Trip Start Apr 15, 2009
16Trip End Jul 10, 2009
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There was a fair crowd of people looking through the fence to the House, we just presumed that was normal. We soon found out the reason for the crowd was Barack standing on his front patio! We could just make him out, given the front lawn is probably 5 times as big as a typical suburban lawn. So we had a little stickybeak there, dodging grumpy security guards with guns trying to move us on, and thinking we had done pretty well to see Mr Obama in the first hour or so of being the capital!!
As we walked back up the side of the house, we were stopped by yet another angry police officer, telling us we were not allowed to move from the sidewalk. About 5 mins later the big gates opened, and about 15 cars proceeded to go past us - the Obama motorcade! No less than 6 police cars (not including the police cars stopping traffic at the intersection), and about the same of security cars. There were also ambulances and media! Barack's car would certainly take a bit to beat - a HUGE Cadillac, with bullet-proof glass - so definitively American!!! So twice in an hour - Barack and us were nearly best buddies!
That night we walked towards the city and grabbed a bite to eat. Our entertainment was right outside the restaurant window - four busloads of drunk young professionals that had just come from a day at the races! :)
The next day was wet - not just little showers of rain every couple of hours, but solid rain for about 6 hours! Unfortunately we only had that day to see everything, so we had no choice! We caught a bus to Arlington Cemetery - saw JFK's grave and memorial, Arlington House and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From there we caught the bus to Lincoln Memorial, where we had a bite to eat with a former Navy officer that was also trying to get out of the rain. He talked to us for about 40 mins, spoke about how he had served in the Gulf War, and how much fun our Aussie soldiers are (especially with a few beers in them!).
Lincoln Memorial was really something - the statue is pretty damn big!! Had lots of photos there, then we walked down to the Washington Monument - which you can see from nearly anywhere you are in the city. Both of us were pretty much soaked through by this stage, with Jase complaining of soggy socks!! We had spray jackets on, but they were no good after about 10 mins! And we couldn't find a bloody umbrella anywhere - we had been approached by a homeless guy earlier in the day selling them...we thought he was just dodgy so we said no...that will teach us!!!
We crossed the road to the Smithsonian Museum, then walked down to the Capitol Building. It is so impressive and a beautiful building. After a long and very wet day, we ended up having a nice quite dinner at our hotel.
The weather the next day was even worse - we had planned to head out to the Pentagon, but it was just so wet that there wasn't much point. We were flying to London that afternoon, and didn't really fancy sitting on a plane for 5 hours in wet clothes! So we had a sleep in, and then caught a shuttle bus to Dulles International Aiport. It was time to say goodbye to the US of A!