Wed. Aug 29, 2012- VA-DC:
Fourteen hours of fitful sleep from mid-afternoon will inevitably end up in you waking up bright and early. Thankfully there was a decent in-room coffee maker that did not have that disgusting powdered coffee whitener, in fact they had flavoured creamer. Otherwise I’d be jumping up and down on the bed screaming “WAKE UP!” so that Brent could drive me to the nearest coffee shop so I could get my needed fix.
Coffee in hand I took to writing my notebook by the light of the laptop. I had drawn all the shades the night before so that the room would be pitch black. Having the laptop on was a tease because every once in a while it would pick up a wireless signal and no sooner had I clicked connect it would drop; it was more than mildly distracting.
Breakfast consisted of eating peanuts in the car while driving to Washington, DC. We drove by Sonic, but it was too early and we did not think it would be open. There was a sign for a Dunkin’ Donuts, but then the highway split into two, and the Dunkin’ Donuts was on the other one. I kept checking the GPS but there were no Sonics or Dunkin’ Donuts along the route. I figured I could settle for 7-Eleven, only by the time I was going to say so, we drove by the exit. I caved and settled for gas station coffee when we stopped to fill up. No sooner were we back on the highway and I was choking down some really bad coffee, then we passed a sign for an upcoming 7-Eleven (slightly better coffee) and a Dunkin’ Donuts! And then another 7-Eleven, I was so mad. Thankfully I had Skittles and cookies to cheer myself up with. The Skittles were Skittles Riddles and I amused myself for much longer than I think they expected, trying to guess the flavours, in addition all the flavours in the package were good! There were no gross ones!!
We drove by the Quantico Triangle and the 9/11 Memorial near the Pentagon. Unfortunately the Pentagon is a lot less impressive as seen from the freeway, for one you do not get to see the shape of it. I could see the Washington Monument over “yonder dashboard” (I think the sugar was getting to me here). We were staying in a very nice hotel, except this time I managed to grab everything before the valet took the car, and there was no soda to be forgotten in the cup holder.
As usual we took no time to unpack or rest in the hotel, we just dropped our stuff and out the door we went. We were in a slight rush to get to the Capitol Building for a tour, but that did not stop us from stopping and gawking at the White House (front and back) and the Washington Monument. Speaking of which, the Washington Monument seems to have the same hold on me as Cloudgate in Chicago, I seriously could not stop photographing it, wherever we were and I could see it, I would be photographing it. We got to the Capitol too late for the tour, but at least the outside of it was still very pretty. We went to the Library of Congress unsure of what to expect, neither of us thought we would get to explore it, maybe just see the lobby. Instead, we got to go in and wander around and see so much cool stuff, including the Guttenberg Bible. There were a lot of old hand-written books from the 13th century too. We were not allowed to take pictures of the research room, as in the one that you always seen in the movies.
We breezed through the Botanical Garden because it was on the way to the Air and Space Museum. They had big banners about their latest exhibit on Venus fly traps, only they were small and some were not doing so well, in fact one was half dead. But then again, who am I to complain? It was free after all. At this point I was voraciously hungry, and wouldn’t you know it The Mall has a food shortage. There was no food around! Maybe one hot dog vendor, but he was quite a walk away from our destination. I had never been happier to see a McDonald’s than when we walked into the Air and Space Museum and saw that they had a food court. Unfortunately this McDonald’s was lacking, the lines were slow with people who did not know what they wanted, and the soda fountain thingy was broken too. I was happy to get out of there.
The moon rock I had read about was not at all as I had imagined it. I pictured a rock the size of my head (everything is always the size of my head it seems) and instead it was this tiny little sliver. There were a lot of airplanes and spacecrafts in the museum. There was also a ton of sad and disturbing war stuff. The Museum was closing early for a gala, but we still managed to see everything.
We went on a long walk around the Washington Basin (which I mistook for the Potomac River) to see all the memorials, somehow we managed to miss one, but we had no idea who the guy was anyways. The Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial were packed, so many people milling about. The Vietnam Memorial was just a list of all the names of the soldiers, it was really sad to see how many names were there, it just went on and on. The FDR Memorial inexplicably had a lot of fountains, but there was also a cute sculpture of his dog. The Reflecting Pool was closed for renovations and fenced off (watching TV the next week, it reopened, I was so angry I stomped out of the room). The WWII Memorial was huge with a giant fountain in the middle of it. There were some weirdoes there taking pictures beside the State they were from, completely disregarding that this is a war memorial.
Back at the hotel we found chocolates on our pillows and slippers beside the bed. Alas, we barely had any time to rest; we had a bit of time to get ready and head out for dinner. My legs were killing me at this point and I was not looking forward to having to put on heels. Worse yet, we were running late, so I had to speed-walk, borderline run in heels after a whole afternoon of walking. We had reservations at POV atop the W Hotel solely because of the view. The restaurant had a balcony with a view of the White House and the Treasury. However when we arrived we were surprised to see that it was not a restaurant, it was a hip loud rooftop bar. We had half an hour to order food before the kitchen closed, I was not amused. We ordered chicken samosas (the outer crust was too salty), calamari (amazing how much the hot peppers added to the flavour, made it better), and a tomato basil pizza (how can anyone say anything bad about pizza?) along with drinks. Strawberry lemonade is amazing, and adding vodka to it, apparently makes it that much more tasty.
Still hungry from having eaten just appetizers we stopped at CVS on the way for some snacks, mainly our usual go-tos: Ben & Jerry’s (Half Baked, so good) and Swedish Fish. And of course Cherry Coke Zero, I cannot live without it. We plotzed in the hotel room and waited for room service, the hotel was so fancy they did not have plastic spoons; they had to send metal ones up. It was nice to finally sit down; my feet were hurting so bad. The one downside to eating ice cream in bed while watching TV is that you inevitably end up getting ice cream on the covers.