Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Adventures in DC, day 5 - being a tourist and touring the west wing

Day 5 is my only day of being a tourist with no shoots scheduled.  I had coffee with my friend Jed before I left Maine,  and he said that I should go to the tidal basin early in the morning and see the cherry blossums as well as the monuments.  He even drew me a little map!  He also said that the FDR monument was under rated and he thought I would enjoy it quite a bit.  So I woke up at 6, out the door by 6:30, and downtown by 7am, coffee and map in hand.
I make it to Jefferson, no major problems, just turned around a couple of times for a block or two and because everything was under construction, it made entrances and sidewalks hard to find.  A slight drizzle in the air but nothing a Mainer can't handle.
Then I try and find FDR but blue dot gps took me down a wrong road and instead of following the basin, I followed the Potomac for way too long.  And you know when things just don't seem right ....
And then it started to rain and I'm in jeans and a t-shirt.  And I arrived at my destination, but instead of being FDR Memorial, it was a caddy shack on FDR Memorial drive ... Now mind you, one of my favorite things while traveling is to wonder around somewhat randomly and get to know a city, however, I was actually trying to have a plan because I only had one day and had already spent a  portion of my other 4 lost.
So, I head back down the road which is about a mile long, not a car in sight, no people, definitely no taxis,  when it starts to pour.  Like really pour.  Every inch of me was soaked.  I kept a walking when a Korean tour bus driver feels sorry for me and picks me up and takes me to the closest train station.  I got back to Sam's (it's now 10 am), dry off, hot shower and nap.
After I pull myself together, I decide I have not given up on Jed's map, and I am determined to make it out again. I grab some lunch and head back downtown.
And then I selfy P'd the shit out of the monuments/memorials like any good tourist would.
Honestly, all I wanted to do was get to the FDR one, but everything seemed to be against me.  Lost again, more construction, more detours.  I almost gave up, I was exhausted, my feet ached, but I carried on and found the basin again ... not as pretty as earlier this morning pre-storm.
Then, finally I found it!  And was reminded what a great President he was, not just because of the New Deal but I forgot how anti war he was and also how relevant his ideals are now.   Oh and lets not forget he knew how important art & photography are, even in a depression by giving the FSA photographers including Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and Dorthea Lange jobs, too.   This couldn't of been a better end to a long trek.
Then back to Sam's for a quick change and to grab my camera's for the West Wing tour.  It was amazing to be in the White House, but I have to admit,  it wasn't as over the top as I expected. You could definitely feel the power, but I had a vision of a much more historical grand room kind thing.  I mean the oval office was grand, don't get me wrong.  And there was a giant bowl of apples in case you needed a snack when visiting the President.  The rose garden was spectacular, even at night.  And so was the President's cafe table right outside the oval office, where he works when the weather is nice.  Sam was a great tour guide, and clearly well respected by the higher ups and Secret Service.
The we went to grab her stuff from her office across the way in the Executive Office building, which I loved.  I expected the WH to be more like that. Gorgeous floors and old timey signs.
After an exhausting day for the both of us, we decided we deserved some soul food in the form of a top of the line fried chicken dinner at her neighborhood joint, Eatonville.

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