place and to read those words and think about what might have happened had they not been said.  Lincoln also holds interest in that he was the first ever president to be assassinated.

In more recent history the Lincoln memorial has taken on many roles, it has been a place for protest, for reflection, for sorrow, for grief but most of all a place of hope, and a place to dream. Most famous would have to be Martin Luther King Jr standing on the steps of the Lincoln memorial on august 28, 1963 delivering, “I have a dream’ to the thousands of people who had gathered. Wow to be there that day. A recent addition to the Memorial, they have inscribed “I Have A Dream” on the steps at the place where he stood that day. I got chills standing there. I wish I were still there on the 28th of august, this year they are having a dedication ceremony for the new memorial to Martin Luther King Jr, on the 38th anniversary of his speech. That would be amazing to see.

From the Lincoln memorial I continued to wind my way through the parks and memorials that sit on the mall.  The Vietnam memorial, WWII,  Nurses and women in war memorial, way way to many to name, that’s just kind of how DC is.

By this point it was getting close to 6pm, I realised I hadn’t actually eaten anything all day, I had just had a lot of water and Gatorade because it was so hot, I never feel much like eating when its that hot, and I was too busy! Anyway I decided to start making my way back towards the hotel, I happened upon a souvenir/gift shop, being in Washington meant I had to get something for Ryan.. what I bought I will not mention here as I'm sure he will read this..  the only thing Kat really wanted to see in Washington was Lincoln so I got her a little replica statue of Lincoln in his chair.  I got myself a little stuffed toy that is Air Force One, it even makes real plane sounds when you squeeze it! In know I'm really 4 and a boy at heart.. 

Walking back through the park in front of the White House I walked past the National Christmas tree, I find it pretty cool that they actually have a real tree that gets dressed every year, not much more to add about that just that I like it..

I made it back to the hotel, dropped all my stuff and went out in search of food, didn’t make it far until I found a place that did fresh made salads among other things,  I grabbed a Asian chicken salad, then got some milk and stuff for breakfast from the pharmacy and went back to my room.  There was a massive storm in DC that night, I heard thunder and actually though someone had driven a car into the building or something iv never heard it that loud before, I went out and took photos for a while, I came back when it got to the point where I couldn’t walk properly because my jeans were so wet they were sticking to me..

I watched quite a bit of ‘that 70’s show and then back to the future, while I tried to catch up on writing my blog. And went to bed..

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