Saturday, 29 April 2006

Capital day, just capital ...

25 April - I am so glad that I found the hostel before I found the interstat texit - managed to extricat tmyself from bed at a cent hour and me and Helen, the finnish girl from the hostel, got on the metro and headed in to the capital. As soon as we walked out of the station we came across about fifty police officers from a multitude of agencies including FBI, district and city cops plus a a mass of security guards all milling around - when we asked what was going on a very nice and jovial pair told us that someone was caught trying to put their name on a monument. Seemed like a bit of overkill so I presume that they were really thwarting a terrorist act or something like that. We were consulting one of our guide books when a very nice gentleman approached us and asked us where we wanted to go - the capital building - that was where he was heading so he took us there and it turned out that he was another of those plot devices that seem to pop up every once in a while in my travels - he gave us a very detailed description of all of the places where we should go and all of the places we should avoid plus a history of all of the buildings. Very well informed for a total stranger who just approached us on the street ... Almost too well informed now that I come to think of it. Did a very good walking tour of most of the sites during the day - started at the very ostentatious capital hill and then down the mall and saw the whitehouse where I had a little chat with one of the guards (So, the president is in California now, isn't he? (he had been yesterday according to NPR) - sorry sir, I cannot discuss the president's itinerary with you! It's a crazy world out there and ... Take car of your arm.), saw the very phallic national monument and the impressive WW2 and vietnam war memorials as well as the giant statue of honest Abe (i forgot to ask him a question while I was there). Checked out the incredible Smithsonian Air and space museum (apparently the most popular museum in the world) and quite rightly because they get first dibs on so many incredile artifects - on display they had the orignal Spirit of st louis, CHuck yeager's X1, kitty hawk and even space ship one as well as numerous other knick knacks and assorted objects d'art. I also bought myself a little present - the space pen that can write underwater, upside down and in just about any conditions ever - io- I think it will make a fine courier pen until I lose it one week into goingback to work if not before. Another beautiful place was the arlington cemetery which had the reamins of about 260,ooo servicemen - all of the graves marked with simple white headstones that seemed to go on forever. Possily the most moving place within the cemetery were the tombs of jfk and rfk which were simple monuments that had some of the more memorable quotes that these two men were known for. Hung around to see the mall again by nighttime before heading back to the hostel where we played a card game that nobody knew the rules for and seemed to go on forever - everyone seemed to be quite intent on getting very drunk so I turned in at the very early time of about 2am.

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