Wednesday, April 29

Our Nation's Capital: Day 1

I live!

It's been 2 of the moon plus since I last posted, and I'll blame laziness and lack of internet connection on all that. And while I have a ton of Japan pictures to post and blog about, I'm going to interject with a bit of my DC series.

On Sunday, April 12th, I arrived in the DC Metro Area at Reagan International Airport. My JBFF, Melissa, did me the great service of picking me up at the airport and then shuttling me to various establishments of nourishment, to the great bliss of my starved American appetite: bacon cheeseburgers, grocery stores and a Barnes and Noble (hoorah!) Starbucks.

Once the Post Office, now home to the Environmental Protection Agency

The next morning I rode into work with her and made my way to the Farragut West station, off to my first day of museuming in D.C.

The Old Post Office Pavilion
At Federal Triangle Station

My first robin of the spring.

First stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Of course, I arrived at around 9 only to find that it doesn't open until 10, leaving me with an hour to fill about the Mall.

Outside the Castle

Once inside, the Natural History Museum was an architectural dream. The mammal exhibit was awesome, a 360-degree experience up, down and all around. I shared stations with kids from the International School and the International Mums (and Dads), each draped in a red I.S. vest and armed with a clipboard and pencil. How sweet and moving (America!) to see so many kinds of kids, all curious and eager as kids of all kinds can be, moving about from animal to animal, choosing the focus of their questionnaire. Ah, the first of my Ferklempt Times.

An Elephantine Greeting

In the Mammal Hall

An Ocean of Sights and Things-to-Learn

Nerd's Paradise

From the Second Floor

Aside from the visual feast that are the displays, the the museum itself is amazing. One could spend all day with the angles and arches, repetitive lines, lights and shadows.

Early April Hanami: Chinese Rosebud

13 1/2 St.

After the Natural History Museum, and suddenly finding myself without a lunch date, I grabbed a sandwich and caramelly coffee drink, and headed back to the National Museum of American History.

Joseph and his Idol

Bob, of Chuck and Bob

Right next to Seinfeld's Pirate Shirt

The American History Museum is where you go to find "artifacts" collected from all along the path that this country has taken - from the political, the entertaining, the scientific, the household.

Joseph poses for his Presidential Portrait

Greensboro Lunch Counter

Where four Black students sat down in Greensboro, NC, in 1960, were refused lunch and refused to leave.

This Woolworth's lunch counter is set outside a fascinating exhibit of the Scurlock Studio, a photo studio owned and operated by an African American father and sons throughout most of the 20th century. The exhibit is a collaboration between the NMAH and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will be housed at the NMAH until its own building opens in 2015.

Star-Spangled Banner

Two girls pose in front of the glass installment outside the new exhibit of the flag that inspired the National Anthem. I didn't go in to see it - too pooped.

Outside the NMAH

Joseph at the White House

Instead of taking the subway home, I thought I might save myself $1.65 and walk back. Also, I had some time to kill. So Joseph and I found our way 'round the back of the White House and took a moment for a photo op. Joseph's so glad Barack's in there. Me too, Jo. Me too.

Lieutenant General Comte de Rochambeau, pointing (unwittingly?) towards the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

At Lafayette Park, behind the White House

All the Same Size

Connecticut Ave. and K St.

(Thank goodness for all the numbers and letters. It makes navigating an unfamiliar city that much easier.)

A Big Ol' Flag and a Crosswalk Timer

Rather Handy

At the end of the day, I was pooped from walking, but delighted with Our Nation's Capital, or at least what I'd experienced of it that day. It was truly a lovely homecoming to wander the streets, surrounded by so many people of different accents and languages, colors, shapes and nations. And knowing that within a mile from where I stood, Barack Obama was governing my country! (I think, unless he was in Mexico at the time...)

And how exciting to see the homes of all the bodies that run our country, Embassy Row, historical sites you've only read about. It was a good first day.


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