Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seen it, Done it! Next!

We have never taken the children to London. I have never done the London tourist stuff. I really shouldn’t be surprised when most Americans I speak to haven’t been to Washington. Sorry – I should clarify for any American readers – Washington DC not the state of. There are two apparently.
To get to Washington we had to run the gauntlet of Virginia – now you will know if you have checked out that this is a dangerous thing to do. I was more than mildly alarmed when I read the road signs ‘Speed limit enforced by Aircraft”. How? A rocket launched up our tailgate if we aren’t going fast enough? Bomb a big crater in front to slow us down? We survived Virginia almost without incident but then I didn’t wield my camera! What I had not really factored in was the danger of going on a 5 hour car journey after Hubby had tucked into thanksgiving turkey and stuffing the day before. It was bad! In America they don’t mind the word ‘fart’ but object to the word toilet – preferring ‘rest room’ or ‘bath room’. Well. Hubby farted and it wasn’t a rest or a bath he needed…
Washington was cold...and sat on the happy open topped tour bus was absolutely freezing. They seem like a good idea until you realise that the hop on and off thing is pretty inflexible and they only go one way round the circuit – so if you are on stop 29 and want to go to stop 26 you have to sit on there for 2 and ½ hours… or walk but we are in America so that wouldn’t have been right. The tour guide voice over was very safety conscious, ‘Please keep body parts inside the bus. It is for your own safety and it is the law’! What body parts would you dangle out? It was too cold for most parts to be unsheaved! Not for the first time I wondered what a law enforcement officer would do to uphold the law. In this case I think the body part in question may affect the response!
We did all the sites, even a tour of Congress, although my daughter was miffed at the airport like security, ‘We have to throw all our drinks away just to go into this thing?’ I thought Hubby was going to wolf whistle during the introductory video where they told of the British burning down the original Congress building in 1812. A case of sour grapes I guess for losing the War of Independence! I made the mistake of asking a question just before the end of our guided tour. You could see the tour guide take on a slightly deranged look with a glint in his eye as he launched into his undergraduate speciality of Lincoln, only pausing to negotiate some stairs before resuming on an excruciatingly detailed response to my inane question. There’s always one and this time it was me!
We saw a cavalcade of black cars by the Whitehouse. I don’t know if the flying flag means that Obama was home. I had been telling my daughter how rude it was that we weren’t invited in for tea at the Whitehouse. After all, if the President were to call by my house I would invite him in. Perhaps he was just on his way out. Maybe over the years when I reminisce about my trip to Washington I will recall him waving from one of the car windows. I’m sure I will be thankful for my visit to the railings of the Whitehouse when I get that pub quiz question ‘who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?’
We were the most typical of tourists. We had our photos taken at all the famous landmarks. Hubby thought it hysterical to frame any shots with me in them with the landmark coming out of my head. I carried around a Worcester breast Care Charity bag (after all everybody knows somebody) and took its picture at famous places too. For Charity! We jumped off the bus, did the photo and hopped back on. This isn’t really the way to see places and it was made painfully obvious at Arlington National Cemetery. Hubby tried to contain our son by telling him it was a grave yard. I know he didn’t get it when he asked about the Gravies. I explained what each headstone represented and he was reflective and quiet for a short while. I felt touched by JF Kennedy’s eternal flame burning by his grave stone. Hubby said I was more tapped that touched. We had 30 minutes before the next bus, not enough time to visit the grave of the ‘unknown Soldier’. As we jumped back on the bus the voice over paid lip service ‘…as we peacefully resume our tour…’ We too had paid lip service – it should have been a place where time didn’t matter, but we had a schedule and I still hadn’t seen the Reflecting Pool!

As cities go Washington is a very beautiful one. It is compact so you really can walk most places. I recommend it. I’m not sure how it quite compares to a tourist trip to London – I’ve only ever gone there to get drunk with Friends. I must put London on my ‘to see and do’ list, get my camera and tour bus tickets, and go!


  1. Do'nt know about speed enforced by air craft, yor speed was proberly regulated by Rchards farts, you would go faster to seeiif you could gat rid of the pong. YOu should have got him to fatr i n the feul tank you would have had no need to fill up

  2. The bus thing I could have warned u about that ....... I've never done it but I have heard from others its OK if you have had your life extended through cryogenics and have been put into hyper sleep till you arrive on Pandora or the next stop you can get off at and get back to civilization....... then its fine...... otherwise it will take up your whole life....... :-)) .... sorry :-))


  3. Jez - your tips were spot on. We should have known better - We would never normally use the tourist bus! We only used it once - at the end of the first day and we were tired and thought it would be a nice way to get back to the hotel but it was very grim!!! We couldn't last the duration - On the plus side we wouldn't have discovered Georgetown and had a lovely evening without having hopped on! x