July 27, 2009

DC in 72 Hours

This past four days could be termed "how to do DC in 72 hours". Rene and I had a whirlwind trip, fully facilitated by my generous siblings who transported us and our luggage all around the District. Every day was packed with adventure and thankfully the weather was mostly cooperative.

We arrived in DC late on Thursday evening, delayed in the air because of thunderstorms over the airport. My sister Marlene waited patiently for us at the arrivals gate. Friday morning we were ambitiously up at 7am (4am California time) to get to the Hart Senate Building by 9am to pickup House and Senate tour tickets. Once again Marlene was our driver. We sauntered into Senator Lieberman's offices and asked if we could get a private tour with one of their interns, even though we didn't have a reservation. Sherry, the intern at the desk, suggested that we return at 2pm but she couldn't guarantee a tour. When we did return at 2pm there were two interns ready to give us a private tour. How's that for service?

After our early morning arrival at the Hart building we headed over to Teaism to meet up with my folks and cousin Tracey for breakfast. My parents were in town for a week babysitting grandson Sam-a-liscious. It was a quick cross-over visit but we managed to do some quick catching up.

Marlene, Rene and I then headed over to the National Gallery of Art west building to check out the American art and architecture. Then back we went to the Hart Senate Building for the House and Senate tour. Our two-on-two tour lasted two and a half hours. The interns Alex and Aaron were thorough in their details of architectural and historical information. It was an amazing afternoon.

In the evening we met up with Matt, Rachel and baby Sam for Jazz in the Sculpture Garden on the Mall. Unfortunately I had about one pitcher of sangria too much so the evening became quite blurry. Oh yes, summer in the city.

Saturday we managed to get out of bed at 10am. So much for an early start. Once again the sibs drove us to our destination. Rene and I took the metro into DC and visited the Renwick and Corcoran Galleries. Then we worked our way to the newly rebuilt Eastern Market to pick up sweet desserts for our BBQ dinner back at Matt and Rachel's in Maryland. The evening was spent cooking, chatting and eating.

Sunday we again got up at 10am and got a ride to the Metro. Unlike the previous two days which were mild for DC summers, Sunday was significantly more hot and humid, although nothing like Houston. We took the metro to Arlington National Cemetery where we witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Extremely impressive ceremony. At the height of our dehydration we took a cab into Alexandria, VA, wandered the streets for historic plaques and then found a fantastic seafood restaurant for brunch. With our flight leaving in three hours we met up with Marlene and Mandeep via Metro in Rosslyn. They generously took us back to the airport where we sat for three hours waiting for our delayed flight. Once in the air we had 36 channels of cable television to distract us on JetBlue as we returned to Oakland.