Thursday, March 19, 2009

George Mason visit - day 3

Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny day in Washington, DC.

Today: cold and rainy.

We got up and, after much diddling around, finally left the hotel in Fairfax to head back to DC. At the Metro Park and Ride, a "Lot Full"sign greeted us. After much testy negotiation, we drove around until we found Metro station with a Park and Ride lot.

Back in DC (at last) we headed back to the Smithsonian Museum of American History and finished viewing the Price of Freedom: America at War, which examines how wars have shaped American culture and society, from the War of Independence to the present.

The amazing thing about the Smithsonian is its astonishing collection of miscellaneous objects of enormous historic importance. Things like the coat Marion Anderson wore when she sang at the Lincoln Memorial, security badges worn by workers on the Manhattan Project, the Ruby Red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz.

On a less serious note, they had the triple portrait of Stephen Colbert shown on his programs, and a likeness of entertainer Rush Limbaugh (below).

From the Museum of American History, we headed across the Mall to the Air and Space Museum. Imagine a huge building full of amazing objects - the Bell X-1 flown by Chuck Yaeger to break the sound barrier, satellites and space probes, the X-15 (first rocket plane to ever reach space) - all hanging from the rafters. Another day when we got chased out by the guards at closing time.

We met up outside and continued to walk down the Mall towards the Capitol building (fortunately the rain had let up by now), and caught the Metro to Dupont Circle, where we had a tasty (albeit expensive) meal at Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe. I celebrated another day of travel survival by having a martini. Damn, but it was good.

It's been a great trip so far. Tomorrow is anybody's guess as to what we'll do.


Dan Brekke said...

Dude, you're doing all my favorite Washington things. Except driving around looking for parking.

Dr Ralph said...

My way of dealing with the parking issue: buy a Metro Pass for the day -- best $7 you'll ever spend. It will necessitate doing a fair amount of walking, but you'd likely be doing that anyway. We took the Metro in from Fairfax -- it was great. Beats the hell out of trolling for parking spots and feeding quarters to meters.