Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Long and strong

The moment you've all been waiting for! I've been debating how to blog about our trip. We saw soooo much in such a short amount of time, and I feel like I have so many things to say, but I don't want to bore anyone. So I think I'll just list where we went/what we saw, and my favorite parts about each.


Our Airtran flight (who seriously sucks...if they buy out Midwest I will cry for days) was stinky and crowded. I was sitting next to a smelly old man, who appeared to be asleep from the time I sat down next to him until midflight, when he suddenly and very obviously turned on his air guitar. Never opening his eyes, he jammed the ENTIRE TIME to something on XM radio. He only paused to order his Diet Coke, drink his Diet Coke, then throw away his Diet Coke. He shook the whole row, and it was everything I could do not to openly laugh out loud. Not that he'd hear me. On the other side of the aisle is the man on his cell phone having a conversation WHILE WE ARE TAKING OFF and for a good 2 minutes while we are in the air. Um...hello? Do you think the rules do not apply to you??? Not that I can talk really...I sneak Ike on all the time, but I think cell phones and iPods are two different animals.

We get to Baltimore and head to the shuttle desk. We wait for what seems like forever and then we're off. Our driver fell into the category of Inconsistent Speed Driver. He was constantly pressing and releasing the gas. Gas, release, gas, release. THE WHOLE TIME. Our flight was pretty bumpy, so I was already feeling a little queasy to begin with. I thought I was going to yak. We finally get to our hotel after midnight and then spend the next hour talking to Scott, when we should have been sleeping.


Our White House tour was at 7:30 AM. Yikes. 6:00 AM comes pretty early when you go to bed at 1:30. The tour was pretty neat, although very quick and you only see the bottom floor. The Secret Service guy did tell us that Dubya and Laura were in the house while we were there, so that was pretty cool. The dudes dressed in all black and carrying machine guns were a little intimidating. It sucked that you couldn't take pictures. I feel like I already forgot everything I saw.

We had time to kill before our Capitol Building tour, so we went to the Air & Space Museum, which is where some of the exhibits from the Museum of American History were on display while the rest of the Museum is under construction. I got to see my favorite cartoon boyfriend, Kermit, and the ruby slippers and C3PO and R2D2 and Mr. Roger's cardigan. Pretty sweet.

Next I got my way and we went to the National Gallery of Art. Very cool stuff in there. We saw a DaVinci, Raphael, Michaelangelo, (no Donatello to complete the foursome, unfortunately) Picasso, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Mondrian, Warhol's, and Kandinksy (personal fave). Looking at all that art really makes me want to own some and hang it on my nekked walls.

Our Capitol tour guide was a dude from Utah (we arranged our tour thru Sen. Hatch from Utah) and kinda was a tool. He didn't tell us very much, and I found myself just looking around and listening to other guides while he was talking. He said he didn't even like politics, and he just applied for the internship b/c he thought it would be cool. Dork. We had to wait like 30 minutes to take this tram over to the actual building. I thought it would be this cool underground ride. It wasn't. It was a little train deal that went 50 yards AT MOST and took less than 30 seconds. Um...it would have been faster to WALK. The Capitol Building is pretty cool, lots of statues everywhere, including one of Brother Brigham. We stood on the star, which is the very center of Washington DC.

After the tour, I was near death with hunger, so we ate at the Native American Museum's cafe. Ugh. If an Indian invites you over to dinner, eat before you go. Based on the food, we decided to skip the rest of the museum and headed to the National Archives.

This was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. We were in the main hall, and looking at the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, and all the other documents that helped to lead up to the Constitution, and I started to lose it! I was crying right there in the middle. It just really made me grateful to live in a country where we have so many freedoms, where our founding fathers were inspired to write something that would benefit so many people for so many years. It's also amazing to me that we have the actual documents. That's crazy! We also saw the Emancipation Proclamation, which Abraham Lincoln's signature on it. I always seem to think that they lived so long ago, and were not as modern as they were. I'm always surprised to see pictures of old presidents--makes it seem a lot closer than I think it is. I must think cameras are a recent invention. Ha.

Jason and Erica are just landing so we head back to the hotel to meet them. And then it's off to The Cheesecake Factory! We stuff ourselves silly, and we're so tired and full that we can't even walk, yet we still head to the Mall and walk from the Smithsonians to the Washington Monument, to the WWII Memorial, to the Vietnam Memorial, to the Korean War Memorial, and finally to the Lincoln Memorial. I took the worst shoes ever, so by this time my feet are about to fall off. And they're the only ones I brought. Yikes. I'm taking truckloads of pictures this whole time, and everyone was super nice about waiting for me. They probably welcomed the chance to sit.


We slept in a little bit and headed over to Arlington National Cemetary. This was one of my other favorite parts of the trip. We took a little tram tour, which was nice, considering it saved us like an hour of walking. We stopped off at JFK's site, which was really neat, and the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers, and the Arlington House, which used to be Robert E. Lee's house. I broke down again during the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It was very cool to watch. Much longer than I thought it would be. I didn't realize that they walk back and forth the entire 30 minutes of their shift.

It's blazing hot in the meantime, and I'm sweating like crazy.

After the cemetary we go to the Holocaust Museum and get tickets for a later time. We go to the Natural History Museum until we can go back to the Holocaust Museum, and check out their gems collection. I liked this a lot, too. We saw the Hope Diamond, Maria Antoinette's earrings, and the biggest, most beautiful gems ever. A huge yellow Tiffany diamond, an 800 carat aquamarine, emeralds and rubies and sapphires. Lovely.

We went through the Holocaust Museum, which was like I remembered it from 8th grade. I tried to read more this time through, but there is so much to read there, it would have taken hours and hours. It's really sad to think about what happened, and even crazier to think that there are people who believe it never happened.

We walked down to the Jefferson Memorial, which I feel is underappreciated since it's not on the Mall, and kind of out of the way. But it has a great view.

We went back to the White House to get some pictures, and heard almost every language except for English.

We were hungry again, so it was back to The Cheesecake Factory! While we didn't eat there every meal, we did make it there twice. And EVERY SINGLE MORNING we had McDonald's for breakfast. Yikes.

We were beyond pooped after dinner so we just went back to the hotel, but not before stopping to get some Coldstone. Yum.


Scott and Jason and Erica's fligh left around noon, but we thought we'd try and get tickets to go up the Washington Monument before they left. No such luck for them, but Derrick and I got tickets for 12:00, since our flight wasn't until 7. So after breakfast and farewells to our favorite travel friends, we went to the Ford Theater, where Lincoln was shot, and the house across the street where he died.

We went up the Washington Monument, which kind of freaked me out, but the view was amazing. You could see (barely) the Washington DC temple, which is my all-time fave. Awesome.

I wanted to check out the National Botanical Gardens so we went there for a bit. The flowers in there are beautiful. I took a lot of pictures, as you can imagine.

We still had time left and we wanted to see Georgetown, so we took the Metro over and walked through all of Georgetown, across the Francis Scott Key Bridge and over to the Iwo Jima Memorial. We. Walked. Forever. And it was HOTTTT. But the memorial was way cool, and way bigger than I was imagining it.

And that was it! We went back to the hotel to pick up our bags, and we took the Metro as far north as we could go, then took a bus to BWI. It took 2 hours, but oh well. We got there in time to make our flight, even with the huge security line. We grab some Quizno's for dinner (since we hadn't eaten since breakfast) and find out our flight is DELAYED. THREE HOURS. Ay caramba. So we wait. Well, I wait. Derrick sleeps. I get told I have boobs. We fly home. The end.

I know it was long, and it was more than highlights, but really, it's more for me to remember than anything I guess. I kept a list of everything we did so I could remember to blog about it later. :)

Here are some pictures. I'm too lazy to insert them into their proper place in the story, but you can pretend you looked at them as you read about them. I'm sending out an Ofoto album too, so you might see these twice. If you aren't on my Ofoto list, then you're probably lucky. I'm sure those on the list are sick of getting my pictures. But if you want to be on it, let me know, I can make it happen. Anyway, on to the pictures.

If you look real close, you can see The Wet Donkey on Jason's crackberry! I must get one....


amy said...

like the pictures. those are some good night shots. and i like that chain in the foreground of the cemetery pic. and you should get an iPhone if you're going to get an expensive cell phone (that's Jim talking).

Samantha said...

Karen you always look so cute! I'm glad you guys had such a fun trip. I've never been to DC and I want to go sometime.

Silvs said...

I LOVE the pics. I actually read that whole post. My favorite is the angle you get on the Lincoln Memorial. You have got quite the eye. Really dig on those pics. Come back to my blog, it misses your participation.

Lara said...

Sounds like you had a great time!
Oh, and RESIST the call of the CRACKBERRY!

My Hubby is so rude with his now...he takes it to RESTAURANTS!!!
*GRRRRR* I've called him out more than once over that one!