This post is a little late. It’s now April which meant we were in DC just over 3 months ago. And although the freshest memories have gone, I wanted to share a little of what we saw of this very different and pretty part of America.
We arrived in DC late in the evening, and after a small mix up we decided to take the Metro from the airport, which by the way was pure delight after travelling on San Francisco’s Muni/part underground whose stations can be quite dirty and unloved.
We stayed with Blair a Kiwi friend, his American wife Tara, and their children. It was a delight to walk into a quintessential American home complete with a large Christmas Tree aglow, shining through the living room window to the dark street outside. Tara had even installed a little Christmas village complete with tiny lights and a working Thomas the Tank Engine train set – very cool.
We headed out the next day to check out the main tourist sites that DC is famous for including our picture with the Whitehouse in the background. It reminds me of the time in 2003 when I visited Graceland in Memphis – both are just not as big as you imagine. The Whitehouse is surrounded by hotels and buildings, and a short way from a busy road that runs in front of it.
We had plans to do further exploring, but in late December even without snow, the wind whipped through the parks chilling us to the bone. We gave up on exploring and headed into the Smithsonian National Museum of Modern History which included original Muppet characters, a transplant of Julia Child’s actual kitchen, really old cars, and a massive American Flag…the flag which in fact inspired the National Anthem the Star Spangled Banner. It was here that my understanding of American Culture, so different to many other western nations, really started to come together. This discussion is long and meant to be had conversationally.
The rest of our exploring was done from the warmth of a car. I would really like to get back to this historic city to explore and view the monuments and buildings so entrenched and familiar in my memory from watching them on a screen, but never seen in real life.
Our final days were spent with Blair & Tara’s family. We had New Years to celebrate which turned out to be a quiet affair. We started with a raucous evening meal with our hosts and their friends before heading into town, only to discover bars set up to party, but patrons missing, probably due to the cold. That’s okay – we found the free glasses of bubbles, and borrowed a few party hats and whistles and made our own fun!
The last day of our Christmas break saw Lindsay and I wandering around Gunners lake, close to Blair & Tara’s home. It seems it would often freeze over in winter, but not this year, or at least not while we were visiting. On our return Tara introduced us to Velveeta dip. I suspect it’s the stuff of American children’s birthday parties, or for consuming when watching a big AFL game. Its a very yellow thick melted cheese, mixed with a simple tomato salsa, made for dipping nacho chips into. I feel its an acquired taste, that might stick your insides together if it had the opportunity to cool. However, some might find it a little addictive!