Friday, January 23, 2009

Back Home

The flights back from DC were crowded, but went very smoothly and on time.
E got a pin from a flight attendent that said "I was there - Inauguration 2009".

We saw an historic event and are glad we made the trip.

Here are a two photos in the Corcoran Museum, and a view of Washington DC from the air as we departed.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the day after

3:30 p.m.

Watched the Parade yesterday in a neighborhood hotel lobby. Big pride... continued to feel very patriotic.
Lots of famous people everywhere.

Tried to make it to the MeatBall on Capitol Hill last night - couldn't get a cab to take us over there. Two different cabbies said getting across town was ridiculous and they didn't want to do it - too much traffic and too many street/bridge closures. (We did hear one tuxedoed guy telling the bellman at a hotel to tell the next taxi that he'd pay $100. to get to his destination - which is a lot since DC covers a relatively small area.)
We didn't feel like dealing with the crowds on the Metro.
Were bummed at first but then thought it would be nice to drink the excellent bottle of wine that we'd bought to bring with us to the party. Settled back into the apartment and enjoyed the street scenes below. Many motorcades as important people wisked around to parties and balls.

Wednesday (today) - Even though we have both been to DC before, we decided to play tourists and headed back down to the White House area. Lots of people had the same idea - everyone walking around snapping pictures.
We watched the crews dismantling the official reviewing stand (thick, thick glass) then walked along the back of the White House for more pics.
Security blocked our way and told everyone to back off the sidewalks - they were closing for a "little while" and would open again in "a bit".
Hung back, heard the sirens and got the best glimpse of President Obama as he returned to the White House from some meeting or another.
We all screamed (he is a rock star), he turned and waved, and we all had a perfect serendipity moment of being in the right place at the right time.
R had a nice conversation with a DC/White House Policeman - bike detail. They talked the virtues/vices of a certain kind of tires. Cool conversation.
Continued on to the Corcoran Museum for the Richard Avedon "Portraits of Power" exhibit - excellent.
Back to the apartment for lunch.
We're about to head out again to hunt for Memorabilia.
Dinner reservations tonight at Obelisk - a great restaurant a couple of blocks away.
Probably won't post again until we return home on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

6 a.m.


Walked around Dupont Circle a bit last night – everyone was out and doing the same. Most like us, but some tuxedos and ball gowns here and there.

Slept in fits and starts (except for R who was out like a light) – crowds outside milling all night long!

Already this morning one motorcade going up to the Naval Obsevatory (to pick up Cheney?) Huge but calm security presence.

We're hopeful today that we will be within viewing distance of a JumboTron, but are OK if not. This event permeates everything, so "just being" with the crowds is electric and satisfying.

Frigid temps, so my clothes for today:

the usual underwear

2 prs. long underwear bottoms

fleece pants

wind/rain pant shell

2 capilene underwear tops

cashmere sweater

fleece zip top

GorTex jacket w/hood

double layer hiking socks

hiking boots

fleece tie hat

neck muffler


glove liners

GorTex mittens

2 p.m.

Just back from the event of the year (Decade? Generation? Century?)

We were out and walking towards the Mall by 7:30 a.m. Us and millions of our closest friends. Unbelieveably organized. Some confusion among the police we asked as to where we could access the Mall, but once that was sorted out, we sailed into the Mall.

Thousands of red-hatted volunteers greeting us all with cheery "Good Morning"s and "What a great day!"s. We were surprised at first that the Mall wasn't more crowded. We walked from the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial towards the Capitol. Liked the vantage at The Washington Monument (a couple of JumboTrons), but thought we'd try to get closer. At the edge of the southeast slope of the Washington Monument we were turned back (along with millions of our closest friends) as the Mall from there to the Capitol was already full. At 8 a.m. In 20 degree weather.

So, back up the slope we went and stayed put there (with our million closest friends) and enjoyed a re-broadcast on the JumboTrons of the We Are One concert from Sunday.

Available space was soon nil and the Inauguration began.

Buses took the ticketed guests past us and up to the Capitol. Police presence in cars and SUVs and on motorcycles, bikes and horses. Nat'l Guard and Army guys/gals everywhere. Everyone bundled up with facewarmers. K9 dogs and their masters also roaming around.

Crowd was always courteous and always happy. No pushing or shoving. Lots of laughter and happiness.

Huge, spontaneous rounds of applause from the crowds for Teddy Kennedy, the Gores, Clintons and Carters. (Not so much for Bush/Cheney/the Congress/the SupremeCourt Justices.)

Bigger rounds of applause again for Malia and Sasha and Michelle. Thunderous, I mean thunderous for Obama.

All were rapt during his speech and appropriately moved.

All aware that the world was watching and whenever O made reference to our greatness and/or freedom and/or determination the crowds went wild.

Much hugging and some tears.

A sea change in our lives.

Walked back (with those millions of friends again) to Kris's apartment in Dupont Circle.

Passed a line of buses easily 50 buses long – and that was just on the street we were on – many other buses on many other streets.

Bobby (airport driver) said they were parking them at the Zoo.

Hugely thankful to be so close and able to peal off the many layers and have a beer.

We're going to take a bit of a break, re-group and find a bar/coffee shop to watch the Parade in.

It's a great day to be an American.

Sorry our posts are so random - the wireless is out in the building where we're staying (figures).

We're at the mercy of the Residence Inn and Starbucks down the street.

More tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

a day of travel

Monday was our day of flying into DC, up at 3:30AM.

We had a great couple of flights.

This is a photo of the snow in the Sierras.

Monument Valley as we fly east

Happy on the plane - ready to land in DC.
Flight was full from Dallas to DC. Extra security at the Dallas gate for the DC flight. R and I were strip searched and the TSA people said we looked really great for our age! (Just kidding, but there was extra security.)

Driver (Bobby) from the airport said people have been up all night everywhere out in the streets - festive atmosphere.

E's niece, Krissy's, excellent apartment - ours for 4 days. One block off Dupont Circle. When we arrived, there was a large group in the Circle laughing, thankful for the end to Bush, and generally carrying on.

Time for the first of many toasts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

... getting there is half the fun

We are getting ready to fly to DC and hope our flight is a quick one. Shown here is the retired SR71 from our visit to the Air and Space Museum in May 2008. The SR71 holds the speed record from Los Angeles to Washington with an average speed of over 2100 miles per hour.

We need to improve on the past...
and in order to erase some of the things that have happened, we need a powerful agent for change.

(photo: Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden)