bigmog: (moogle mog)
Some more personal thoughts about my trip to Washington D.C.

I thought Coloradans were fit and active but the residents in D.C. earn their ranking as fittest city. Even on humid summer days I saw many sweat-soaked joggers around the national mall.

Carpet on the trains is disgustingly dirty. How did such a design ever get approved? Turns out they're finally correcting this mistake now.

Otherwise the train system is quite good. Their cashless system uses a NFC plastic card. This is miles better than the magnetic strip, flimsy, paper cards they use in New York City and Boston.

Seems like the term "Gift Shop" must be regulated somehow because every museum instead has a "Book store" (which is full of souvenir gifts).

I also noticed that fair number of these "book stores" include a section for Presidential pets although no such exhibit exists. No doubt it's a sly way to sell plush toys to kids. I admit defeat here when I found a plush beagle (LBJ owned several).

There are no sprinklers in the lawn at the national mall. It's wet enough there to not need them I suppose. Humidity sometimes has benefits. One more of these is fireflies.

"The Burger Joint" is a rapidly expanding new chain in the area. It's not cheap but it ranks as one of the best burgers I can remember.

Some of the major museums stay open extra hours during the peak tourist season. Very accommodating.

T-Mobile has lousy reception in the area. My phone battery couldn't last a single day because it was constantly searching for a signal.

Out in the suburbs, there are a lot of wooded areas / forests complete with deer and other wildlife.

Large crowds of tourists and endless federal buildings means there is security all over the place. I may have seen more flashing lights than fireworks. Perhaps because of the volume of people, the security checks are rarely deep. Bags are the biggest concern and even then they just take a cursory glance.

I'm not the type of tourist that needs to take photos of everything I see. Still, I took some selfies for my own personal memories.
bigmog: (moogle mog)
Washington D.C. is busy during the Independence Day holiday but they are mostly well prepared to handle the crowds. A summary of places I went to with some thoughts sprinkled in:

US Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) - Much larger than I imagined. The flag is a real flag and not metal like the rest of the sculpture.
US Capitol building - Grand! My tour guide was from Colorado so he gave me a lot of tips and extra trivia.
Library of Congress - The exhibit on history through maps was neat.
Supreme Court - Not very busy. Ate lunch at the cafeteria here.
Union Station - Disappointing. Was expecting something like Grand Central Station.
Postal Museum - Much better than expected. Recommended.
Smithsonian American History Museum - Excellent all-around. Must see.
Washington Monument - Did not go to the top.
World War 2 Memorial - Honor war heroes by soaking your feet in the pool (guilty).
Lincoln Memorial - Very impressive but the loud crowds take away from the majesty.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing - Much better than the mint tour.
Jefferson Memorial - Fewer crowds and also amazing. How do they keep birds out of there I wonder?
FDR and MLK memorials - I only passed through these and didn't stay long.
White House - My tour request was rejected but I still stopped by. You can't get very close.
National Archives - The longest wait was here and it was only about 30 minutes. Amazing to see the actual Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights.
Smithsonian Art Museum - I just spent about an hour here before it closed that day. There's only so many paintings of old European men that I need to see.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum - Full of kids. Some pretty good exhibits.
Ben's Chili Bowl - D.C. iconic eatery. Pretty good chili dog.
Mt. Vernon - Re-enactors, brass band, fireworks, naturalization ceremony, and cake! They go all out for the Fourth of July. Also, dogs are allowed!
Smithsonian Sculpture Garden - A nice place for a break.
Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) - If you only have a short time, you can get the quick tour here.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival - Why celebrate China and Kenya on our Independence day?
Smithsonian Natural History Museum - packed with kids running wild. I only went because I had some spare time before the fireworks.
Fireworks at the US Capitol - If you don't arrive early, it's hard to get a good view. Still, I saw Kermit and Piggy and Fozzy in the PBS live special filmed there. I also sorta saw Frankie Valli and a some other artists I'm too old to recognize. Fireworks themselves are excellent but only about 15 minutes long. You can hear the boom as it echoes from the capitol building behind.
Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center - Bigger and better than the one on the mall. The space shuttle Discovery is very well presented. Plenty of other historic aircraft here too.

Spy Museum
Building Museum
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
Holocaust museum
bigmog: (moogle mog)
My plans to visit the National Zoo fell through. Hurricane Arthur made for particularly muggy weather in the D.C. area so I opted to spend my days inside air conditioned museums instead. Anyway, the National Zoo doesn't have penguins which is quite surprising. While the Denver zoo may rank low, it wins by default here.

April 2017



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