October 16 through
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||This is on E street adjacent the White
House fence. DO NOT go beyond this point. Trust me!
||West end of E street.
||ESPN Zone. You must go here.
We ate here 3 times. This is a man's place.
Imagine manly food, great beer and drinks, an arcade, HUGE screen TV flanked
by 12 smaller TVs, booths with built in flat screen TV, recliners in front
of the huge screen, and a sports fanatics environment and you are in
||This is a shot at the top of the
National Mall, where mounted police officers were getting on their horses.
This was right next to the Americans for Jesus event.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Library of Congress
National Air and Space Museum
DC at Night
Buildings and Statues
|17 Oct 2004
Ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Ok buffet.
Won’t do it again.
We headed down to the new WWII Memorial. Along the
way we noticed that Pennsylvania Ave. by the White House is closed. You
can still get to a small section in front of the wrought iron fence via
the Ellipse park.
The Washington Monument is closed for refurbishment.
The whole area around the monument is just a dirt pile, instead of the
flat grassy plain it used to be.
The WWII Memorial has an upper ring around a lower
plaza. The upper ring has a column for each state and territory. At one
side of the ring was a pavilion for the Atlantic battles, and at the other
side was for the Pacific. There were a lot of great quotes etched in the
walls. The lower plaza has a big shallow pool and multiple water jets for
a fountain. The wind gusted, and we were sprayed with water from the
multiple fountains. There were signs saying coins hurt the fountain, and
not to wade in the water out of respect. Similar to the Vietnam Memorial,
people left notes and wreaths commemorating the dead.
We could not tell
why the states and territories were arranged in the seemingly random
order, but when we asked a ranger, he explained that
they appear in the order they became states -- except they alternate from
the columns on the left to the columns on the right. For example,
Massachusetts is the 6th state, and it appears third in the right.
Music and far off amplified voices impinged on our meditations at
the memorial. We are all for people exercising their right to assemble,
so we headed for the Lincoln Monument to see what was up. It was the
million worker march, There were maybe 500 people there. They were
talking trash about the President.
We cut through the crowd and stopped at the Vietnam Nurses
memorial. Then we headed back up Constitution Avenue to get a closer look
at the pink stone monument we had glimpsed earlier. It turns out it was
for the 2nd Division, many different wars. We meandered
through a flock of little birdies in the grass and through the park at the
ellipsis where people were playing touch football.
We continued up Constitution Ave. towards the Capital
Building. We thought we were headed to the new International Spy Museum.
However, along the way we came across the National Archives. That was
it. Lou had to stop. Lou has been wanting to see the National Archives
for many years and was disappointed it was closed for renovation last time
we were here in 2001. So we went in and saw originals and replicas of the
Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution.
From there we had lunch at the old Post Office
After lunch, hum, what to do. We went to the Museum
of American Art, but it is closed until 2006. We then went to the US Mint
Museum, but it closes at 5:30 on Sundays
L So we walked to the Capitol
building where we sat for a while admiring. From there we went to Union
Station to walk around a bit more before taking the Metro back to the
hotel and collapsing. After figuring out what was open for dinner, we had
an awesome dinner at McCormick and Schmick.
We are now
back in the room after a busy day.
|18 Oct 2004
International Spy Museum
We got up and hit the street early so we could take
Farragut North blue line to Gallery and pop out right by the CLOSED
National Museum of American Art… and then go across the street and eat
breakfast at the Spy Café. Breakfast did not have an auspicious beginning
because we were disappointed to learn that it was self serve. But when
the eggs finally came, they were darned good. As we sat there at a booth
in the window enjoying our coffee, thirty people appeared and lined up at
the Spy Museum door! Yikes. So we joined the line and got in with the
second group allowed thru the door.
We took the combo ticket, the regular spy museum plus
the terrorism in America special exhibit. We started upstairs in
terrorism. It was eye opening to see that most of the terrorist acts were
perpetrated by Americans. The show took some liberties and included what
we thought were some acts of war (like Germans blowing up 2 million pounds of
munitions stored on Black Tom Island in New York Harbor in 1916).
The spy part of the museum was fun, too. We crawled
through some air duct! We were very loud and would have been shot to
death in real life.
We went into the museum at like 5 past 10… and when
we came out it was 3:00 PM. Wow! We had lunch at the ESPN zone in a
cushy booth with our own TV in front of a BIG SCREEN. One pound of
chicken wings. Left around 5:00.
Barnes and Noble! Karen bought enuff books to get
through the week and the trip home.
Lou wanted to go to the park, but I talked him into a
bathroom break at the hotel. I fell asleep on the bed while he planned
what we would do the next day. Then we went to Lafayette Park and stood
around till it got dark. We took some pictures of the White House and I
bet they took some pictures of us. We also watched the roadwork on the
road in front of the White House. It looks like they are turning it into
a marble plaza. We saw a black tar layer, and we watched them cover that
with a sort of red aggregate tar layer, and then we guess next comes
marble. As it got dark in the park, the RATS came boldly out of hiding
and scurried across the sidewalks, making Karen scream.
went home and watched part of the baseball game in the bar.
|19 Oct 2004
In the morning, Lou sweetly suggested that we change
our plans and go straight to the Pentagon, since that was the top thing I
wanted to see. So we got lattes and items and stood outside Starbucks
eating breakfast, then we hopped on the blue line to the Pentagon. But
the guards said NO TOURS. One was really nice and apologetic that the web
site had not been changed because tours have NEVER resumed since 9/11. The
other one was not as nice and gave Lou a hard time about the camera. So,
we turned around and went to the Library of Congress.
Library of Congress was FANTASTIC. What a beautiful
building and a great tour. Also, a helluva gift shop. We bought so much,
it was clear that we would have to go to the hotel. Books filled with
photographs are heavy.
A guard outside the LoC suggested we eat lunch at one
of the small restaurants near the metro station, so we ate a Mexican place
called Tortilla Coast. Slow but good. The we took the train back to the
hotel and Lou found out that the Smithsonian Air and Space closes at 5:30
– not enuff time! So we decided to do the WWII Memorial and Abe Lincoln
again. This time, Lou changed out of his shorts and I bundled up in my
We went back to the WWII Memorial. Fewer people,
nicer experience. It is so funny to watch people where some are soaking
up all the details and others could be anywhere, they are so busy chatting
with their companions about something else.
We walked to the Lincoln Monument along the jogging
path. We saw the Korean War Memorial through the trees. I love that Abe
Lincoln monument! We sat there for awhile and I suggested we go to the
ESPN Zone to watch the baseball game. After all, we have to root for the
Sox! So we walked to Foggy Bottom and took the train to Metro Center.
This time, we sat in the RECLINERS in front of the
BIG SCREEN! Awesome. Sox did great. We ordered a ton of stuff, but did
not clean our plates. We decided we had better walk home instead of
staying there for the whole game. Lou lectured me on how to walk at night
in the city all the way home. It rained lightly on us. Felt like home.
Now we are
back in the room, Lou is watching the game, and I was reading Secret Prey
till it was time to do this log.
|20 Oct 2004
Lou’s day. We spent the day at the National Air and Space Museum. The
museum is open 10 am to 5:30 pm. So we got there late and spent the day
from 10:30 to a little after 5:30. They actually came and got us and
kindly told us to leave. We found out that there was a special speaker
that night. Unfortunately it was sold out and had been for some time.
None other then Chuck Yeager. The Wright brothers’ airplane has been
moved to its own gallery to celebrate the centennial of flight. We saw
lots of space stuff including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules,
rockets, and rovers. Also, a full size model of the Viking and
Opportunity/Spirit probes. Many airplanes including the X29, Amelia
Earhart’s plane that flew across the Atlantic, Spirit of St. Louis,
Chuck’s sound barrier breaker, etc. We saw to IMAX movies – International
Space Station in 3D and Helicopter Flight. In the Einstein planetarium we
saw Infinite Express about the planets. Saw a couple of exhibits about
the universe and the planets. New stuff at the museum includes the Wright
brothers’ gallery and a gallery consisting of art work from every NASA
launch. Apparently NASA has an artist at every single mission launch.
These drawings, paintings, and sculptures are now at the NASM. Also new,
but we didn’t do it, is a hanger at Dulles Airport. You can take a
shuttle from the NASM. It houses an SR71, Concorde, Enola Gay (the bomber
that dropped the bomb), and the Enterprise space shuttle.
|21 Oct 2004
We got started a bit late today and had a nice
breakfast at the buffet restaurant around the corner from the hotel. For
13 bucks, we got a variety of hot food, coffee, and an OJ.
Then we headed off on foot to the BEP (Bureau of
Engraving and Printing). It turns out it was in a different quadrant that
we expected, on the far side of the Mall. But it was a good walk. We
waited just a few minutes for the tour to start at 11:00. They were
adamant that no one take pictures – and if you did, they confiscate your
equipment and film, and return none of it to you, and the whole tour gets
kicked out! Serious. It was a good tour, watching the money get
printed. We learned about the money with the small stars after the serial
number, which is put into circulation only if a problem is detected in a
packet of 100 bills at the very last step of production. So we spent some
of our own money in the gift ship!
Dopes that we are, we walked up to the employee
entrance to the FBI building and asked the guard, “Is there an entrance
for the public tour?” He silently (and sort of rudely) pointed to a brass
sign behind him (in plain sight) that said, “No Public Tours till 2006.”
So we went to an ATM and then had lunch at the
zone in the recliners again. Then we wandered slowly back to the hotel
room, Karen stopped unsuccessfully at the gift shops for the National
Museum of American History and the White House Visitor’s Center looking
for good stuff to buy, and we stopped at CVS to get more water. We are
We went to the Corcoran Gallery of Art where we saw some
Impressionist and Contemporary paintings. Saw a great portrait of Andrew
Jackson and a painting of a bear about to eat a woman. There was a
display of architect Gehry. He is the architect of the EMP and has
created an addition to the Corcoran building.
The nighttime tour was fun. It lasted over 3 hours. We saw the White House,
Capitol, WWII, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea, FDR, and Iwo Jima. The tour guide
was somewhat funny and entertaining. We thought the tour guide was a bit
indelicate regarding his commentary of the Pentagon. At one point, he
described how the plane that hit the Pentagon was traveling in the same
direction as we were at that moment towards the Pentagon. Nonetheless,
the memorial of Iwo Jima was incredible.
|22 Oct 2004
We visited the US Supreme Court. We sat in the court
room while listening to a lecture on the court, judges, history, cases,
the court room, and chief justices. Absolutely no photography of any kind
is permitted in the court room. This explains why I’ve never seen a photo
or video of the court room. Reporters are not permitted to bring in any
kind of recording device whatsoever. They must take handwritten notes.
No laptops, palmtops, cell phones, etc. Attorneys must place all items in
a locker. They are only permitted to bring in a notepad and pen. Seating
in the court room – whether judges, special guests, or guests of a judge
are all seated according to seniority.
We walked to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture
Garden. It was ok. We didn’t go into the museum because we are cooked.
The sculpture garden was ok. In the background on the National Mall was a
convention of Americans For Jesus. It was humorous to hear all of the God
talk and even more so to watch everyone stand, sit, raise right hands,
etc. on command like well trained sheep. I guess the Kool-Aid was good.
(The preceeding commentary is from Lou.)