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Old December 26th, 2013, 10:10 AM   #1
...wolf in cheap clothing
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Four Days in DC (pI)

First, some background. You see, my partner and I spent four days in DC recently. I'd never been, and he had, so this was my "big gift" this year. I was very pleasantly surprised in many ways, just plain surprised in others, and nastily surprised in yet others.

Speaking of, here are my observations about Washington:

1 -- The water tastes funny. This leads me to my next observation...

2 -- In regards to the status of iced tea in DC and environs, bless your hearts. Bless all your hearts. Only once, at one restaurant did it not taste like a science experiment. Every other time it tasted like the crushed hopes of orphans, or else came out of a can. This is wrong, and should be corrected. I trust that those of you living up there will get on top of the problem right away.

3 -- While we're on the subject of food and drink, we ate eight meals in DC and nearby in Alexandria, where we stayed. Only twice were the meals any better than just okay, and one of those turned out, embarrassingly, to be at a chain restaurant. However, I blame this on being a casual tourist, and not knowing where the locals eat. I will say though that we tried our usual tactic of searching out an ethnic restaurant in an ethnic neighborhood, and choosing one based on grubbiness and whether or not there was an ethnic crowd eating inside. We found a place that met all of these criteria, but the food was still lousy.

4 -- Like many Southerners, I have been led to believe (by some Northerners, I might add) that up north, everyone moves at a dead sprint wherever they go, and if you go any slower you will back up traffic on the sidewalk, piss people off, and quite possibly earn yourself a severe tongue-lashing from someone with a Fran Drescher accent. And God help you if you dare to look up at the buildings, as that surely marks you as a rube who fell off the asparagus truck not an hour before. However, it turns out that Washington is a great moseying city. Everyone moseys wherever they go, and people are quite fond of stopping dead in their tracks in the middle of large crowds.

5 -- While Washington pedestrians might be a mellow species, Washington drivers most assuredly are not. They're fond of honking at people in crosswalks, in fact. We saw a van nearly run over a man and his family, and the man slap the hood and yell at the driver. Later that day a taxi nearly ran us down in a crosswalk, and we flipped off the driver. I got a warm glow from it all, as it made me feel like an urbanite born and bred. This feeling came back later when I was successfully able to ignore a disturbed homeless woman shrieking in the National Museum of American History about having lost her bitches.

6 -- Asia rules the world. Every tourist attraction we visited was being photographed to within an inch of its life by dense knots of people speaking Chinese, although at least once I recognized Japanese as well. This was especially the case in the National Gallery of Art. Cameras, phones, tablets... Every day, in every way, Washington, DC is being recorded for posterity.

7 -- The rest of the nation has been led to believe that the primary industry in Washington is bribing congresspersons. Apparently, not only is this true but it's true and bribery is a profession that pays handsomely, because everybody in DC dresses better than you do. Nice shoes, trendy scarves, and the pantlegs rolled up just so.

8 -- Sometimes little things make me happy. This was the case whenever I saw someone lugging a haul of wrapped Christmas presents on the Metro, or whenever I saw a Christmas tree in an apartment window many floors above the street. Likewise, whenever I spotted an apartment window or balcony all decked out in festive lights.

9 -- Less of an observation and more of a statement. I'd just like to take a moment to thank the Black man who was haranguing the crowd from a stage set up on the sidewalk in Chinatown on Friday. You and your compatriots were up there exhorting passersby to rise up against the white devil. Which meant me, apparently, because when you noticed me you went into overdrive, pointing and screaming. That was just plain nice of you, though. It's been years since anyone called me a white devil, and that was only because she didn't want me dating her Black son. It brought back all kinds of happy memories, so thanks again. You keep up the good work.

You may feel these observations are broad generalizations. You are probably right. Either way, too bad.

Anyway, on with the pictures. Let's start with...


A show of hands: Who among you saw this image and immediately enjoyed several vivid memories of The X-Files? Yes, I thought so.

Just in case you doubted I was actually there. For the record, I didn't count visits to hot dog carts, coffee shops, or bagel shops such as this one among our meal experiences.

Lincoln's... Waffle... Shop. Located just down the block from the house where Lincoln died, after he was carried across the street from Ford's Theater. Waffle shop. Nope, not tacky in the slightest. Well, maybe a little -- surely no more than opening a frozen yogurt shop or a barbecue joint in Donner Pass, at any rate.

The Holiday Market in front of the National Portrait Gallery. We browsed, but nothing really caught our eye. I have to say though, that looking around here in search of a Christmas gift for a Jewish friend made me feel terribly metropolitan.

This was our first stop, and while I'd heard it was a can't-miss stop, all I really took away from the experience is awe at the sheer ingenuity of humanity in placing cameras and listening devices into things that normally do not accommodate them. Likewise, exactly how you fit pop-out blades into the heels of a lady's shoe.

The National Building Museum and environs...

Inside the Building Museum. Happily, there was an exhibit going on that featured the architect Rafael Guastavino, who was the brain behind New York's Grand Central Terminal, plus a sizable chunk of Asheville. Asheville saw Guastavino's last works, one of which houses his tomb. Unfortunately though, we didn't have time to see the exhibit. Too much to do, in too few days.

Heading into Chinatown... To go back to the Lincoln assassination for just a moment, apparently the house where it was planned is in Chinatown, still standing, and now houses a Japanese restaurant.

At the National Crime and Punishment Museum. That's Ted Bundy's VW Beetle in the background. Among the other items on display are John Wayne Gacy's wallet and its contents on the day of his arrest, and a receipt signed by both Bonnie Parker (who had lovely handwriting) and Clyde Barrow.

And that was Friday. The next day was...


The view from our hotel room in Alexandria.

Our hotel was kind enough to ferry us to the Braddock Road Metro station every day. While waiting for the train on Saturday morning, I decided to see what I could see from the platform.

The question is, how did those balloons get up there? Also, how will they ever get them down?

It's just not Rodin without squirrels.

National Museum of African-American History under construction.

A meal in the old Post Office. Not the best gyro I've ever had, but far from the worst. It did the trick.

A squirrel. Does anything else really need to be said?

I didn't mean for this photo to come out looking like this, but when I saw that it had, I rather liked the effect.

You know what days follow Saturday, don't you?
Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!

Last edited by hauntedheadnc; December 26th, 2013 at 10:15 AM.
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Old December 31st, 2013, 01:01 AM   #2
ech wel
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Strange why this hasnīt got any comments..

Great set of pics!
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Old January 1st, 2014, 03:52 AM   #3
...wolf in cheap clothing
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Originally Posted by ech wel View Post
Strange why this hasnīt got any comments..

Great set of pics!
Thank you. Truthfully, I'm a bit surprised also. Usually, big American cities get some attention.
Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!
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Old January 1st, 2014, 05:30 AM   #4
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Great photos!!
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Old January 1st, 2014, 12:04 PM   #5
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Great, very nice photos from Washington DC

Happy New Year
Urban Showcase: Athens Kalamata Trikala Thessaloniki
Cityscapes: Paris Barcelona Dubai, U.A.E. Monte Carlo, Monaco
General photography: Castles of France - Chateau de France and, since May of '08: Greece!
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Old January 1st, 2014, 12:39 PM   #6
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Truly an amazing city!
Hindsight certainly would be valuable if we could get it in advance...

"The Fascists of the future will be Anti-Fascists". Winston Churchill

"The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history." -Hegel


My July 2012 North American Road trip!
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Old January 1st, 2014, 05:47 PM   #7
R. Matos
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US cities are so clean. Nice photos.
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 12:54 AM   #8
...wolf in cheap clothing
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Thank you all very much for your comments. I hope you went ahead and looked at the second part to this thread... Some interesting shots from the observation deck at the National Cathedral in there.
Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!
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