Blog Master G

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Washington, DC Trip

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 · 3 Comments

Friday through Sunday I joined Jen for her work trip to our nation’s capital. The first time I had been was nearly a year ago, following Frances and Andrew’s wedding. Enoch was in town from San Francisco, so we met up with him, his sister Jan, and Maria for drinks in Georgetown along the Potomac. But on that trip I didn’t really get to do the tourist thing. This time was different.

While Jen was working all day Saturday, I became the ultimate tourist, giving myself a self-guided walk around The Mall in Washington, which included the following highlights:

  • The White House
  • World War II Memorial
  • Reflecting Pool
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans’ Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • The Smithsonian Castle
  • Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
  • The National Archives

At the Air & Space Museum, I saw the likes of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane and other highlights from man’s discovery of air and space travel. It was super-packed, but pretty cool nonetheless. Luckily I didn’t bother waiting in the huge line that wound to the end of the block. Rather, I went right to the front and walked in another door the guard invited me in after confirming that I didn’t have a purse or a bag that needed scanning. What’s funny is that there were probably a number of other people in the long line who didn’t need to be in it, either. It pays not to follow the crowd — and it saves lots of time, too. Inside the museum I saw the IMAX feature Fighter Pilot, which was a pretty cool experience to see behind the scenes at fighter pilot training.

Probably the most moving experience for me was climbing the steep steps of the Lincoln Memorial and seeing the statue of Abe up close and personal. Words can’t describe how huge that thing is. In fact, you can see it pretty clearly from space. The view from the top of the memorial looking back across the mall toward the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the distance is truly amazing. I read both speeches that are engraved on either side of the memorial — the Gettysburg Address on the south side and his second Inaugural Address on the north side — and reflected on what a great man Lincoln obviously was, as evidenced by his unmatched memorial in our nation’s capital. Who else has such a moving and simply awesome tribute to his life and accomplishments?

The larger-than-life soldiers in the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial were also very moving. What took me most by surprise is glancing at the wall alongside and seeing the reflections of the statues looking back at you — not the actual engraved faces in the wall, but the reflections of the statues themselves. For some reason, it caught me off guard with each glance. Haunting.

I did a power trip through the National Archives to catch a glimpse at the sacred documents that define our lives and freedom as Americans: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The security in the Rotunda and around the parchments is pretty much as tight as could be, and the documents reside behind what is surely multiply-reinforced bullet-proof glass with laser beam sensors, tremendous steel casing, and guards keeping a watchful eye on visitors in the crowd-controlled area at all times. Flashes are not, of course, allowed, so I snapped some pictures that came out a bit dark. I wonder if some people don’t turn off their flashes or forget to do so — no doubt they do. I’m sure that helps contribute to the fading of the priceless and important documents, so I’m surprised cameras are even allowed at all.

We stayed in Old Town Alexandria, just outside Washington, and enjoyed some delicious Thai food Friday night at Masaya Thai Cuisine after some excellent martinis at Vermilion, also on King Street. Old Town is a really cool place — almost like a slightly bigger version of Saratoga Springs on the river.

Last, but certainly not least, was a great evening with Joe and Jenny and their rock-star baby, Sylvia. As we told the proud parents, it was like meeting a celebrity baby. As anyone who’s on Jenny’s email list knows, Sylvia is one of the cutest babies I’ve met in a long time, and I’m glad to have had the chance not just to meet her, but to spend some time rockin’ out and catching up with her parents. Joe fired up a mean natural smoke grill and cooked up some veggies and veggie burgers for us, and we enjoyed some Sam Adams White Ale in their very chill backyard. Joe coached us some Spanish curse words in preparation for our trip this summer. Then we did keg stands… OK, not really, but I wanted to spice things up a bit since Joe was worried his BBQ wouldn’t be as wild as the rest of our parties (but that is an actual photo of Jen as a “Bad Habit” from Halloween 2000 in SF).

It was a great weekend get-away, and I love how much is possible in life in the span of just a few days.

View all Washington, DC 2006 Photos

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joe // May 23, 2006 at 10:35 am

    It was so great to see you guys!!! We miss you already! I’m glad you had fun in our fair city. We’ll have to come check out upstate NY someday….


  • 2 Sarah // May 23, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    Did you see the new Jim Henson Muppet exhibit at The Smithsonian?

    I was impressed by the FDR memorial. Very pretty.

  • 3 Alex // May 24, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Looks like a great time. Booo FDR!

    I am still intrigued by Jen’s t-shirt. “Living, Loving, Lying.” Are those the three virtues?

    I bet the shirt was made in China and they have no idea what the word “lying” means. Ha. Is we partying this weekend, or what?