Thursday, May 28, 2009

A successful day in D.C.

After getting plenty of much needed rest, mentally and physically after yesterday's debacle, the crew was up and at 'em again this morning.

We started our journey today by heading to check out my new place of employment, The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), which is located on the National Mall here in D.C. We walked down there (took about 30 minutes, 15 of which Lisa and I had to have technically, only a 15 minute walk) and met my boss, Crystal Atwell, who is a UAMS College of Pharmacy graduate and now works for the APhA. Crystal was kind enough to give us the tour of the brand NEW building after we were "cleared" by security, including the terrace on the top floor that overlooks the Potomac River, Lincoln Memorial and you can even see the Washington Monument and over into Arlington (see picture below with Lincoln Memorial in background).
After checking on what time I should be at work on Monday and when I would be getting my ID badge that gives me "clearance" (necessary because the APhA rents out several floors of our new building to the State Department) we were on our way to the next big thing. We didn't have a plan really (in our case=NOT a good thing), just took off walking down the National Mall. We soon ran into the Albert Einstein Monument, which was HUGE!! (See below)
After stopping for a quick break, we took off again, walking past the National Academy of Sciences and Federal Reserve buildings. We then decided that getting a tour bus ticket would be the best way for us to get acquainted with where we are and where things we wanted to see were located in vicinity to us. So we bought a ticket for a "Hop-On, Hop-Off, Open Top Bus Tours," that will be good for the next 48 hours! Whew! We have lots to do! On our way to our first destination, we saw the IRS building, the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.

Our first stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Mom and Lisa wanted to see the Rotunda, AKA the big elephant below, as well as the dinosaur exhibit.
This museum was amazing!! There was so much to do and see! We wondered around in here for about 3-4 hours! There was a "Geology, Gems and Minerals" hall, so of course we had to go in there and check it out! The Hope Diamond (see pic directly below) was beautiful and so were all the other gems!!

We even found HUGE 65, almost 66, carat Alexandrite (pic below) and I learned that it comes from Chrysoberyl! This is proof that you truly do learn something new everyday!

After finishing up our tour through gems and such we decided to go get something to eat! We ate at the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is only a few blocks from the White House! On our way to eat, we passed the Treasury Department. A good friend recommended the Old Ebbitt Grill to me (thanks Clint) so we decided to try it out! It was delicious and had a great atmosphere!

Next we walked on down to our next Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of American History. The first exhibit we went to was the display of the American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what is now our National Anthem. After watching one lady get yelled out and from what I could tell, almost tackled for taking pictures in the exhibit, she was removed and we continued. Yes, there is a sign that reads bigger than day "DO NOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS." I guess reading is a very hard thing to do. Nevertheless, this display was truly inspiring! The flag was originally 30 x 42 ft, but some of it has been removed to be preserved as a keepsake (just a little part of the stripes and a star), and originally had 15 stars (but now only 14). The exhibit also showed where the flag has been since its creation, passed down through families until its donation to the Smithsonian. It was very interesting!

The next exhibit we went through was the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln was born in 1809, so this exhibit celebrates 200 years since Lincoln was born. The exhibit moved through his life, from childhood to his time as President and concluded with his assassination and death. It had very cool artifacts which included his top hat, one of his suits and some of his wife Mary's things. I did not know that after his death they drove his body all over the U.S. from Washington to where it was buried in Springfield, Illinois...totalling over 17o0 miles. Again, historical point #2 that I learned today.

We also went through the "First Ladies" exhibit to see some of the dresses that the First Ladies wore on their husband's Inauguration Day. The last exhibit we went through was "Thanks for the Memories," which displayed memorabilia from famous TV shows including Dorothy's Red Slippers from the Wizard of Oz.

Upon trying to exit the museum we learned that we didn't really know how to get out of the museum! We got so turned around and lost that we ended up by a train exhibit and took several routes that had an "Exit" sign pointing in their direction, but none provided a successful exit. We finally backtracked and made our way out of there just in time for the rain to start. It sprinkled on and off for a few minutes but then it stopped, thankfully. It is now almost 5 and the crew is getting tired, for we have been walking all day up and down the National Mall...even in circles at times, ok, most times! This would be solely due to the 2 indecisive people and myself, who has 10 weeks to explore what I want to see so would like to do what the 2 "short term visitors" want to do before Sunday...and yes, they know they are indecisive...they warned me within the first few hours they arrived in Little Rock! But, nevertheless, we are in this sightseeing adventure together, getting lost and found again, laughing the whole way! We wait for our tour bus to come pick us up and we were off to our next stop.

If you have never been to Union Station, it is a very neat and busy place! Not only does it serve as a Metro stop and Amtrak station, but it also houses many restaurants, boutiques and shops. It is a beautiful building that always has people running to and fro, but also has tourists and slow moving people like us who have maps out and luggage going every whichaway. We felt like we blended right in (today with the maps and yesterday with the luggage)! After a walk around Union Station and a drink stop, we hopped on the Metro and headed home to Foggy Bottom just as it started to sprinkle again. This time of day the Metro is packed with people getting off work, so there wasn't much room to spare today (right now I am grateful I didn't move during rush hour yesterday).

We got back to my apartment, after finding a quicker way to walk to it from the Metro stop, around 6:45 p.m. and we were beat. Sightseeing is no easy task in a BIG NEW place!

For those of you reading this and are coming to see me this summer, PLEASE have a method of attack that includes what you want to see.....which is exactly what I just finished planning and writing down for the crew's adventure tomorrow in hopes that we can cross off more of Mom and Lisa's "D.C. in 3.5 days" list.

So, your mental picture for today is: even if you think you are trying to blend in and not appear as though you are a tourist, you cannot hide from will still happen.

You will be bouncing around the Metro because you don't have much experience riding it and had to stand up because its so full, will bump into a DC native/"Metro Pro" who is quite annoyed that you just barely nudged his shoulder as the Metro threw you forward 5 feet when it stopped unexpectedly (not at an actual stop at all, just for fun I suppose) and who will look mad enough about what happened that you don't even think to ask him to lean up as you exit the Metro so you can grab whatever it was (which is still a mystery) that you dropped and he sat on during your so called "tumble" into him.

(Trust me, speaking from don't want to be that bouncy ball)

Here are some hints though: leave the map in your purse or pocket for it's a dead giveaway that you are a tourist (which gives people even more of a reason to be annoyed with you if you cross them), HAVE A PLAN, practice hanging on to something to avoid the ugly Metro drama and nominate someone as "The Decision-Maker." D.C. has been a blast the past 2 days and we can't wait to see more tomorrow!

Stay tuned......


  1. Ok I want to come see you!! when can I come?? :) Love the pic of you and Zach!

  2. Miss you friend! We need to schedule a Bonefish date for a post-birthday celebration!