Whirlwind tour of Washington

Trip Start Aug 21, 2005
Trip End Sep 21, 2005

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Sunday, August 28, 2005

God- What a whirlwind tour of Washington we've had. We woke up late and had 5 HOURS to see as much of Washington as we could before we had to zip back to the hotel to catch our shuttlebus.
So first we legged it to the White House- bit confronting to see guards roaming the grounds armed with huge sodding machine guns. Actually that was the most noticable thing in Washington- the high level of security EVERYWHERE. Obviously things like tours of the White House have been closed, but also tours of the FBI have been discontinued "temporarily", and also of Capital Hill.
And then we saw it- our first sighting this trip of a SQUIRREL!! They are just adorable. I think Lawrie took about 15 photos and god-knows-how-many movies of him.
Then we raced to sus out the FBI building, off to Capital Hill and then we went through the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, which was absolutely fascinating. I mean, it is very easy to be ho-hum when you hear of the first moon landing, but once you actually stand next to the machinery they used on the mission, or the capsule they returned to earth in and see the scorch marks on its base, I can honestly say that there is no way in HELL I'd get in to one of those things. With the technology of the time, you just stand there looking at that equipment and wonder how on earth it could go ANYWHERE, let alone the moon. Learnt a lot in the short time we were there (for instance: did you know that when you are in a space suit, there is a recepticle in your outfit for you to poo in to? Well, THAT'S a bit of trivia for you!!!).
With only about half an hour to go, we RACED through the National Gallery. We grabbed a map which pin pointed the rooms that had the most famous paintings, and just legged it from one room to the other.
Raced back to the hotel, caught the shuttle bus to the airport, got plonked in an enormous check-in queue while ONE STAFF MEMBER for United Airlines checked people through, and missed our plane AGAIN. Our plane took off while we were still in the queue, and when Lawrie said something to the staff member he shrugged and said "I get paid by the hour", and that was that!! After vowing never to fly United Airlines again, we lounged about for two hours and caught the next plane (which had one stewardess, who not only was the most sour and bitter person ever, but who had also swapped my seat on the plane with someone else without even asking if I'd mind- yep, United just keeps getting better and better!)
Fortunately our flight was only for an hour, and we landed in New York safely. To anyone tripping to New York, you can buy a weekly Metrocard for $24, and it allows you to ride the Subway as often as you want in that week. Far cheaper than paying for individual trips, so we each bought a Metrocard at the airport and caught a bus to our hotel. Had dinner at a fantastic, inexpensive little restaurant on the corner of Broadway and 77th called "Nicks"- perfect for anyone travelling, because the menu was huge and the food was both fabulous and cheap.
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