The plane ride to Philadelphia was eight luxurious hours; thanks to a family I babysit for back in AZ, I flew Business class. Though I should have slept during the flight, instead, I watched several movies to pass the time: Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the beginning of The Day the Earth Stood Still. The flight had been delayed by three hours, so we got into Philadelphia late by a couple of hours; luckily, I had given myself a buffer period of a few hours to catch my bus, in the event of something exactly like this. I passed through border control and customs without any issues, for which I was thankful; I worried that after being gone for so long, they would give me trouble. Once through security, I took the train into the city to the Market Street Station in central Philadelphia so that I could catch my bus to Washington DC. The bus was late, so we arrived a little after 11PM; I was met at the bus stop by Nick, a friend from AZ who is studying in DC, with whom I’d be staying for the next few days.
On Saturday, Nick and I went to see the National Mall. We started off at the Whitehouse (didn’t go in), and then walked around the Mall, past the Washington Monument, and up to the Capitol building. We went to the Botanical Gardens, which were fantastic, and then back past the Washington Monument to the World War II Memorial, then through the Vietnam War Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial. My favorite out of everything we saw that day was the Lincoln Memorial, and I really enjoyed the view of the Washington Monument over the Reflecting Pool. We then headed back to Nick’s because we had been walking for ages and the weather was unbearable.
Sunday was the 4th, and we made plans with some of Nick’s friends to hang out at the National Mall to catch the fireworks that night. We headed out there in the early afternoon, and set up a blanket around 3PM, and hung out there until the end of the fireworks. The show started a little around 9:15PM, and lasted for about 20 minutes. Once it was over, the streets immediately filled with people, and it took us quite a while to get to the Chinatown stop, while managing to all stay together as a group. Walking to the Chinatown stop was a superb idea though, because it was one stop before the stop where everyone was boarding, so we were able to get seats before the trains supersaturated with passengers. We watched a few episodes of Lost that night, because I’m pretty bloody addicted.
On Monday we took it easy; we went to lunch at a sushi place nearby, went to the garden center, and walked through the forest back to Nick’s. We spent the rest of the day watching more episodes of Lost, and then a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad, which I had never seen before.
On Tuesday, I went to the post office in the morning so that I could mail the phone I had been using in the UK back to my parents’ house. My sister Catherine is going to the UK for a bit, but she departs two days before I get back to AZ, so I thought it would be good for me to send it back so she could use it due to the fact that our paths will not cross until she is home. The post office took ages, as it invariably always does, and afterwards I headed to the National Mall so that I could visit the Air and Space Museum. On the way there, I passed the National Art Gallery, and spied a sign for an exhibition entitled “Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg.” For those of you who don’t know, I am a little (see: a lot) in love with Jack Kerouac, so when I saw the sign advertising photos of the Beat Generation, I knew what needed to be done. Luckily, entrance was free, so I headed directly for the exhibit, passing through the impressionist section along the way, which meant that I got to admire some superb Van Gogh’s and Degas’ on my way. The photography exhibit was magnificent, and I was so glad that I had found my way there; one thing is sure: I need to read more Beat poetry. After the Gallery, I headed across the Mall to the Air and Space Museum, where I spent the next couple of hours. This museum was just superb. I was so torn about where to devote more time, because I am interested in both astronomy and space travel, as well as aviation and flight, so it was tough to choose between the two! I ended up devoting more time to the Space section of the museum, and I just loved the whole thing. Around 2:30 I headed back to Nick’s so that I could get my bags and head back out to the bus station to head to Philadelphia. On the road again!
In front of the Whitehouse!
Oh hey, Obama.
The Washington Monument
The Capitol Building
The World War II Memorial
Nick! He broke his arm training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, because he is tough.
The Vietnam War Memorial
The Vietnam War Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool
Nick totally looks photoshopped into this photo, but I promise he’s not.
Lincoln looking regal.
The Einstein Memorial; it’s perfect.
The Washington Monument looking sinister with its red eyes on the night of the 4th.
Philadelphia, you’re next!