I find it funny when people make a habit of not pronouncing things how they are spelt.
For instance, we are sitting on the platform, right? And there is this voice that comes in over the speaker system every now and then, which is a part of the safety propaganda, making sure that there is no chance someone could leave a bomb lying around on a station anywhere.
Its meant to say something like “Is this your bag? If you’re not sure, just ask…”, instead, the guy on the speaker system says “If you’re not sure, just axe”.
Its like the Lumberjack’s take on the Nike slogan.
I’m thinking, I’m not axing any bloody bag. What if the bag belongs to some Paris Hilton sort, and she’s got a Chihuahua hiding in there? You tossers tricked me. Not touching any bag with any axes. Washington is getting thugger and thugger by the day.
We are headed to the Zoo today. It is part of the Smithsonian set up, so its free. Like, WTF? A free Zoo. That is a little hard to wrap my head around, but ok. We arrive at the station, turn the corner to use the escalators, and there, in front of us is the biggest set of escalators you have literally ever see in your entire life. It is unreal. By the time someone is at the top of the stairs, you can hardly make them out. It is just craziness.
As we are leaving the station, I look at the structure, and take into consideration the depth of these subways, and I say to Bec, “I reckon that these were made as bomb shelters, if need be”. I mean, they are soon deep, and the concave roof made from the kinda brick-like pics that they are made from, makes them pretty bloody sturdy. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I reckon that is where they hide the transformers.
We walk to the Zoo, and have this random homeless guy ask us for a peanut buttercup.
So, we buy a peanut buttercup for him, give him a high five, he tells us to keep the faith, and we go to the zoo. Good day so far.
We reach the edge of the zoo. I know it’s free, but I’m still expecting there to be some sort of ticket booth, where they give you a ticket so that it feels more expensive than it really is.
You walk straight through.
This is weird, like really weird.
We take a picture of the park map, or you can buy a print out version of the map for $5. I’ve been scammed before, but not this time mate.
So, it just snowed right? It’s been in the minus degrees for a few days. Pretty much all the animals have been taken out of their enclosures, so that they don’t die and stuff. Pretty good initiative on the Zoo’s part, I say. So, about 60% of the zoo is hidden away. Hence, the ‘free’ part of the whole set up right?
Still, though, we got to learn that if you point your foot at a sealion and then quickly drag it one way or the other, the sealion will grab it’s tail and do a loop for you. Thats kinda cool. We got to watch an Orangutang make sounds like he was farting cos the Zookeeper wasn’t giving him enough attention after she started giving him peanuts during an experiment she was running.
We found out that Elephants are one of 7 animals in the world that can identify themselves in a mirror, and got to watch a Panda, do what Pandas do, which is pretty much just not care about anything in the world, and kick back in his little bath-like area in his pen while he munches away on his bamboo. He’s a legend. I like him.
He has a few mates, but this guy is the better sort.
He’s got life figured out.
We haven’t been near wifi all day, and its our only source of contact to the outside world, including our host on Couchsurfing. We have hardly been able to spend any time actually hanging out with him, so we don’t wanna dog him if he is in the city, and it is a Sunday arvo. So to rectify this, we head across the road to a little bar. It looks like it is certainly going to do the job for coffee, so we say to the guy “Mate. You guys do coffee?”
“Yeah. Sure do”
“Coffee for how many?”
We go take a seat at the table, and he runs off.
Bec says to me, “Does he wanna know what coffee we would like?”
“I guess not”
He returns with what we feared he would return with… It’s in a kinda flash flask.
North American coffee culture lets us down once again. But, admittedly, Bec does say “To be honest, I still preferred that over Starbucks”. I am surprised, but Bec really does make a quality cup of coffee, so fair enough.
We find out that Sebastian is at a bar called ‘The Town Tavern’, watching the Miami Dolphins get whipped, and he will be there till about 8pm. Perfect. We wanna head to see the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery and then to the Lincoln Memorial. They are kind of a fair way away from the zoo, so we hustle to not be late to meet Sebastian.
If we get to the Pentagon, we can walk to the Cemetery, and then, there is no real way to avoid it, but we have to walk to the memorial from the station.
We have to head to the train station. I turn to Bec, “You wanna head down the escalators again?”
“Yes!”, she says with added enthusiasm. Good. I was gonna anyways.
We catch the train to the Pentagon, and we get off at the station called “Pentagon”. Right? As if it has it’s own station. And when it has it’s own station, I actually mean it. You get upstairs, and it is literally right there. I mean less than 50m away from the top of the station. Like, you see the building, and you think “Nah. Thats not it. Where do I have to walk to see the pentagon?”. Then you walk around the corner, and your suspicions are answered. It’s actually the pentagon. You’re not allowed to take any pictures at all, of the pentagon, at all.
There are cops, cameras, guards. The whole lot. Where the dont have loads of cameras is where every person who enters the pentagon parks their granny scooters, apparently. Like, there is HEAPS of them. And to this day, it remains a mystery.
So, we walk till we are far enough away that they either don’t care, or they cant care, and take one shot. One shot which does it no justice. None at all, but the building just looks like a tank. It is a mammoth building. It oozes military.
Since we can’t take photos of it, and you can’t get inside it without arranging it 6 weeks in advance, we just take it in for like 5 mins and head to Arlington Cemetery. By the time we get there, it is too late to actually get inside, but for us to get to the Lincoln Memorial, we have to kinda just scout the edge of the cemetery, so we were graced with view after view of headstone after headstone planted in remembrance of someone else who lost their life, whether necessarily, or unnecessarily in the world of war.
Bec and I were in the middle of talking about Abraham Lincoln and the things that he achieved during his presidency, which still live on today, when we first glimpsed the cemetery. It stopped us dead in our conversation. To think of so many lives taken so early, and so many memories left to rest in one place.
That, is sobering to see.
The only distraction? Bec and I need to both go to the toilet. In a really big way. We walk along a path that was only a path because the other couple a few mins before us made it a path, and with every step, we are reminded that we are needing to pee more and more.
I’m a guy right? I can pretty much go anywhere.
Bec is not a guy (just incase you were still wondering, she isn’t), so she can’t just go anywhere.
I suggest a variety of places, which depending on the desperation of the person would have suited just fine to use as a makeshift bathroom. Most of them are in the cover of foliage. I promised her that I wouldn’t do anything until she was able to go to the toilet too. There is an opening in a thick hedge, a fair way away from the cemetery, and we even end up walking into the opening, but the level of desperation isn’t high enough. It was high enough to warrant some consideration, but no action.
Our only option is to walk to the Lincoln Memorial, and use the toilet there.
The Lincoln Memorial is a good 20 min walk away. Not ideal in any way at all.
By the time we get there, it’s like the Lord Himself opening the floodgates. Relief like yo have never experienced. After we are in our right minds again, we head up to the memorial chamber. The elevator doors open, and straight away, we are awe struck. The grandeur of Washington’s buildings and moments seem to climax at the Lincoln Memorial. The chamber is tens of meters high, not to mention the actual statue itself. A monument to one of the greatest leaders to have ever graced presidency.
Super powerful stuff.
Quotations etched into the walls of the chamber, themselves.
Pillars as wide as a man is, tall, stretch from floor to ceiling.
Light illuminates only the necessary items.
All, to create the most monumental means of remembrance that I’ve ever witnessed.
The first things that come out your mouth are “Whoa….” The moment you enter. Only to find yourself standing and reading words from the man himself.
We do the tourist thing, and we take our time to enjoy and take in a sight that we likely wont see for years again. At best.
In front of the memorial, is the giant pool right in front of the DC Monument, Spire, thing-y. Which, for the educated among you, would know is where Jenny ran out from the crowd to meet Forrest Gump again. We MUST get a photo by that pool.
So, we do.
History being revisited.
It is not 6pm, and we have two hours to get to the bar with Sebastian.
We have no wifi, so we start walking to the station. Along the way, hooking into the free wifi spots. Turns out that washington isn’t so liberal with their wifi. I did, however, come across a wifi, which was called “passwordistaco”. The password was, in fact, not taco.
We get to the station, and the station is closed, and they are offering busses to take us to another station instead. We ask how to get where we need to go, and he says “Yeah. Just grab this bus, get to this station, and take the red line”. No worries. Except that the bus goes the opposite direction. After we get to the station. We find that the next service isn’t for another 20 minutes. Once we get on that service, it for some reason just starts getting the opposite way again. We get to the wifi, and I get the messages from Sebastian, telling us that he has gone home already.
Gayyyyyyy. Bec and I both feel stink.
This guy has been an absolute legend, and both times that we had the opportunity to hang out with him, it didn’t pan out. I mean, we were trying to get our way to the bar for literally 2 hours. It was a joke. It actually would have been quicker to walk there than to try use public transport.
It was was 8km.
It would have been quicker.
We end up just buying him a mini carton of beer as recompense, and come home to find him having tucked into the left overs, and left us a very drunk note, expressing his deepest appreciation for the food. Haha. He’s a champion.
I stay up to blog.
Bec goes to sleep.
I am going to sleep now.
Come back tomorrow,