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From Washington, With Love Part II

March 24, 2010

Okay as promised, I have uploaded the pictures from D.C. 🙂 It was a very good spring break holiday and an awesome time to be in D.C! . What made us want to head down south to D.C. was probably cos you can’t live in a country for 4 years and not visit the capital! Alot of things for the D.C. trip were absolutely spontaneous so it was amazing the chockful of stuff that just happened to be in D.C. the few days we were there! Let me show you in pictures:

First, we went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. I’m not particularly interested in planes, rockets and such though I’m taking an Astronomy class (which is v v v cool) but it was nice seeing the real deal of warcraft specimens!

I was there because of the Asian culture showcase – Tibetian dance and kite-making exhibits. Photo above shows a Tibetian folksinger in the midst of her song and dance. Everyone held hands and danced in a circle. The effect of the photo came out really nicely cos the lady spotted me and just stood still.

And of course Washington wouldn’t be Washington if there weren’t protests! We were lucky – we went to D.C. the day that the controversial Obama healthcare bill and immigration bills were undergoing debates in the Capitol for passing. This is Capitol Hill amidst the chaos – the protesters linked arms around the whole of Capitol and screamed at the building. Many of them traveled hours from other far-flung states like Chicago and Ohio to be represented in the protest. I remember we were trying to get directions and almost every person we met in D.C. over the weekend was from out of town. Made me realize how static our political scene in Singapore is. If we were as vocal as these folks, I wonder what would come of it?

Very creative banners.

They started marching around Capitol.

On Sunday, we went to the weekly Eastern Market. Very cool concept and especially enlightening because I was handling Flea Markets as one of my projects over my summer internship in the Tourism Board. We also had the most fabulous Kettle Korn I have ever eaten in my life in the Market. If you’re ever in D.C., you should make it a point to get your butt down to the Eastern Market and to the Kettle Korn station. I usually don’t like salty popcorn but they make it absolutely delish cos they mix the salty with the caramelized. And every corn is popped and extra-crunchy! Mm, mm good!

There was also a really cute store selling American folk art and toys, they even had a stuffed Statue of Liberty and Raggedy Ann dolls etc. Awww so cuuute ^^

It’s a huge problem to find parking in D.C. – we can circle the blocks for hours but not find a lot. And there are heck alot of fire hydrants which means lesser parking space. Definitely not as bad as NYC but you need to be really lucky to find a spot in the peak hours. We headed to the Washington memorial after finding a parking space. The thing about D.C. being the capital is that it’s culturally and historically very rich. Alot of war memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King made his “I have a dream” speech, and all the administrative buildings I have  read about in the news since I was little but never had a chance to see till now.

Above: At the fountain area around the Washington Memorial (for the Iraq War)
Below: We were there at the time of the day when some workers were loading more ‘graveyard sticks’ into the ground. I guess that means more people died in service that day.

So we were trying to get to the White House when lo and behold! Another protest! This time for the immigration policy. It was HUGE, possibly even larger than the healthcare bill protest of the day before. They were marching around the city, possibly ~8,000 people large, largely Hispanics.

Some families even dressed up in African garb.

Oh, and it was also the weekend before the Cherry Blossom festival in D.C. – I always thought that I needed to go to Japan before I could see Cherry Blossoms but nope! D.C. has them too! They are just as populous in D.C. as rain trees or angsana trees are in Singapore. Unfortunately, they only last for ~2 weeks so it was really lucky of us to be there in the 2 weeks that they blossom cos they are so fragile, they fall off very fast! They are really very pretty :D! Too bad our Singaporean climate is so humid. You must make it a point to see cherry blossoms at least once in your life!

Oh, and after the very distracting immigration protest, we finally managed to see dum-dum-dummmm – the WHITE HOUSE.

Very underwhelming. Managed to get a few shots in before some policeman came and chase the whole bunch of us away. I have another picture of the White House which looks much better but I thought this was quite funny and ironic. Anyway if you wanna see a nice picture of the White House, just go Google it lah.

Monday’s pictures are still with my friend – we went to visit the Arlington National Cemetery and the Kennedy’s graves before heading to the National Geographic Museum where the terracotta soldiers exhibit from Sichuan are making their final stop in the U.S. before heading back to China and then to Canada. The tickets were sold out though ): Thank goodness Sichuan is close to Singapore – must go there sometime.

Finally, on Tuesday, we went to the National Museum of Natural History. The last time I was in NYC over winter I didn’t manage to head down – instead, I went to the Guggenheim (bleh) and the Metropolitan (huge!). Tuesdays are free for the public to visit the Butterfly Pavilion that’s housed within the Museum itself! It’s a cocoon-shaped thing which houses loads of flowers and 500 live butterflies. Managed to capture some awesome close-up shots! 🙂

Then we went to explore the rest of the museum which housed amazing stuff like the Hope Diamond! Sheeez, I didn’t even know it was there!? It’s on loan to the D.C. Museum for a while only so like I said, we’re sooo lucky to head down to D.C. unknowingly! Gah, mind-boggling. Anyway it’s like 45-46 carats and the LARGEST diamond in the world! AHHH. And the showcase had other limited-time on loan stuff such as Napoleon’s jewelery to his wife, the 2nd biggest diamond, the largest emerald etc all from the rich people in Russia/India/some haughty-taughty part of Europe lah.

I don’t know where the Hope diamond is going next so here it is! FEAST YOUR EYES! Friggin’ dua, can.

Okay, once I get more photos I’ll upload them! ^_^

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