"Forrest, Forrest!"

Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
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Trip End Nov 12, 2007


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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Friday, August 31, 2007

Off to D.C again this morning. First stop was the Washington Monument, where we got some tickets to go up inside at 11am. Then we picked up a Junior Ranger booklet for each of the kids to complete - these have pictures/photographs and questions pertaining to the Monuments & Memorials of the Washington Mall area. Back in the long queue to go inside, we got a lecture from the National Park Ranger about what we could and couldn't bring into the Monument. Then we were scrutinised through security & packed like sardines into the elevator. The Ranger operating it called Kate aside and told her to come stand with him. Poor Kate looked terrified at first, but the Ranger only wanted to give her the special privilege of pushing the up button on the elevator! He gave her a 'Hi-5' she said, and everyone had to clap for her at the end of the ride - she was really chuffed. The views from the top were amazing, though it was a little hazy/smoggy. You could see out of two small rectangle windows in each direction (North, South etc) with a labelled panoramic photo above the window that informed you of which building/historic site you were looking at. On the way down in the elevator it stopped twice and we could look out of the clear panels in it to see the inside walls of the monument, which had these amazing carved stone panels from different American States - as a gift of recognition for all that George Washington had done.
After our Monument visit we headed off to lunch in a huge building complex - the Ronald Regan & International Trade Building - we had been told there was a Food court under it and we were all starved. Well, what a pain to get in! More security - this time we had to show the guard our drivers licence before going through the whole x-ray/metal detector stuff - just to go down to the food court!
After lunch we trekked across a few city streets in the direction of the White House. Josh and I decided to go into the White House Information Centre - would you believe, MORE security - at an Information Centre!!??? Not much information there either. Anyway, we made it around to the front of the White House. Well, at least the large cast iron spiked fence that surrounded the garden & front face of the White House! We took the obligatory photos of us in front of it, under the eye of two serious-faced police officers who were leaning against their car across the road and instructing tourists NOT to take photos of them...So we kept walking! We were going to buy us all an iceblock at one of the many stalls lining the pavement - only to discover they were charging $2 for the cheapest iceblock - so we decided to keep plodding on. We ambled through the Constitution Gardens, laughing at the seemingly hundreds of Mallard ducks and HUGE Canadian Geese that were sheltering from the sun under the trees, grimacing at all the bird poop and green waters of the lake and waters of the Reflecting Pool (that lead up to the Lincoln Memorial and down to the WWII Memorial). We walked past the Vietnam Memorial War - an unbelievable 58,000 names inscribed on it. Running through my head the whole way was 'That man was somebody's son, somebody's father, somebody's brother...'
58,000.
It boggles the mind and was just so sad.
The Lincoln Memorial was beautiful, but very crowded with tourists jostling for a photograph with the monster size Honest Abe. It was a little hard appreciate the size of the statue and to contemplate the Gettysburg Address & Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address that was carved into the walls. To answer some of the questions in the kid's Ranger booklets we had to walk around the Memorial to the back, and it was lovely and peaceful there - not somewhere most tourists would think to go.
We saw the Washington Monument reflected in the 'Reflecting Pool' - that was an unforgettable sight. Back at the WWII Memorial we handed the kid's Ranger books in - a bit of a disappointment as the Ranger didn't even open them to check all their hard work! Still, they got a badge each, with "National Mall" Junior Ranger on it, so they were both happy - plus they got to keep the booklet with their little pictures & the poem they wrote. By that time it was about 4.30 & we only had enough energy to make it back to the Subway. We never made it to the National Museum of Natural History, so we'll have to leave that for next time...!
(By the way... the title 'Forrest, Forrest!' was from the movie "Forrest Gump" - remember the scene when Jenny was wading through the Reflecting Pool to get to Forrest?!)
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Comments

kiwigal
kiwigal on

Hi from Kiwiland
Ditto Forrest Gump I was just saying 'remember that lake on Forrest Gump' sounds like you have packed in a heap today and you do have to leave some things for next time hehehe keep up the good work ...Cheers Meg and Fam

frogman
frogman on

Hi Fred, great updates!
Just caught up on your last few posts. I particularly agree with your thoughts on the ugly commercialism of Niagara Falls. DC surprised me when I first went there, I assumed it was going to be a boring govt centre - how wrong I was. I hope the trip continues to be both educational and fun.

Cheers, Leigh Dunn (MTO, TPK)

mobilly
mobilly on

Washington My favourite.
Loved the Smithsonian and the out of this world films.
the space ships etc, our other high lights were sitting on the steps of the capital hill and listening to the bands at Sunset.

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