For years I kept journals -- in composition, spiral bound, and French graph paper books. This blog is an attempt to get back to writing and documenting the world around me using photos, newspaper headlines, and other articles.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tourista Day

I rode the metro into DC this morning with many monks dressed in red robes and Tibetans in traditional garb.  It was 7:45am and all the seats in my train car were full.  I got off at L'Enfant Plaza instead of Capitol South because the Blue line cars were at least 10 minutes behind.  I'm glad I was flexible (go me!) because if I had stayed on the train I would have missed two community gardens and the stunning Museum of the American Indian.

The first garden was relatively small, but the FAA/DOT has planted a Kids Garden that is very dear.  The second garden is in a traffic triangle on Maryland Ave behind the Air and Space Museum.  It is a community garden that has over 20 plots that members of the community get to plant.  The beds are long and narrow and very creatively planted.  I loved seeing the cucumbers growing up on tomato supports.  Those beds had chard, lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, squash, herbs and flowers.  I was really impressed.  I spoke to a woman who was weeding in her plot and she said that she believes that the gardens will be dug up and the site is slated to be where the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial/Monument will be located.  But that is still a few years off.

FAA Kids Garden Entrance

Kids Garden

Community Garden

Cucumbers growing up!
But my big wow moment was the Museum of the American Indian.  The architecture of that building is stunning.  The design looked to me as if it the facade was shaped to be a weaving.  It seemed to have a warp and weft.  The edges were rounded like a tapestry.  I was totally drawn to it.  Looking at the guidebook, the museum is free, but the entrance is based on time.  It is best to reserve your start time in advance.  I wasn't going to wait for two hours until it opened to see the availability for entrance today.

Main Entrance

Woven Edge
I kept walking, following the crowds, to the lawn of the Capitol.  I could see where the Dalai Lama was going to be speaking.  There wasn't much shade for the spectators.  It was so hot already that I could not imagine waiting for almost two hours before he came on to the stage.  I did enjoy seeing the monks' robes and all the women in their traditional dress.  The sun was rising behind the Capitol, so it wasn't very good for taking pictures.  Note to self, next time do that section of walk - Capitol, Library of Congress and the Supreme Court in the afternoon when you aren't trying to take pictures right into the sun.

On the back side of the Capitol, there were few people.  There was a couple taking engagement photos.  They were posing with a big bouquet of roses, kissing, hugging, gazing at each other.  I got a kick out of the photographer giving the instruction.  I don't know how they stood out in the sun for as long as they did.  Even at 9:00am I was looking for the shady sides of the street.  But I did take lots of pictures of the back of the Capitol.  What a huge building complex!  To my surprise, the visitor center is open before 10:00.  I went inside and looked around.  I decided not to go on a tour.  So I hit the gift shop and looked at the statues and moved on.

Capitol Dome

Inside plaster sculpture of the Freedom Statue

Looking up in the Visitor Center
 The Supreme Court was closed for the day but the policeman did let me go up onto the steps and take more pictures.  That is the theme for the day -- my documenting everything.  From there I walked around the north side of the Capitol and stopped to hear some of the welcoming address and Invocation for the Dalai Lama.  The acoustics were not very good; the sound seemed to bounce back off the front of the Capitol and echo.  Odd.  Since I couldn't hear very well, I decided not to stay and wait for the main speech. 

Supreme Court
I walked up Pennsylvania Ave and up , passed the US District Court (maybe the one where the trial for Roger Clemens is taking place), the Canadian Embassy (thinking of Tyler and Natalie) and the DC Court, to the National Building Museum.  The exhibits in the museum were not very interesting, but the gift shop was swell and the interior of the building itself was beautiful.  I love archways and there were plenty of them inside.

Canadian Embassy

National Building Museum

Inside detail
Next up - lunch.  I decided on Zaytinya, a Turkish restaurant on the corner of  9th and G street that got a good review in my guide book.  The menu is based on small plates, meze, similar to Spanish tapas.  You mix and match.  A little pricey, but very tasty.  If Nedim had been with me it would have been a different dining experience.  The whole meal I kept thinking that if he were there, I would have learned the waiter's name, where he was from.  There would have been discussion about why the plates were so small and lots of conversation with the other diners.  I ordered the tabbouleh, which was mostly parsley, and falafel.  The bread was light and the dipping olive oil, sweet and spicy at the same time.  I drank four big glasses of water.  The last fill up the bus-guy looked at me a little funny.  
Refreshed, I walked towards the White House.  The crowds there were thick.  I made my way in front of the big iron fence and took a few pictures.  I walked up along the west side and made my way over to a camera shop on I street between 19th and 20th streets.  I want a camera that is digital, a step above a point and shoot but not as bulky as the SLR models.  There wasn't anything in my price range there.  After that I picked up a bottle of water at Starbucks on got on the metro at Farragut West to Crystal City where someone got a text that Derek Jeter had just hit his 3000 hit and it was a home run to boot and needed to share the informatin with everybody in the train car.  And then it was "home" on the hotel shuttle.  I got into my room at 2:45. 

White House

Me in front of the iron fence
I'm too tired for laundry.  That will have to wait until tomorrow.  I need to find a short, 1/2 day morning activity for Sunday.  The only problem with this city is that most things don't open until 10:00.  I want to be going at 8:00.  Back to the guidebooks to plan.

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