Friday, August 29, 2014

DC Wins Over Maui Part II

Driving down to DC was simple.  One straight drag after stopping for bagels.  We also stopped in Maryland for a short break, and we paid homage to the large roadside BVM.

When we hit DC, we drove right through it to get to Crystal City in Arlington, VA to check into the Hilton DoubleTree. We've been staying at Hiltons for points, but since I booked through Expedia, we weren't getting any points, but still, they are a reliable brand except for the Tropicana in Vegas. They blow big time. You know who also blows? The valets in the parking garage who ignored us as we sat there, unsure of where to park. Finally after five minutes, someone came over and told us where to go. We didn't have to stand on line at check-in but they did ask me how I was going to pay for parking. I told them I had free parking. They said I did not. I showed them my phone that had my booking information. They apologized and said that Expedia hadn't sent over the correct code. Then they gave us free cookies to keep us happy.

We didn't stay in the room long. We dropped out stuff and headed out to explore because we were finally on vacation! We took the free hotel shuttle to the closest metro stop and fumbled our way on the metro to get to some place in the middle of the DC mall. We came out of the metro to find fountains and a Navy memorial and found out pretty quickly that every block has either a memorial, a museum, or a big white marble-looking building usually with pillars. What they didn't have was restaurants. More on that soon.

From block to block, we walked, ducking in and out of museums, finding interesting art and history. As we walked, we realized that the weather was warmer in DC than it was in Hawaii. We were sweating, in fact. Who else was sweating? The hundreds of joggers who run across DC. It's a jogging town. A close second was cyclists. A close third was segway riders, though that isn't exactly the same kind of activity.

Because Eddie's favorite song ever is the Star Spangled Banner, I planned a visit to the Museum of American History to see the exhibit on it. Then we saw the National Sculpture Garden. In that garden, we found a fountain that you can put your feet in. So I put my feet in because that's what you do when you're in a public place that welcomes feet in water and it's 90 degrees outside. Oh, and BTW, everything we did and saw was free. FREE!

We didn't see the play, but we enjoyed the advertisement.
The wall of the metro stop

From there, we headed towards the Washington Monument, which seems really close but is very far. So we wound up taking about 87 pictures of it because it's brand new from every angle. On the way, I found more art.

The Smithsonian.  One of the many.
Heh heh
I crack myself up.
Eddie has a monument coming out of his head.

We finally made it to the monument after walking down sidewalks and through parks and uphill. We did not go in because we really didn't know what was inside of the Washington Monument, but we knew we probably would find it boring to stand on a line. It was windy, too.

From the top of the hill, we could see the White House, which we planned to see after finishing our straight path through the Mall.

Onto the Lincoln Memorial by way of the reflecting pool. In between, we visited Hawaii. And we kept turning back to see the Washington Monument because we could still see it, which for some reason was mesmerizing for us both.

Home away from home
You could put your feet in, though.
This is a duck, ass-up.  Guess who too this picture.
There it is again.
Another duck.  There were lots of them. Also geese.  They were mean.
Water fowl and the Washington Monument.

After a very long walk, we found Lincoln. He is colossal. The cool thing about the memorial that I didn't remember about it or never knew is that his oath of office and the Gettysburg Address are carved into the walls in gold.

Lots of steps
A view from the back of the memorial
Yet idiots were everywhere running up and down the steps and allowing their children to teeter over the side.
A view from the side of the monument

We decided to head over to the White House. On the way, we found the Vietnam Memorial. I took a picture of someone tracing a name so that I could finally show my classes what I always try to explain when we read Komunyakaa's "Facing It."

See it?

Then we decided we'd go to the White House. How difficult could it be? We'd seen it from the top of the hill at the Washington Monument, and since we could still see the Washington Monument, it must be close by. Also, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I knew the address. Easy peasy.

Except that we walked forever and ever and could not find it. Huge white building after huge white building, Smithsonian after Smithsonian, we couldn't quite get to where we wanted to go. We were hungry and Eddie's feet were on fire (I'm so buying him a pair of New Balance specifically for long walking events). But we wanted to see the White House. I actually sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and then to reorient myself and look at the map that seemed to change every time I looked at it. We first found a large statue thing that was on the map close to the White House so I suggested we keep walking straight ahead. We finally came upon a large crowd and noticed that security was building more and more. Then we looked left. We found it. Thanks, Obama.

Eddie's favorite part?  The snipers.

We just about passed out after that, so back through the Mall and then we somehow stumbled upon the metro stop we'd started at, so we decided to go back to the hotel and find something to eat there. On our way down the escalator, I happened to look left (everything is apparently to the left in DC)and exclaimed, There are restaurants right over there!!! Thanks, Obama. Eddie looked up and said, We're going back up. He ran down the rest of the way to head back up, but I waited until I got to the bottom because running is not in my vocabulary. We walked up and down the streets and found Carmines. You know, the family style Italian joint that began in NYC. You can take the pair out of New York, but you can't take the Italian out of the hunger. What???? I don't know what the hell that means, but I know we were deliriously hungry. And thirsty. The server brought over water and the glasses were empty in under a minute. She then brought over large 16 oz glasses of water plus a soda for Eddie, all of which were gone in the next five minutes. She then continued to bring over drinks ever few minutes until she saw we were not sucking them down in seconds. We decided to split chicken parm, and even though we ordered just one to share between the two of us, there was still enough food to feed at least two more people. Between that and the bread, I felt like I needed to be carted out. However, after all the walking, I think I was in need of some nutrients. After we were able to move out of our food coma, we found a frozen yogurt place, and I indulged because every time we see a frozen yogurt place, Eddie gets very excited and tells me I should eat some.

They're watching.
This is the serving fork
and the serving spoon.
This was the table that doubles as a metro map.

Feet rested, we headed to the metro. On the way, we saw the Capitol.

Another day. We'd see it another day. We were exhausted. We got back to the metro stop and waited for our shuttle to take us to the hotel. We got to the room and put our leftovers into the fridge, which was unfortunately lukewarm so we wound up throwing them out. Anyway, I don't know when we would have eaten them considering we still had huge plans for the rest of our trip. But right then, we passed out.