2003.07.16 five dollar, no holler:

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series DC 2003

Day Three: today, we decided to visit the other monuments in the Mall, and to spend some time at the Air & Space Museum (this was really my only mandatory activity for the whole trip–i wasn't about to visit D.C. without going to the Air & Space Museum).

we set out from the probably somewhere in the range of 10:30 to 11:00, and proceeded to the Mall. we made it back to the Washington Monument, then made our way towards the construction zone, avoiding touring school-children, gaggles of the elderly, and middle-aged couples walking hand in hand discussing whatever it is that middle-aged hand-in-hand type couples discuss.

one end of the lawn was boarded, roped, fenced, and otherwise closed off, but there were gateways through the fencing at the crosswalks to let onto the sidewalks that lead along the reflecting pool at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. now, if you've not been to D.C., or if you've been but have never seen the reflecting pool, let me just prepare you… it is a green festering dirty filthy mess. not nearly so "beautiful" as we may've been led to believe by the movies, photographs, and other images. that shit looks nasty, and, while i didn't walk directly along the edge of the pool, i imagine it probably stunk. it looked like it would stink. much like our society and especially our government, it looks pretty nice from far away, but once you get right up close, you can see that it's unkempt, rundown, dirty, and ugly. "reflecting" indeed.

anyway… before we made it to the Lincoln Memorial, i noticed the Korean War Veterans Memorial off to the side as we approached, so i detoured our contingent to go get a peek. i remembered ben and geoff talking about it at some point in the past, and remembered the images i'd seen from it, so i wanted to go get a real look at it. it was pretty cool, but i think this was really the point in the trip where i started wishing that i could visit these places without hundreds of other people. i couldn't "connect" with the memorial, or any of the memorials we visited, because i couldn't "disconnect" from all the people milling about.

next we went on to the Lincoln Memorial. it is huge. it was cool.

after that, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. my companions were all visibly moved by it, once we reached the other side, but once again, somehow i managed not to take it in or be effected by it. i have no immediate personal connection to that conflict, at least not through a familial loss, because though most of the male members of my extended family (who were of age) did serve in that war, they all returned.

after the Vietnam Memorial, we left the Mall and headed for the nearest Metro stop (10 blocks away or some crazy shit like that) and headed back around to the Air & Space Museum.

you've doubtless heard the old analogy of the kid in the candy store, right? well, that certainly could've been applied to me. rockets and manned space capsules and jets and… just all kinds of really cool shit.

probably my favorite of the exhibits was the Apollo moon shot exhibit, followed closely by the history of aviation exhibit. they also had the crazy ass space flight simulators or airplane simulators or whatever they were–the ones with the pneumatic chambers that shake, move, twist, and turn the little cabin that you're sitting in. i really wanted to do that, but the wait was over an hour, and we were only planning on spending 4 or so there.

the freakiest thing of the whole trip though, was when we decided to get some lunch after walking through a couple exhibits. there was a food court area in a sectioned off area of the building, and the restaurant was a combined McDonald's (ick), Boston Market, and Donato's Pizzeria. i can hardly describe the level of freakishness that this fast-food place has managed to achieve… think of a drive-through restaurant for race-car drivers, only there're no cars… think of cattle lining up to be slaughtered, and each being able to pick which particular shape of knife gets to be drawn across its throat… think of being shoved in a bright, metal & glass elevator car, going up at ridiculous speeds and having grease, meat, bread and french fries squeezed through a strainer in the ceiling above you.

ok, now think of something just a touch less freakish.

yeah. fucking packed… PACKED with people—scads, scores, gobs of people—in long lines where you first place your order with a disinterested person sitting in a bright metal chair, and then are told to go to the next person who will collect your money. then, after paying, you have to step up to the "counter" to pick up your "meal." each successive person looking like they give even less of a shit than the last, and the food you're handed, if hot, is only just barely so. hell, i'm freaking out right now just thinking about it.

so anyway, we ate the crappy food at the freaky food court, then went on back out to get some more exhibits under our belts before meeting ben & mary (who'd been sitting on a bench or in the planet-arium for most of the day).

after the Museum, we were dog tired (and still freaked out about the food court), so we went back to the hotel and crashed for a few hours, before going back out on the town for dinner.

this evening we kind of jazzed it up a bit. we walked out to this place that ben had found (we tended to leave the dining decisions to ben & mary it seemed, so we ended up eating at much more high-class establishments than i can imagine i would've picked) and checked in at the front table. there were actually two separate restaurants in the same… er… restaurant–one for the lower upper middle class, the other for the lower upper class. ben picked the one he thought was the former, and we proceeded downstairs to a nice big round table with all the accoutrements including the cloth napkins all folded and placed decoratively on the plate. we opened the fancy menus in the nice leather-bound folders, and stared aghast at the $15 asking price for a house salad. needless to say, we stared even more aghast at the $40 – $60 dollar entrees, then promptly told the waiter that there'd been a mistake and we needed to go back upstairs to the "cheap seats".

somehow, at this point, $5 for a Beam & Coke, and $15 for an entree didn't seem all that bad.

the food was good (thank god, or someone would've lost an eye or limb) and we were satisfied with our last day & night in D.C.

well, almost. sara & i decided to go back to the White House, as there was some issue of film not advancing properly in her camera the night before, and she wanted to make sure she got some night shots of the White House. we did, and we had a nice leisurely stroll through the streets of D.C., just the two of us hand-in-hand, talking about whatever it is that young hand-in-hand type couples talk about on their last night on their first vacation together.

we went back to the hotel and prepared for our early morning departure, and a day of potential chaos.

- 03:04 am :: permalink :: 3 comments
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3 Responses to “five dollar, no holler:”

Sara said:

Hmmm…Whatever indeed.

# July 16, 2003,

Hunter said:

It was dwarf pornography, wasn't it? That is what young hand-in-hand type couples talk about, isn't it?

# July 18, 2003,

m@ said:

yeah. well, y'know… that, and transvestite mime.

# July 19, 2003,