Thursday, May 26, 2011

The District sleeps alone tonight, part 2.

So, I should preface this post by informing you all, World Wide Web, that I do not travel well. Never have. Three things in particular happen to me every time I embark on a vacation. 1) I get hangnails 2) I get constipated and 3) I start my period. And as I'm sure you've already guessed, the Trifecta of Traveling Woes made its appearance right on time for my D.C. trip. Yes, even Aunt Flo, who was gracious enough to postpone her untimely visitation for ... wait, let me do the math ... nearly TWO YEARS. The nasty hag.

Anyway, enough about me and my rogue bodily functions. Let's talk about D.C.!

Thursday morning, I could not figure out what to do with my hair. I had a genius plan to run a flat-iron through it to create some waves. Well, that most certainly backfired and left me looking like a half-straightened freak the rest of the day. Awesome. Anyway, we left bright and early and took the metro to the White House. We weren't lucky enough to get a tour, but we did see the visitors' center which was pretty impressive.

Obama's crib

After that, we headed south (past Washington Monument) and had breakfast at the Holocaust Museum Cafe. My father-in-law, a former police officer and also a genius, brought his old police I.D. card so we got to skip the long "civilian" line to get into the Holocaust Museum, which was brilliant. There were a ton of people there. I didn't think we'd be able to pull that one off, but I'd heard so many good things about it and didn't want to miss it. So glad we didn't have to. It was extremely moving. I had a hard time choking back the tears as I saw the thousands of shoes, the train cars the victims were transported in, the pictures ... the countless pictures, most I'd never seen before. To think that so many people died at the hands of one evil dictator is baffling. They also had an interesting exhibit (aside from the main one) about how Hitler used propaganda to lull so many people into wholeheartedly supporting his evil politics. But mostly, my heart hurt at the thought of little, innocent children being gassed to death just for existing. What a terrible, shameful scar on our world's history. The silver lining in it all is that we can learn about what happened and see to it that it never happens again.

If you're ever in D.C., make the Holocaust Museum a high priority.

That afternoon, we were slated for guided tours of both the U.S. Capitol building and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. We headed to our congressman Jeff Flake's office and met up with our tour guide, Rob. Come to find out he is a BYU student interning at the House of Representatives for the summer. How awesome is that? We started the tour in Rep. Flake's office, where I snapped this picture:

Verdict: Rep. Flake is a Cougars fan. His daughter is actually attending the university now.

We saw some really spectacular things in the Capitol, including ...

Gorgeous chandelier

Painting on the dome of the rotunda -- "Apotheosis of George Washington"

Unfortunately, we finished the tour a little too late and couldn't make it to the Bureau in time. Bummer. I was looking forward to seeing all the dollar bills being printed, destroying our economy. Oh well, there's always next time!

(Whew, I'm getting a little political ... sorry for the detour. )

Once we realized we weren't going to make it on our tour, we headed to Pentagon City for a magical rooftop dinner for the bride's and groom's families. And when I say it was magical, I mean it. It was held on top of a condo high-rise and the view of the city went on for miles. The groom's good friend Austin made a most fabulous dinner, which included butternut squash ravioli in a browned butter sauce, grilled asparagus topped with mozzarella, a delicious spinach salad, wild rice, chicken in lemon cream sauce and for dessert, grilled pineapple on top of vanilla ice cream. Divine. Holy. The weather was perfect. David and Rachel gave a highly entertaining PowerPoint presentation about their friendship, courtship and engagement. It was great to be able to socialize with Rachel's family while relaxing and eating a fantastic meal.

After dinner, we (meaning myself, Dill, Melanie, and my in-laws) decided it would be a good time to tour the monuments. The weather WAS perfect, and we'd heard they were most beautiful at night when they're all lit up. Well, hindsight is 20/20 and it turned out to be a not-so-great idea. The monuments and memorials were overcrowded with middle schoolers, which totally quashed any reverence or respect that would have been present otherwise. Our cameras were not very good at taking night pictures, either (our cell phones actually took better pictures than our real camera -- go figure). 

Honest Abe
We were super-tired and sore from walking all over tarnation earlier that day, so that kind of killed it, too. Plus the reflecting pool has been drained for some unknown reason (maybe it's part of budget cuts?). But we were doing alright and enjoying ourselves reasonably well until ... it started pouring. And pouring. Here we were, wandering about in the dark wooded areas of D.C. with images of Chandra Levy creeping up in our minds and it starts raining as hard as it can. Dill and I had one measly umbrella between the two of us and it was hardly doing any good. To make matters worse, the metro was hundreds of miles away (it seemed) and we didn't even know if it was still running. And Sister Hansen had given us a curfew -- 11:00 -- which we had no chance of making. So I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact I would be sleeping on a bench in D.C. or maybe on her front lawn if the metro was operating.

By the time we got home around midnight, we were so exhausted we could hardly think straight. And I swear, my feet have never hurt so much in my life. And stupidly (I take full responsibility) we had another huge day planned for Friday. Now that the trip is over, I see that we would not have been able to fit in as much sightseeing as we did if we hadn't planned it this way, but at the time, I was pretty much hating myself. Obviously though, we lived to tell about it!

1 comment:

  1. We saw all of the monuments during the day when we were there last September and I kick myself now for not seeing them at night. I think they are crowded no matter when you see them! LOL!

    Oh and as for the reflecting pool, maybe it's a good thing it was drained it was NASTY (really, really NASTY) so it's a good thing it was drained so they can clean the gross thing and start fresh this summer.


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