Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Thursday, October 20, 2005

DC at Night


There isn't anything much sweeter than a warm balmy evening after 8 days of constant downpours. Washington DC felt magical and spacious in the early evening as I began another "3 Hour Tour" at 6:30 p.m. There was a beautiful pink and orange sunset coloring the sky as a warm breeze softly blew through the air. No need for an umbrella or even a jacket really.

I have to say that there is nothing like a little deprivation to make one appreciate the simple things in life. The absence of rain felt glorious. It had only been a week since I saw the sun but it felt like an eternity. In New York the doorman at Maureen's apartment was making jokes about building an ark because it felt like we might actually need one with the quantity of raining coming down. In reality it was just eight days of consecutive rain which isn't that big of a deal. There are many comforts of home which I normally take for granted but while I am on the road I see in a different light. My own space and bed and kitchen for example seem almost too good to be true.

I boarded the bus tour that was going to take us around to all of the monuments and important sights in town. Washington has made the effort to showcase their monuments and architecture at night by lighting them and keeping them open for visitors. I wanted to see them but didn't want to walk around by myself in the dark so I joined up with this bus tour.

It got off to a bit of a slow start because they had over booked it and needed to switch to a larger bus. The bus driver told about the different government buildings as we drove past them and then we stopped at almost all of the monuments. Our first stop was at the White House but it was hard to see too much, especially at night. The next stop was the newly finished World War 11 monument. It is really beautiful in its design and I was surprised to find myself crying. It was incredibly moving to think of all of the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of our country and freedom for us and for those around the world. It didn't feel heavy and burdensome, rather it felt deep and rich and full of life and promise.

As we journyed from monument to monument I repeatedly got choked up and tears poured out of my eyes. I felt proud to an American and to be part of this country. Rarely have I felt that in my adult life. Generally I am fairly disgusted with politics and ashamed of many of the policies and greediness and excesses of our country. I think that Washington pays tribute really well to the people and times that we as Americans are proud of. As a nation we have done great some things and have had wonderful inspiring leaders and we need to remember that and be encouraged to see how we can be and do that in the present and in the future.

In many of the memorials there are quotes of speeches and famous documents that are amazingly eloquent and powerful and sound. Quite a difference from much of what we tend to hear these days. I was awed as I stood there amongst the other visitors looking up at the beautiful stone walls and columns and domes and thinking about our past.

The moon was bright and full and I wanted to be able to capture it on my camera but there was no way to catch the bright glow it cast over the city. The Washington Memorial rose tall and gleaming in the night sky and it begged to be photographed but it too was elusive. The reflecting pond was lovely in the moonlight but was too dark to catch on film. I had to content myself with looking deeply at it all and storing it my memory. (I did get some photos but none of them manage to convey how it felt to be there looking at it in person.)

The FDR memorial was comprised of stone blocks and waterfalls separating the space into different "rooms" which wound their way through the years of his administration and the challenging times of our nation. It was thoughtful and creative and informative and beautiful.

I'm not sure why, but our "3 Hour Tour" last about 5 1/2 hours and I didn't arrive home until almost midnight. Considering that I had been up and walking in Central Park that morning before 7:00 a.m. it felt like a long day. But what a great way to see our nation's capitol.


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