Day 11 – Graves and statues in Washington DC, and a space museum

• Started the day with a cheery visit to the Arlington Cemetery. It’s a beautiful location, but incredibly sad at how many lives have been lost and that’s just the people on one side of the fight. So many young dudes who barely made a start in their life. The saddest part, IMO, is that they still do burials 6 days a week right now and will run out of space by 2035.

• The changing of the guard is so much pomp that it’s almost slapstick, but it’s obviously important to them and they take it very seriously. 21 steps, 21 seconds of facing one direction, 21 another. Click the heels and stamp each step and all that business.

• Then it was off to the National Mall in Washington DC. This is not some Chermside Westfield’s type mall, this is some whopping great block of public land that’s chock full of memorials and statues and other patriotic stuff.

• Lots more war memorials in this area. One thing about America is that they sure do enjoy participating in wars. They’re going to run out of room for memorials as well as places to bury people at this rate.

• If you like giant statues of people, this is the place to go. Abraham Lincoln (who I believe hunted vampires), Thomas Jefferson (who was in a band about airplanes), and Martin Luther King (who had a dream) are all here on a large scale. It’s all very impressive, and on top of those giant units there’s all manner of stone eagles and columns and marble just all over the shop. You could easily spend a week here I reckon.

• While we were in the area we stopped in to see if Mr Biden was home. Security said he wasn’t but left a message for us. Worst part of the day was having a bomb sniffer dog wandering around in the crowd, and we weren’t allowed to pat it 🥲

• Half the place was under construction, but apparently it’s always like that. They literally just temporarily remove the scaffolds when big events like inaugurations are on, then it all goes back up again. Good work if you’re a stone working guy, you’ll do your whole career here and never be out of work.

• Then it was off to the air and space museum, where I had a lovely time looking at planes and rockets and what not. Erin was moping around about it being boring which it definitely wasn’t. On the way out (because someone was bored that meant we both had to leave), we passed another couple where the husband was saying how awesome it was and the wife was significantly less enthusiastic, and then another couple coming in had the husband saying “omg look at how much cool stuff there is!” and the wife was all “oh… yeah”. Starting to see a theme with that place. Another place you could spend a lot more time at, unless you’re there with your wife in which case you can’t.

• The Cray supercomputer used back in the day was refrigerant cooled. I grabbed the details of the TX and EPR just in case they ever want to commission it again. I let them know I’ve got plenty of R22 if they need to fire it back up.

• Finally, it was back to NYC to be dropped off next to Times Square at about 8pm. A brisk 20-something minute walk through the middle of NYC at peak pedestrian time while wheeling our luggage was fun, but taking a taxi/uber is literally slower than walking through the city itself. Didn’t take any photos of the busiest area cause I was too busy piloting my bag of socks and underpants past the colourful characters of NYC, but once we got a few blocks out everything calmed down and it was actually very peaceful.

• Found a pub across the road from our hotel which is basically underground and accessed via a laneway between driveways that looks like access to an outdoor toilet, but once inside it was the cosiest little bar ever that had like a 4 table restaurant attached. I had scotch eggs, and it was delicious! If I could sum the joint up in one phrase it would definitely be “hidden gem”.


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