Friday, July 9, 2010

Holiday weekend

It’s been a bit nuts since my last post. All week leading up to the 4th of July I was wondering what I might do for the holiday. You see, I grew up in the Midwest and the 4th of July is a big holiday with days spent at the lake, late nights and lots of fireworks, I mean lots of fireworks. When I moved east to New York, I guess I didn't know what to expect but I've been highly disappointed. So in the week leading up to the holiday I began scoping and wondering what I could do or where I could go to enjoy some fireworks.
On Wednesday night (June 30th) the idea was raised that I might go to Washington D.C. for the 4th, so I began looking into it. Fortunately it’s pretty cheap to get from New York City to Washington D.C. if you're willing to take the bus; unfortunately booking a last minute hotel room over a holiday weekend is not so cheap. As much as I was wanting to go I knew I couldn't afford it, but then my boss offered to pay for one of the two nights I'd be in D.C., how could I pass on that offer? I couldn't and I didn't, by Friday I'd booked a hotel room and paid for a bus ticket and I left early Saturday morning. It was a whirlwind weekend to say the least.

Saturday, July 3rd
As helpful as bus drivers were once I got to D.C. and tried to take a local bus to stop that was only supposed to be about 5 blocks from my hotel (I'd checked it all out online before I left NY) two out of two bus drivers managed to give me the wrong directions and I got off at the recommended stop only to find out I was about 15 to 20 blocks from my hotel. I did eventually end up where I was supposed to be but I was too early for check-in and not wanting to leave my laptop in my luggage in the luggage check I waited around for an hour or so until I could check in. After getting into my room and getting settled I grabbed a bite to eat at the fast food joint across the street then proceeded to walk mile or so from the hotel to the National Mall. In just a few short hours I went to the National Museum of Natural History and walked from there to the Washington Monument. By this time the sun was beginning to set and not wanting to be out to late or in the dark in a strange environment I headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest, knowing that next day was going to be a doozy.

Sunday, July 4th
I was ready to curl up in a ball and die by the end of the day, I was so incredibly sore from all the walking but it was totally worth it. In the course of the day I managed to squeeze in visits to, the Capitol Building, the U.S. Botanical Gardens, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Air & Space Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History a visit to the Lincoln Memorial and I watched the fireworks from the steps near the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. After the fireworks were over it took me an hour and a half of non-stop walking to get back to my hotel. Part of the reason it took so long was because Independence Avenue was closed so I had to take the lllooooonnnnnggggg way back, which included walking all the way around the Tidal basin. I didn't know where I was or what I was seeing at the time but on my way back I walked through the Korean War Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and I walked past the Jefferson Memorial. By the time my day was over I was ready to chop off everything from the hips down and have it all replaced with a new version. Let me just say it was totally worth it and the fireworks were stellar, the best I've seen since I moved east. I was close enough to where the fireworks were being lit off that I could physically feel each explosion in my chest as it burst in the air. I love that feeling and I was one of the many cheering and clapping throughout the show.

Monday, July 5th
I caught the hotel shuttle back to the Holocaust Museum. On holiday weekends the museum only allows a limited number of people through the permanent exhibit and they hand out timed tickets and I'd missed out on that portion of the museum the day before so I went back hoping to get in. When I got there, there was already a long line and by the time I got to the front of the line the earliest tickets they were handing out were for 2:15 in the afternoon, problem was I had to catch a bus back to NY by 4:00, there wasn't any way I'd be able to see the permanent exhibit. After hesitating for a moment I decided to use my Midwestern charm and ever so politely ask if there was any possible way I could please get in to the exhibit because I had to catch a bus that afternoon and after all it was just me, I only needed one ticket. The gal behind the counter looked at me in sympathy and glanced up to her superior and looked back at me then back to her superior and asked him "Wanna give her a comp?" the older gentle man didn't quite give me a sympathetic look (it was closer to a glare) and asked "How many are you?" and I said, "One, just one. It’s just me." Grudgingly he handed over the ticket at which, of course, I gushed about a dozen thank you so muches and rushed off to see the exhibit. It was worth it, totally and completely. I've always been incredibly interested, although of course not in a morbid way, with the Holocaust, I think it’s because it’s so hard to fathom or even understand everything that happened during that period of time and this museum is unbelievable. I can't even describe, I'm at a loss for words even as I'm typing. There is no decent description for all that is this particular museum, if you're ever in D.C. you have to go to the Holocaust Museum, it’s astounding.

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