Thursday, April 2, 2009

DC Day 3

This is how day 3 started: Well, sort of. The forecast called for clear skies and sunshine, so I made an effort to put on my contacts in order wear my huge wrinkle preventers. (Since I've been basically living in my prescription glasses, contact wearing has become sort of a chore). We grabbed a quick breakfast at Mickey D's, took a very convenient, but not picture worthy elevator down to the Metro and ventured onward. (Strollers and stairs don't mix well, so happening upon an elevator is always a big relief) Once we emerged from the dark depths, I quickly discovered that my sunglasses had kicked the bucket. This was only the beginning of what would become quite a comical day.
We had little time to see the sights before a 12:30 tour of the capitol building because 1. We had to be there an hour early to get through security, and 2. Getting 8 people including 2 children, a stroller, 2 cameras, 4 backpacks, 7 Metro tickets, 3 guidebooks, and a map out the door can be quite chaotic. Plus, getting up at 7:00AM didn't sound too appealing.
We decided to keep our sightseeing close to the Capitol and went to check out the Supreme Court.

Yet another beautiful work of architecture, and for Finn, another set of stairs.

Just a side note to my family: Striving to simulate Samson, silly Susie stretched superbly, scarcely scraping Supreme Court supports!
How's that for alliteration?
Alright, back to the day. Since time was short and the line to get in the building was long, we opted to walk around the grounds which, as luck would have it, lead us to the handicapped entrance with zero lines.

We quickly surveyed the building, took a few pics, and can now state that we've been inside the Supreme Court.

Thanks to our ever so sweet and always organized Aunt (Silly Susie), we had a private tour of the capitol building. Like the Library of Congress, the ornamentation in the Capitol was breathtaking.
Do you see the monochromatic mural surrounding the rotunda in the picture above? It took over a hundred years to complete, and only three different artists worked on it!
During our tour, we were allowed to go into the House Chamber as you see here:
Not really. When visiting the House chamber, no one's allowed to take any kind of electronic devices including cameras and cell phones, so I have no pictures to document what occurred on this part of the tour. After checking all of our bags, we stepped onto an elevator and were joined by four other tourists. We kindly made conversation and exchanged smiles and then, when we reached our floor, we all exited the elevator together. We were lead through a maze of hallways where our Aunt (Silly Susie) gracefully tripped over the very heavy, very brass, very loud when hitting the floor "Quiet Please" sign. In such ironies, silence is extremely hard to maintain.
We continued to snicker until we reached the metal detector, when our friends from the elevator became quite a bit louder. After two of the four passed through the metal detector, our tour guide informed the guards that they weren't a part of our group. This lead to statements like "What do you mean we're not a part of your group? We've been with you this whole time!" and "I'm contacting our representative and telling him what you've done!" and "You're being really mean and I'm going to huff and puff and blow the metal detector down if you don't let me through!" Okay, I might have exaggerated a little on that last bit, but one of the ladies caused quite the commotion. It turned out that they were secret spy ninjas trying to infiltrate the Capitol by posing as tourists and befriending unsuspecting out-of-towners. Or maybe they just got separated from their group and mistook our smiling faces for their fellow tourees. Thanks to Denise (our guide), we made it out without any further cases of mistaken tour groups. As for the four stowaways, we left them in the House Chamber where they remain today, waiting to join up with their group.
The next stop was the Arlington National Cemetery where we witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb is guarded by the elite of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, and to receive this honor, they have to go through a very arduous process. We also witnessed a wreath placing ceremony and a very moving rendition of taps.

We left the cemetery via the Metro, exited the train, and started toward the giant escalator for our end of the day race when we heard Popsie (my father-in-law) and Chris (my brother-in-law) yelling for us. Remember the convenient elevator I mentioned earlier, the one that took us 'down' to the Metro? This was not it.
Can you see what's wrong with this picture? Let me give you a hint...we were trying to go up.
So, while Popsie and Chris were motioning for us to join them in this elevator, we were wondering if the elevator was going to magically lift off, fly us through the ceiling and back to the hotel. It didn't. In the end, we packed up the stroller, raced up the huge escalator, felt the burn in our thighs, and collapsed back at the hotel room.
In closing, I'll leave you with this:
Calling cautious companions, crazy cohorts conspire to catch compact cube that can't carry crews to comfortable commorancy.
(thank you thesaurus!)
Nessa Dee


Susan Roeder said...

You are too fun, Nessa. And calling me organized when you have already done your laundry and filtered and uploaded three days of pictures is the biggest irony. Also, my name is only Silly Susie when in alliterative mode, from now on it is simply Aunt Sugar Daddy. Had so much fun with you guys!!! Thanks for being our chronicler.

Kristi Valiant said...

Your photos are always so gorgeous, Nessa. I haven't been to Washington DC, but hope to someday. These photos are making me move up that date I think.