Washington DC

November 29, 2009

Started with yet another colesterol rich morning meal. It was another nice day with blue sky.

I walked down to the Monument to get a ticket to get up in the thing. On the way down there, I once again walked by the White House to get a couple of pictures in daylight. The first ticket I could get was at 1:30, so I had 3+ hours to kill. I consulted my travel guide to check which of the museums along the Mall would be more interesting to visit. I decide to go for the National American History Museum. Another one of the Smithsonians. It's truly amazing with all these free museums. They must cost a fortune to run. There's tons of staff and the buildings are pretty spectacular... Lots of marble.

The museum was an impressive 3 story building with lots of Americana exhibits. There was a transportation section with old steam locomotives and cars. Also there was a section about lighting, which was probably the most interesting one. It was mostly about Edison and his attempt to light up a section of Manhattan. They had some of the massive steam engines that were driving the generators. They were very impressive. I had no idea how much coal had to be showeled into those in order to keep them running. There was also an exhibit about robots and it had the Intel/Stanford car that can drive by itself.

The 3 hours went by pretty quickly, so it was time to head up in the Washington monument. The elevator ride up the pyramid top took about a minute. The space up there is pretty cramped, but the view is spectacular. Roundtrip up and down took about half an hour.

I walked down to the Lincoln Memorial after that. The long rectangular reflecting pool had been drained, so I was able to walk down the middle without getting wet. Made me think of Forrest Gump, when he gave his speech af being introduced by Bob Dylan.

The Vietnam War Memorial is right by the Lincoln Memorial, and is a long wall with many many names of falled soldiers on it. It is really sad that so many people had to die there.

I was getting pretty pooped, but wanted to see the Declaration of Independence down at the National Archives. It was a 30 minutes walk down there. It's really hard to read. Evidently, it already starting to fade early on. Well it's 233 years old.

I walked back to the hotel but stopped at the ESPN Zone restaurant to get a bite, before getting back to the hotel.

There's a lot of homeless people begging on the streets here in DC. There's also a lot of guards everywhere. I guess they need the guards to keep the homeless from sleeping on the monuments. Each of the monuments have at least two armed guards posted 24 hours a day. I went by the Lincoln and Jefferson monuments on my run this morning and said hello to the two guys that had probably been stationed there all night. If they paid a few less guards they might be able to pay for some homeless shelters. Just an idea.