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 in Daylight


I slept in a bit after my late night tour of Washington. For my stay here in DC, I upgraded from staying in a hostel to checking into a hotel (what a difference that one little letter 's' can make) that was only a 10 minute walk from the White House. It feels amazing to be able to just take a short walk and then be in front of the best known and most visited address in the US. I am so used to seeing the White House and many of other DC buildings in movies or on TV that it feels kind of strange that they exist in real life too and that you can just walk up to them. Of course there are strong fences and lots of police to make sure you don't get too close to George W.

It finally felt like Autumn. It is the first time on my trip that the weather has felt that way. I thought most of the time I would be hitting the wonderful fall weather that I love: cool crisp air, some windy gusts and leaves blowing around. Instead it has either been hot or wet or both.

I strolled down to the White House and checked it out from both sides before moving on down to the mall and the Washington monument. The flags circling the base were flapping in the breeze and tourists were milling about. There was a sign posted that all the tickets for a tour and going up the tower were sold out. I decided to visit one of the Smithsonian museums. All of the Smithsonian museum are free and are wonderfully done. I chose to go first to the national Museum of American History. I enjoyed the exhibits about the First Ladies, the Presidents and Science and American Culture. I was bummed that the exhibit on popular culture was closed because I really was interested in that one. All they had on display that you could see were the ruby shoes from Wizard of Oz, Jerry Seinfeld's "puffy shirt" and Kermit the frog. Fun, but very limited. I also visited the Natural History Museum which has great displays of animals and is very big on pushing Evolution throughout the museum, complete with a movie about it.

After the museum I was ready to get some more of that fresh fall air. It still felt like autumn but dark gray clouds were quickly filling up the sky. I continued to walk down to the Capitol building and amused myself by watching the other tourists. Washington is a great city to walk in, but there is a fair amount of distance between the sights. There were quite a few families where some of the kids were dragging their feet in the dirt and had the look on their faces that said that they were maxed out and just wanted to be home playing a video game or something along those lines. I think because there is so much open space you can see how far things are away and that makes it more difficult psychologically for those kids. In New York there are so many buildings to distract you and block your vision, that you have no sense of the distance. I remember being in DC as a 12 year old during the hot and muggy summertime and trying to scout out the ice cream carts so I could stop and get a popsicle to cool down. I have been one of those foot-dragging kids.

The next day I decided to head over to Georgetown. It was sunny and warm and I got off the bus and walked through the downtown shopping district. There are fabulous shops and restaurants along M Street. I walked down to the C&O Canal and followed the footpath for quite awhile. After lunch at a cute little cafe I decided to take a river cruise on a small river boat. The group that de- boarded was comprised of about 15 people but on my tour there was only one other guy besides the boat operator. It was fun to have a private tour and our guide knew a lot of interesting DC history and trivia. He started off the cruise by playing the theme song to Gilligan's Island (just a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour) and I wondered if I ought to hop off and swim back to shore. Luckily this cruise lasted precisely the 50 minutes it was supposed to.

I wanted to see Georgetown University so following the cruise I walked down along the canal past a lovely spot with trellises and park benches in honor of Francis Scott Key. I climbed up 4 long steep flights of stairs to the level where Georgetown University sits. There was a massive stone building that is one of their main halls. Students were coming and going between classes and sitting on the lawn and benches reading and chatting with friends.

I had picked up a pamphlet in the visitor's center which had a self guided tour of the "Kennedy's in Georgetown." I pulled it out and located the house that John bought Jackie when John-John was born and the church they attended and the house he lived in when they first met. Other people live in those houses now and I was the only tourist around so it was quite easy to imagine them living their lives there in a normal sort of way. Of course that would have to be before he was the president and all that jazz.

I was itching to go to a movie so I stopped at the Georgetown movie theater and saw the movie Elizabethtown. The bus makes a stop right in front of the theater so I felt that I could get home safely afterwards, which I did. It felt good to do something "normal" like seeing a movie. I really enjoyed Washington and I could have spent a lot more time in the museums in DC but I only can do so many hours a day in museums. I love that they are free of charge here, my only complaint is that they close at 5:00 p.m. I know that there are tons of politicians and government workers here but as a tourist it is actually quite easy to be oblivious to them. I guess that I just chose to see the amazing monuments and buildings and museums and not really pay any attention to the "real" business of Washington.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really nice to catch up with your travels! Sorry to imagine you slogging through 8 days of rain. Your descriptions of NYC adventure details like the fogged up double decker windows and of your dyed soggy feet put me right their in the rain with you. Was glad you could enjoy indoor delights like a theater production and the fine museums (was the Rodin exhibit a permanant display or a touring collection? Either way, a bit of France finding you where you wherever you go). Your observation about DC site distances and foot dragging kids sure rings true! Hope the next leg of your journey is fun and rejuvinating, and hope the southern foul weather doesn't affect your travels. Take care,

11:55 PM  

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