road trip chronicles day 14
|Quotation on Abraham Lincoln's Monument|
It was a repeat trip for all of us (if you count fetus Yoda), so we all had favorite things to see, but less than 10 hours to do it.
We started off at the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space. Like his mama, Punk is more of a history buff and is mostly interested in the genuine article - the real Sprirt of St. Louis, a genuine piece of moon rock. Kooka likes that stuff too, but really loves the experiments, and recreations. Yoda liked looking at the airplanes and demanding we put more goldfish crackers on her tray every three minutes.
|Amelia Earhart's record setting plane|
Next was a tour of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural history. The dinosaurs and bugs are always a favorite for us. We saw live tarantulas as big as our palms, centipedes that made us grateful to be heading north, and jeweled scarab beetles that are simultaneously fascinating and disgusting.
|Yoda shares a "snack" with a Neanderthal. She said they were roasting marshmallows. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was probably a lizard.|
We stopped in to peek at the Hope Diamond again, which always elicits the same response. This time it was Punk, "WOW! That was terribly disappointing."
|Hope diamond never fails to disappoint.|
But the meteorites always make up for it as we imagine a giant hunk of space metal crashing through the roof of some completely unoccupied building that could never possibly be our house.
|A chunk from a 30,000 ton meteorite|
Further down the national mall (the large outdoor green space that connects several monuments, museums and memorials), is the Smithsonian museum of American History.
We love pretending to be the president, checking out the White House china (and passing brutal and copious judgement on the tastes of the owners - Clinton's, both Rooseveldt's and Reagan's win hands down), wading in the fountain outside, gazing at the real Star Spangled Banner and looking at all of the old protest signs.
"These aren't old," says Punk.
"Yes they are," I tell him.
"Great," he says, "forty years later and we're still arguing about the same crap."
But despite all of the deep history in this place, the real draw for us is always much more shallow. Yeah, we know we can see the genius of Henry Ford, read about the history of cardiology, and marvel at the Philadelphia warship, but who has time for that when there are ruby slippers to be examined, Kermit the Frog voices to be imitated and Harry Potter's robe to be gaped at.
|Better be GRIFFYNDOR!|
Yeah -THE Harry Potter's robe. Griffyndor crest and all -which we do realize has as much business being in the American history museum as wontons in an Italian restaurant. Like we cared!!!! The magic of Jim Henson, OZ, and Hogwarts all in one place is the real reason we love this museum.
We headed to Chinatown for dinner. Chinatown Express is our favorite little joint in D.C. We order sesamee chicken, chow fun, dumplings, egg rolls and hot tea.
|Chinatown for dinner!|
We decided to dine outside tonight, and the conversation went like this:
Rico: We should eat outside.
Me: OK, but why?
Rico: Just in case we run into somebody we know.
Me: What?!?! Who do you think we know in DC?
Not ten seconds later. . .
Unreal! Two of my most favorite Shattuck students walk by (Nicole and Adrianna)They both go to GW and were heading to the Beyonce' concert they saw us sitting outside. I was so happy to see them. They both just turned out to be adorable, happy intelligent people and it was wonderful to see them.
It was almost eight o'clock when we decided to take an evening stroll past the White House. Kooka asked which one of my kids would be most likely to live there. I suspect she already knew the answer. Yoda is by far too bossy, Punk couldn't handle the first three minutes of a negative campaign. Still she seemed rather pleased when I confessed that she was our best hope.
Even though Thomas Jefferson is one of our favorite presidents, and by far our favorite memorial, we decided to visit Abe Lincoln before we left for Maryland. It was rather inspiring after visiting his boyhood home last week. He was just a guy, just a regular kid, and he changed the face of the world. We stood on the steps of the monument for a moment just taking it all in. It was Punk who summed it up best.
"Wow," he said, "Just think of where I'm standing. I'm in the exact same spot where Martin Luther King Junior stood." We all nodded. And he is completely serious when he says, "and Forrest Gump, and Ben Stiller. All of the greats."
And now us.