The Elk Committee (of two) has arrived in plenty of time to get acclimated to the city before the Rally to Restore Sanity gets under way on Saturday. Every loud mouth comment and rude behavior that Ross and I make is explained away when we announce we are from the "other" Washington, AKA The West Coast. People love us here!
Representing Elk has been super easy since we arrived since we were the only white people in a 4 mile radius from our place. The town-house is a direct result of breeding between The Huxtables from the Cosby Show and Sesame Street. As you can see here, primary colors are a favored choice for these magnificent brick buildings.
Seriously, though the architecture is gorgeous in a very urban way that makes you think of TV shows from the 80's like 227 and The Jeffersons. They make crime look good with all the intricate wrought iron work on the barred windows and fences. Keeping winos and crack addicts out with a sunburst pattern is much more pleasing to the eye.
Today we walked through two distinct areas. The first was the university district of the predominantly African American Howard University. I felt relatively safe here as I saw lots of students on the street. However, as we walked through actual REAL "Projects" of low income housing it was like a scene from a movie as we passed rundown playgrounds and roving groups of gangstas who eyeballed us thoroughly. I didn't know whether to paste a smile on and say hello or keep walking, eyes down, or what! We walked all the way down to the Whitehouse and the US treasury.
We got caught in a down pour so we ducked into the Renwick Art Gallery that was displaying art made in WWII Japanese internment camps. It was amazing!! Made me think what we could all be capable of if we weren't addicted to TV and Facebook. Upstairs there was the coolest Grand Salon with a ceiling at least 40 ft. tall. It was very Sense and Sensibility and I managed to pretend I was Miss Dashwood for about 12 seconds before Ross began panicking about the rain and wanted to cab back. NO!!! WE MUST PUSH ON!!! Rain won't kill us!
We ran down the street and bought an umbrella which immediately brought the rain to a halt. We then made our way across the National Mall to the Washington Monument. Ross especially enjoyed licking the monument as well as going up to the top and seeing all the secret stuff. Ask him about the special gas...
Amish Abe Pays Tribute to Ol' George W.
We were able to walk to the Lincoln Memorial by way of the Reflecting Pool. You know, that bit of water that Forest Gump wades through to get to Jenny after his speech. The pictures and movies do not do it justice. The statue of Lincoln is HUGE! Like a Temple of Zeus or something. You can see here just how big one of the columns is.
The most poignant moment of today was definitely the Vietnam War memorial wall. The mood is very pensive and quiet. One woman was telling an older man in a wheelchair about her son who was wounded in The Iraqi War. Then we saw a group of boys (literally, boys...they looked like 18 yr. old BABIES!) in uniform. One was in a wheelchair as a double amputee and the other was on crutches. I felt so awkward because I didn't want to stare but I didn't want them to think that I was ashamed to look at them either. It was hard to know whether they wanted to be acknowledged and thanked for their service or if they wanted to be left alone. What do you think, folks?
The memorial itself is so shiny and ethereal that you can see your reflection in it as you walk by.
Of course, Ross wasn't able to respect ALL of the areas of the National Mall...
After that we had a good meal, bought supplies, and cabbed back to the apartment. Be sure to ask us about "easy wider wo-ring" papers at the Chinese Market if you want to hear a great story of West Coasters on the East Coast.
I'm off to watch President Obama's appearance on The Daily Show now. Day 2 to follow...