The first two days were ultra hectic. I had been constantly travelling, hardly getting any sleep and trying to see as much of everything as I could. So on Day 3 I made it a point to slow down a bit and kind of enjoy what was around me. Woke up relatively late around 9 and ventured down to the lobby restaurant for my free breakfast. At this point I would like to take the time and thank Best Western for easily having one of the best breakfast menus of any hotel in their category. Great breakfast that was thoroughly enjoyed as the sun was finally out.
Having already seen the Air and Space Museum, Congress and the White House, my agenda was to finally go through rest of the Smithsonian museums and basically just walk around for a bit getting the feel of the city. So on advice of my Americanist friends (These are my friends who specialize in American Politics as part of their Grad Studies) I started the day at the American History Museum. History in general fascinates me but recently American History has become my area of interest. I feel that we can see the future based on the past and that our personalities are built up on our shared history. Add to this the fact that I live Atlanta, Georgia… which is one of the largest cities in the South; I have developed a special interest in the North South divide as well as the Civil War.
So to me the American History museum seemed like the perfect place to start out my Day 3. And I was not disappointed. Before I say what I am about to say, I need to clarify that I have been to museums in London, Paris and even Milan. I have seen a huge variety of artifacts across the world but nothing I have ever seen is as majestic as the Star Spangled Banner. I would have posted its picture but photographing the exhibit is not allowed. You get goose bumps seeing it and reading its historical significance. This one flag sums up the spirit of the nation; what defines it and what makes it tick.
After seeing the Star Spangled Banner, I headed to the war exhibit and saw some amazing stories of sacrifice and brutality. The museum has part of the steel pillars from the 17th floor of the World Trade Center on display as well. The sheer size of those helps you put in to perspective the magnitude of the devastation. Overall the whole museum was a sobering experience for me at least. People talk about how nations are built and become what they become, but what they do not tell you is that all such nations keep their history alive and close to their hearts. Honestly after seeing it all I wish Pakistan would have a museum like this to display what we have gone through and what has gone in to making the state that we fight over now. Our children in particular need to understand the basis of our country and what went in to getting it. So enough with the whole preachy thing, it is just that I really got emotional while going through the museum and my next destination did not help.
Most of us have read about the holocaust, we have heard stories and seen TV footage every now and then. As a student of political science I have read about it multiple times in history books but I have never really taken the time to know the scale of it up close and personal. On advice of my friends, I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Again it is one of those places where you cannot take pictures but all I can say is that words cannot describe what I saw, the images, the sounds and the historical accounts made me want to break out in tears. It boggles the mind that humans did this to other humans, it is incomprehensible to me that the world would sit ideally by and let it happen. And please if you are in DC, make it a point to go and see this museum. You will get a chance to talk to a Holocaust Survivor and that would be an experience like no other.
After having a seriously emotional morning, I, being an absolute genius decided to not have lunch and instead walk to the World War 2 memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln Memorial, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is the Lincoln statue that oversees the National Mall. For those of you interested in why Lincoln gets his very own memorial, read up on American History to understand why he is that important. In short, he is the reason the US is still there. He is the man who kept the Union (Refer to the words in the picture). Last time I was here, the Lincoln memorial was going through some renovations but this time around I finally got to have a clear shot and spend some time at this majestic location. By now my stomach had launched a revolt that was being supported my whole body. Sensing a breakdown of my union, I headed towards George Washington University, which is about 10 minutes away from the memorial.
George Washington University is one of the 3 major universities in DC (The other ones being American Uni and Georgetown). It is a purely urban campus so it kind of reminded me of my Uni, Georgia State. As with all Uni campuses, there are plenty of food options, ended up with Subway because I was lazy and standing next to one. Decided to do that thing where you go sit in a park and eat your food under the sun, but what not one ever tells you is that if you do that birds will mess you up. No seriously, I get that eating in parks is freaking brilliant and GOD knows how wonderful sunny days demand that you eat outside but the birds will keep messing with you while you eat. And they WILL get aggressive. Please do not be under the impression that “Awww pretty sparrow wants food”… NO, that pretty sparrow along with 20 of its siblings WILL attack you if you do not hand over food. So after having like 1/3 of my sandwich, I packed the rest up and walked the hell away. No way was losing out to BIRDS… NOT TO BIRDS.
The rest of the day was just me trying to write and catch up on emails and work. Got called for a meeting, so had to go in for that (No it was not by choice, they knew I was there and were like dude come on over). Finally got back to Fairfax around 8 PM (I refused to give the Metro 6 bucks to travel during “peak time”) to go for dinner with my buddy. Ended up this really nice place called PEI WEI, their food was excellent! Wish they would open in Georgia. After food, for some damn reason my friend decided that we should go catch a movie as he had not seen one in over a year (guy is an accountant with a family, he hardly gets time off). So we saw 300: Rise of an Empire. OK I need to be clear here, I loved the first 300 movie. The second one however was CRAP. I am thankful that I did not have to pay to watch it, I just feel bad that my friend had to.
Having checked out of Best Western earlier in the day as I was booked there for two nights and had decided to stay on for an extra night, I moved to a very nice but badly located Extended Stay America.
The last portion of Adnanventure will be up soon. Thanks for reading.