?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
26 May 2011 @ 09:10 am
Footnotes: North America 2011 - Washington D.C., May 23-26.  
Late Afternoon/Evening of the 22nd

After rolling around in our hotel room, we took a walk through the Washington Circle area, checking out the sights before attending mass. This city feels entirely different from New York: it has all the marks of a big city (homeless folks roaming around/loitering on the park benches, busy business men and women scurrying about, fire trucks and police cars occasionally screaming down streets), but it's just... different, from the buildings right down to the air one breathes. It looks and feels more laid back, and the people, in general, are nicer. Our next few adventures proved that easily, with all the folks who went of their way to help out or to simply be courteous, and some random encounters in restaurants with people being nice enough to give us advice on where to go and what to do. I like the energy of New York, but I also like the neighborly sort of ambiance this place has to offer.

Anyway, we ate an expensive and slightly disappointing dinner at the hotel's bistro (not doing THAT again, for sure), then spent our first evening properly settling in. This time to relax and cool our heels really helped, given the fact that we spent the entire day afterward walking through the Tidal Basin and National Mall area, soaking up the sights.


The 23rd

The Tidal Basin and the sprawling area of the Mall with its trees and birds and squirrels and flowers made me feel like a kid again. I do recall that such expansiveness was what I immediately missed when we moved back to the Philippines. Manila is simply too crowded and too tiny for a girl who grew up with trees and mountains.

War memorials hold a special place in my heart, if only because I have always been fascinated by stories of the battlefield and warfare. I'm no war freak, but military history is one of my not-so-secret passions. I also feel that the soldiers who were out there ought to be remembered, and the families some of them left behind ought to have somewhere to go back to, to know that their loved ones fought the good fight.

On another note, it was nice going to the World War II memorial and see that the Philippines was recognized. I hadn't expected it, but a bit of thinking did make me remember that at the time, my country was still considered a part of the United States, in a way. Of course, strolling through that area brought out the old stories of my grandfather, who served in the USAFFE. Apparently, sometime before he died, my parents took a detour to Corrigidor on the way to Baguio, and searched out his name on the monument to the battle that was fought there. We have a picture of him pointing to it.

Beyond that, the presidential memorials were truly impressive, and even had exhibits that better acquaint outsiders like myself with what these people did to build the country that stands at present. Every piece is directed towards building the image that they want you to see - this isn't necessarily a bad thing, in my eyes. As it is, it's enough to make one reflect, should one care to.

In general, I am impressed at how America really attempts to remember its forefathers, and honor the people who fell in order to defend their country, whatever the country's 'actual' reasons may have been.

We topped off the day with an excellent dinner at Full Kee, this Chinese restaurant in, well, Chinatown. Unsurprisingly, all of us conked out early and woke up rather late the next morning.


May 24th

Our first Smisthsonian stop was the National Air and Space Museum by unanimous vote. Every single display had me giggling like a fangirl, and I, of course, dragged my brother over to the Mustang they had in the World War II section for a picture.

Shut up, it's a beautiful plane. 8|

As it is, many of you know that my childhood dream was to be a veritech pilot or an astronaut (since the veritech pilot thing would obviously be very hard to do), so my massive fangirling and enjoyment of this particular museum should come as no surprise.

After a stopover at the McDonald's in the Air and Space museum (father reacted a bit to this; we've been surviving on McDonald's stopovers a lot, in his eyes), we sped to the Museum of Natural History to gawk a bit at their dinosaurs and their mammals and the ocean hall and the Hope Diamond. I kind of wish I had more time to go back and really explore the Museum of Natural History, but I suppose that'll have to be for another day.

Cooled our heels off at the hotel again, then went back to the fringes of Chinatown for a dinner at Zaytinya. Small plate restaurant, so the servings were dismally tiny, but the food was wonderful. I've fallen in love all over again with Mediterranean cuisine. *^*


May 25th

Took the Metro down to Arlington Cemetery, and hopped on the tour mobile in order to get a good overview of the place without dying under the heat of the sun. There is no way we could have walked that thing - the place is massive.

As it is, though, I really enjoyed myself. I've got a thing for old cemeteries, and Arlington is a combination of two of my favorite things since it's a cemetery for soldiers, and is full of interesting war memorials. I was reminded, once again, of my grandfather, although he's buried back at home in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Our second and last stop for the evening was Georgetown, beginning at Georgetown University. The banners sounded eerily Jesuit, and a bit of walking and a stop at a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola proved to us that it was, indeed, a Jesuit university (we didn't know this when we got there).

Peter was suitably creeped out. Mom promptly dragged him to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and some research has proven that if he does land a scholarship, my folks may just be able to send him there. Now he's agonizing over his future. "THINGS WERE SIMPLE BACK IN MANILA," in his words.

I do agree, but simple isn't always good when it comes to one's education, you know?

As it is, Georgetown U was a real treat, with its gothic architecture and Harry Potter-ish feel. Not a place I can see myself taking up a degree in, but lovely nonetheless.

Dad had me take the reins at that point, for our walking tour of Georgetown. I used our Frommer's book, and we pretty much covered the ENTIRE area. The place really is quaint and lovely, and there was this lovely ice cream bar that I wish we could go back to. I want to try their other flavors. ;w;

We were going to go out for dinner after a bit of a rest at the hotel, but we ended up ordering Chinese takeout instead. It was delicious. owo
 
 
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: White noise at One Washington Circle.