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2001-06-25 12:00 PM
Trip to MD: Washington D.C.
Today began the official bit of site seeing that I required (everything else was gravy). We drove down to the Metro and took it into DC right next to "The Mall." The Mall is the main strip between the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Templ... I mean Memorial. So, this makes me wonder what the original definition of the word "mall" is, since today we use it to refer to a collection of shops and such. I'll have it look it up.
The Metro is very much like the Metro in Los Angeles, except the one in Los Angeles isn't subterranean at all. The Metro we took into DC started above ground, but became a subway as we entered DC. Pretty cool.
Our path was as follows: Washington Monument, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, White House, Capital Building, Air and Space Musuem, and Natural History Museum. When we tell people it only took us 3 or 4 hours, they look astonished, because believe me, that is a BIG place. However, they did not realize that we did not walk the whole way, oh no! :) We brought our roller blades and skated from monument to memorial. It was a LOT of fun, and it made the whole trip SO much easier.
Washington Monument: It is white and tall. Not terribly impressive. It strikes me as very sterile, but more on this after the Lincoln Memorial.
Korean War Memorial: This was very well done. There is a large bit of underbrush between two sidewalks where they have 20 or so statues of soldiers, each about 8 feet tall. Very detailed, even down to their eyes. From one perspective, there is a wall behind them, on which they have painted the faces of soliders and nurses, etc. However, the eerie part is that the 8 foot tall soldiers reflect off of the black marble wall. Since this is a War Memorial to those who died, it instantly makes you feel as if they are ghosts and not just reflections.
Lincoln Memorial: I think Memorial is too light of a word for this place. This building is a shrine or a temple, but not a memorial. This was what I was most impressed with during our little personal tour. Let's compare the two presidential monuments I've seen. Washington Monument... Unless it was called the "Washington" Monument, you really wouldn't know it was for him. The Lincoln Temple... there is a 40 foot detailed statue of him sitting on a _throne_ in the center of the building. Washington Monument... surrounded by grass and a tiny hill. Lincoln Temple... surrounded by two flights of marble stairs and greek style columns, not to mention that all 50 states are etched around the top of the building. etc, etc, etc.
Vietnam War Memorial: Strangely enough, I wasn't terribly impressed by this memorial. Now, before you condemn me, obviously, as young as I am, I have no real connection to the Vietnam War, but I think the reason why is that was much smaller than I anticipated. I guess it had always been described as such a grandeous thing, that my mind as a kid made it 20 feet tall and 1000 feet long. Nonetheless, I did notice that I was quiet the whole time walking through the memorial, so it must have affected me a bit.
White House: I knew we weren't going to be able to go up next to it, but I didn't realize just how far that make everyone stand away. We got a picture or two and moved on, but at least I've seen it in person, I know it's real. :)
Capital Building: It's a big building with a dome. woo. *snickers* Definately the low point of the tour.
Air and Space Museum: We only took a cursory walk through (we were up to 3 hours of roller blading across not very smooth surfaces and starting to fade), but I enjoyed it. I got to see the Spirit of St. Louis, and we looked at different space suits and rockets. The thing that stands out the most in my memory though, is the large painting of Icarus. When I saw it, I thought to myself, "I'm not so sure you really want Icarus to be your mascot. I mean... he flew too high and paid the price with his life. *shrug*" Perhaps it's sort of an "in your face, Icarus!" :)
Natural History Museum: We spent a while going through the minerals and gem stones collection, which was very cool. I really enjoyed seeing all the things that these crystals do in different climates and whatnot. We saw the Hope Diamond and several other amazing pieces of jewelry before we left.
We had discussed trying to see the Holocost museum before we left, but the both of us were barely going to make it back to the Metro, so we called it a day.
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