Thursday, June 23, 2011

From State Capitols to the National Capitol

We drove into DC just before the DC all afternoon rush hour.  We parked at my Rochelle’s house in Bethesda, but didn’t have much direction of what to do after that.  Rochelle was still at work, and we were going to meet her downtown for a drink later, but not for a few hours.  So, we wondered around a little, found the Metro station, got a map of the city from the Concierge desk at the Hyatt, and headed to the Capitol Building, naturally.  What else are you to do with a free afternoon in Washington DC?  The subway was fairly simple to navigate, and once we got off, metro information people were stationed to answer questions. 
The Capitol grounds looked a bit beat up, maybe is was the heat, maybe the recession; but the area looked dirty, there were quite a few dirt walkways leading to the capitol and the building looked tired.  We did go up to the front and hang out for a bit.  Found a random building that housed some drinking fountains that gave us a little relief from the heat and humidity.  We watched a hippie in an Uncle Sam hat protesting circumcision laws.  Then we met Rochelle and Jonathan at another metro station and walked to Church Key DC, a popular beer and cheese bar.  We got to catch up with Rochelle and Jonathan and hear their stories of the big city.  Then we went to another bar for a Vassar reunion.  (Rochelle and Jonathan are Vassar alumni).  This was an interesting event, free booze and food for the alumnus who had just returned from a formal alumni reunion at the school the previous weekend.  It was fun for us to meet people and hear their stories.  Lots of conversations were sadly about the (very tight) job market in DC.

Later, we met up with another of Rochelle’s friends, Charlene, who was interviewing for some overseas jobs that week for a quick dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery.  (This is the same chain as the Rock Bottom in Portland).   The day turned out to be much more of an awesome adventure than I had expected when we drove in.
Armed with our map from the Hyatt, we headed to the other side of the capitol mall the next day.  We walked up to the Washington monument.  Went up the stairs to the Lincoln monument (and reveled about the beautiful white marble that originated in Marble, Colorado).  Spent some time at the war memorials, the Vietnam memorial, in its simplicity, was the most powerful to Jarrett and me.  We were hungry and hot, so we aimed to find a Smithsonian that would fulfill both of those needs.  We found the Art Museum of the Americas, a small, and interesting museum just across from the mall.  It didn’t have any food, so our search continued.  We stumbled upon the Metro café to fulfill our hunger, which was more popular among the locals than the tourists.  We decided to spend our afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Art Museum, a combined building.  We made it through most of the first floor before we were completely exhausted.  There are 3 floors plus of exhibitions and collections.  We waited out a thunderstorm at the metro station back in Bethesda, where we met back up with Rochelle, Jonathan, and Charlene for a yummy dinner at Sweet Basil, a wonderful Thai place. (Congrats to Charlene for getting the position she wanted!).
The Vietnam War Memorial with a crowds reflection.

Even though there is so much of DC to explore and hundreds more museums, Jarrett and I decided that we would leave the next day.  We had a great time seeing what we did, and a wonderful time spent with friends.  So, we headed up the road towards upstate New York the next day. Thank you Rochelle and Jonathan for being such great hosts in DC!
Our favorite quote from the Korean War Memorial.

No comments:

Post a Comment