DC was gorgeous; cold and crisp, but mostly sunny. In 3 1/2 days we managed to see a lot of the things we wanted to see. Thursday night, after we checked into the hotel, we met a tour bus a few blocks away and got to see most of the monuments by night. Jefferson, Lincoln, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iwo Jima, and World War II monuments were stops on the tour and it was an awesome way to see them. Luckily it wasn't too cold.
Last week was the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, and they had all kinds of fresh-flower wreaths around his statue. I don't know if those are always there, but I think that they, along with the flowers and birthday cards were there for his birthday.
We also stopped to loiter around the gates of the White House, hoping they'd see us and invite us in for some hot chocolate. They didn't but we decided not to hold it against them.
The next morning we met up with an intern from our local House Rep's office and went on a tour of the Capitol building. They have a new underground visitor's center there which serves to lengthen the tour since there are not all that many places you are allowed to visit in the building. This pic of us is in the main hall of the visitors center - they call it Constitution Hall.
Our tour guide was a Texas Tech student who arrived in DC in Mid-January. She was friendly and expertly coiffed. But not very well informed. We were her first tour and though I don't hold it against her that she wasn't exactly confident with where she was going, I did have to laugh at her narration. She carried a binder with tour information to refer to. Which is fine. But it kind of went like this. "That is a painting of like, George Washington, like resigning his commission and stuff." I am NOT exaggerating. She could not even begin to fake it. Luckily, David and I had read up a little on DC and knew pretty much what we were looking at. I even ended up telling her a few things. Nice young lady though. I am sure she will get better with the tours after a few months. She just needs to study and then fake it, fake it, fake it.
One funny moment in our tour was when we passed the hallway to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office. She was walking by and the three college girls there started screaming as if it were Elvis or the Beatles. I kid you not. They got her to pose for a picture and then started jumping up and down screaming. Nancy got out of there pretty quickly and I don't blame her. Girls with no dignity acting like nitwits making our gender look silly.
We got passes from our Rep's office to sit in the Gallery while the House was in session and we had to wait in line and go through more security to get in. But it was worth it. We stayed for maybe 20 minutes and listened to the House debate the stimulus package. There were definitely not that many reps there and listening to them back and forth talk up and then trash talk the legislation and each other made me a little sad. So many people drowning out here and these guys are not listening to each other and no one is convincing anyone of anything. Their minds are made up. Why do they bother debating it, they may as well just vote. I actually could have sat there all day listening to them though because the process is so fascinating to me. It was hard to realize that right in front of me were the people, mostly old white men, who were deciding what to do about our national economy. And right or wrong, whatever they decide on will effect the lives of people they will never meet, never hear about or know. What they were doing was so terribly important. Yes, I could have sat there for hours. But we had things to do and see in limited time. So we tore ourselves away.
After the capitol we had a good lunch in the House of Representatives cafeteria and headed over to the Supreme Court Building.
We got to go in to the court room and sit down to listen to a young clerk give a little lecture about how things work in the room, who sits where traditionally and such. It was pretty cool. We couldn't take pic in the courtroom, but we got some in the hall. The ceilings are gorgeous in the building. Colorful.
After the lecture, we came out to find one of the security guards holding his newborn. I couldn't resist asking to take his picture, they were so cute.
Then we started on the Smithsonian with the American History Museum - my primary objective in DC. We saw so much there! But it is getting late and I don't want to hurry this. So I will stop here for now and blog some more tomorrow.