Washington Wonderland

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Sunday, January 14, 2007

I can firmly say that United Airlines are better than American - seatback tvs and food.
Arrived in Seattle to actually get our bags and were approached by several people offering us advice or help including a lovely lady who even lent us her mobile phone to call John (us having spent $10 on phone cards and not having got through to him).  Take back everything I have ever said about Americans.

We got the shuttle to Washington which took a while and I was so frustrated waiting for traffic lights to change.  Have not been used to them for a while.  John was waiting for us in our huge room.  (John or Scaff is a UK friend who Dave worked with in Brussels and now works in Cincinnati for P and G.  However, we suspect he will be a multimillionaire shortly with his latest invention - if you know him ask him about it)  Although I havent seen him for about 8 years he didn't look any older just very pasty and had an awful anorak which quite frankly was an embarrassment even to us travellers.

Only joking. 

John had kindly brought over our new laptop courtesy of HP so I can't be too unkind to him.  After a brief catch up we went for a walk and saw the White house, Reflecting pool, Lincoln, Washington Monument, Korean and WWII memorials.  All very impressively lit up at night.  Really couldn't believe we were here, yet another experience where you think you are on a film set. 

Then after we failed to get entry to a couple of bars without our IDs (as usual Dave and I looked too young) we went to get them and then up to the trendy Georgetown area for a Vietnamese meal and a couple of beers.  A very restrained night for all of us, clearly we are getting old.

Out to the huge International spy museum which was pretty busy and we had to pretend to be various undercover agents.  Then onto Union Station, Capitol Hill all very empty and eery.  Really wished we could get access to the tv series West Wing to complete the experience. Then onto the Air & Space museum which was great to see Apollo 13, etc also an exhibition of famous eclectic items e.g. Dorothy's red shoes (Wizard of Oz), Thingies laptop from 'Sex in the City', Abe Lincoln's hat, Kermit puppet, the bar where black people were refused service from Woolworths in Greensboro', I could go on........

After lots of walking we obviously had to walk more in the new dusk light to photograph the various monuments as they became shrouded in darkness and then artificial light.  John and I were the photographic assistants and provided artistic direction where it was needed (most of the time).  John was also a very convincing werewolf through the steam next to the Washington Monument.  Dave didn't get annoyed with our stupidity at any point.

Back to the hotel,  we scoffed more home-made cookies from reception, topped up John's obligatory caffeine and went down to Chinatown for chinese (funnily enough)

Up to get free tickets to go up the Washington Monument which was a great view of everything inc Pentagon, White House, etc.  On way down the lift were shown the masonry donated from various states to create the monument.  On way back to hotel we were stopped by a police cordon and sure enough 2 mins later who should come by but George W.  He obviously didn't see me otherwise he would've invited us in from our previous meeting.

Back at hotel we made sure John finally left us to go back to Cinci without taking anything from us or exchanging his anorak for one of ours.  Was great to see you John, honest!

Then Dave and I spent the rest of the day mourning his leaving us.

No, we actually walked up to the Supreme Court, Capitol Hill and had lunch in a great diner before heading over to Arlington Cemetry.  This was incredible.  Was huge with thousands of graves for soldiers and families.  We also walked up to JFK and Jackie Kennedy Onassis' and Robert Kennedy's graves.  Then onto the Unknown soldier where we watched the soldier on duty ceremonially march every minute or so.  All quite moving really.

Back into town went to the White House again (sadly couldn't organise a tour as need a Congressman to help out) and a whizz rounds some shops before back to our room to have approx my 4th bath of the trip!  Plus Dave set up and played on our laptop and we could finally listen to some decent music (not having had our ipod for several months).  Current addiction is Snow Patrol's new album. 

Have loved Washington is a fantastic city and would love to come back esp when everything is in session.  Today was Martin Luther King's Birthday and therefore a Bank Holiday.  We hoped to do something to commemorate this but couldn't find anything apart from exhibitions etc.   We will be back.
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Larissa Shalot on

You can do it any number of times and still come off feeling - I'd like to be back again. That's the truth. For all its officious image Washington DC remains a fun town. Not to be missed out is the George Town area - the city's historic district. I have spent several weekends touring this fabulous city end to end and still hanker to visit it all over again.

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