Mr. Rabbit Goes To Washington (Monumental Edition)
By Dwip October 17, 2010, 4:44 pm Comments (3) RSS Feed for this post

As some of you know, there was supposed to be a second part to this particular series, which got waylaid by a new job and Civ V, not necessarily in that order. So let me fix that for you.

There will be pictures of monuments ahead. You have been warned.

So, my first trip to DC, Sarah and I took an evening to go walking about the more scenic bits of DC, see a few things. One of the nicer aspects of the town is that, since it has a nice and reasonably extensive metro system, this sort of thing is convenient and easy to do. Which is to say that while it’s not quite London, and what is really, I miss living in a place with mass transit that doesn’t suck.

This is a fairly random courtyard just outside the Federal Triangle metro station, in the, yes, Federal Triangle area. Most of this stuff is EPA buildings, although I’m not sure what the Reagan building to the right does for itself. There’s a great deal of federal architecture that looks like this, and what I’m showing you here is a stand-in for 90% of what we saw.

I’m also glossing over the epic hordes of Boy Scouts we saw. I’m also going to gloss over the National Archives, since they don’t let you take pictures. That was a strange experience. It’s a shiny sort of building, which I approve of, but the actual experience of seeing the Constitution/Bill of Rights/Declaration of Independence was…strangely underwhelming, I guess. The documents themselves are badly, badly decayed and almost completely illegible. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience to be there, but more than a little sad, I suppose.

Dear people of the 19th century: Invent better document preservation techniques. Thanks.

Afterwords, however, Sarah restored my happiness by buying me a cherry ice and taking me to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. No, I didn’t even know we had a National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden myself, but there you are.

While there, we took this picture:

That pretty much explains itself, I think.

Then we walked the Mall for a bit, and I think you all know what that experience entails, so I’m not going to dwell on it, except:

Featuring human, natural, and man-made treasures of the United States. Alternately, that’s Sarah (a long ways) in front of the Capitol building.

And that’s just kind of a cool shot of the Washinton Monument.

Following our Mall excursion, we had Adventures getting to the White House, and here I am glossing over a random statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, the Treasury Department, more Treasury Department, some Ethiopian protestors, and the, IIRC, capitol policeman we had a nice conversation with.

Instead of those things, I want to talk a moment on the current direction of executive authority in the US. Now, some of you have mentioned birth certificates, Bill Ayers, Bolshevik plots and the like. In fact all of these things are wrong. But don’t worry, I will show you the true power behind the government:

See the squirrel bounding forth there in the foreground? Yeah. It’s him and his like ten friends. Squirrel aliens and that whole thing.

They’re also utterly fearless. This guy actually came through the fence and right up to me, presumably waiting for a handout, much to the delight of several bystanders.

So now you know who’s really running things. *chitter*

Shifting gears here to my second trip down, as it happens, Sarah lives literally within spitting distance of various things, among them the Marine Corps War Memorial:

Nearby is the Netherlands Carillon, which offers a nice view of Washington:

After that, we took a stroll through Arlington National Cemetary, which I didn’t feel the need to take any pictures of, and then across the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial, which is a much, much longer journey than I make it sound like. I have some thoughts on that experience, but I think I will keep them to myself, except for one not particularly profound thing: That guy I passed in the MARPAT vest with the close cropped hair? I think I can guess what he was there for, and I’m going to guess his day went a lot worse than mine. And that kind of sucks.

So, the Lincoln Memorial. Sun glare prevents me from showing you a picture of the exterior, but I think you know what it looks like anyway. Instead, I am going to show you this picture of my girlfriend being a huge classics nerd:

It’s why I keep her. To excitedly point out elements of classical architecture, like the fasces depicted here.

I think you know who that is. And speaking as somebody who really admires Lincoln, and who’s wanted to go to that memorial for a long time now, standing there and looking at that statue was an experience, something of a profound moment for me.

Likewise, this:

Insofar as the Gettysburg Address is probably the best speech ever given in this country, and probably my favorite piece of American writing, well.

One of the interesting things to me was that the people at the memorial were, predominantly, not white. The guards were I think all black. I heard several different languages, and a good chunk of the crowd were south Asian, Hispanic, or black. You can explain the mundanities of that in various ways, tourists and economic conditions and what have you, but on an emotional level that particular experience feels right to me. Ideals for all of humanity and what have you.

In other news, the reflecting pool, with a horse cop right next to the edge of it. Sarah was very happy about the horse.

Those are two of five VH-3D Sea King helicopters, presumably going to the White House. No idea who was on board. Maybe the President, maybe not. In any event I think that’s a cool picture.

Photoblogging, Trips Comments (3) RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Mr. Rabbit Goes To Washington (Monumental Edition)
avatar Comment by Conner #1
October 17, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Yup, the DC area’s Metro is pretty good.
Nope, the original real Constitution and Declaration are much more depressing than you’d expect. It’s much more worthwhile to buy a reproduction.
Nice picture of the rabbits…
Now you’re in trouble, the squirrel alien oversees don’t take kindly to having their souls captured…
She’s in those apartments in Rosslyn?
Did you visit the Custis House while you were at the cemetery?
Lincoln’s memorial is wonderfully done, it’s too bad they didn’t preserve all the good documents that way, eh? ;)
Actually, the residents of DC proper are, in the majority, Black with fast growing Middle Eastern, Asian, and Hispanic segments, but the white folk who live in DC have been the minority there for decades.
The choppers may have been carrying the president or a distinguished guest, or they may not have been. It’s really hard to say because generally when the president travels they use the chopper cluster and the motorcade so there are plenty of decoy vehicles to help confuse would-be assassins. :shrug:

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
October 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Yeah, somewhere or other in that complex. A complex, anyway. Rosslyn appears to be that kind of place.

We just kind of did the brief tour of the cemetary on our way to Lincoln, as it was bloody hot out. As it was, we ended up walking about 4 miles from front door to Foggy Bottom metro. More to check out, I guess.

And yeah, I’m aware of the DC demographics, although a fair chunk of the people seemed to be tourists, not residents. Hence my comment.

And yeah, for all I know there was nobody on the thing, but it was still pretty cool.

avatar Comment by Conner #3
October 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

:nod: Rosslyn’s layed out a bit oddly, but if you like prime rib, Tom Sarris’ New Orleans House is very cool (if it’s still open these days) and I’m told the Newseum is worth the price of admission though I’ve never seen its insides myself because of the price of admission… Once upon a time, Rosslyn metro even claimed the steepest/longest escalator though I think it’s actually got neither title anymore, even just amongst Metro’s stations. :shrug:

Arlington Cemetery is definitely no joke for the walk, even if you take the shortest walking tour they offer, but if you ever get the chance, while the changing of the guard is famous, Custis House is really more worth the visit.

It can be hard to tell who the tourists are sometimes, but if you watch for folks with cameras (and folks who don’t dress as though they already know how bad the humidity will impact their day), well, that’s a big clue in most cases. ;)
Overall, DC has always been a tourist trap far more than a residential area.

Actually, it’s as likely as not that they were empty, but only the secret service and the elite pilots who get the job of flying those choppers ever really knows. And they are pretty impressive to see in flight. Frankly, they’re pretty impressive choppers to see even in their hangers over at Bolling AFB. But they really seem the most impressive when they land at Andrews AFB next to Air Force One to drop off the President. ;)

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