Thursday, September 29, 2011

(Part of) D.C. for a Day

A 20-hour road trip isn't complete without another 2+ hour drive south to explore none other than the nation's capitol, Washington, D.C.  After a little debating on Friday night about whether or not we should hit up Baltimore or D.C., we decided to cut loose and go all out (I know, risk-takers right?) and make the trek to D.C. on Saturday morning.

Navigating the Metro...the more I ride, the more I think I need to live in a city that has a Metro system!
Waiting for the D.C. Metro at the Pentagon City station...
 Mom--(obviously excited) she would travel, explore, and sightsee 24-hours a day if she could.  Dad--(smiling nicely for the camera) the other 'first-time D.C. tourist' in the group (I was the other).  You can just barely see Mick's head and Lori's profile behind them (both patiently waiting for the train to arrive).

They actually found a couple of seats on the train...which wouldn't be the case later in the day
 when we were packed nuts-to-butts like sardines in a can!
 This was the view at the top of the escalator when we arrived at Smithsonian Station at the center of the National Mall...really!?!?! Apparently I should have known (or should have checked) that the National Book Festival was in town.  Seriously.  White circus tents and people with books EVERYWHERE we looked; I couldn't even see the Mall to know what it's supposed to look like!

Bet all of the 'bookies' were pretty excited that the rain held off...grey skies and clouds all day, but the books stayed dry, woohoo (no wet, musty, old book smell)!
 It's a bit difficult to appease six grown adults entirely by sight-seeing as a group, so we decided to split up and do-as-we-pleased for a lightning-fast 5 hour tour of D.C., since we still wanted to hit up Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon before calling it quits for the day.

Outside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Aaron Vanjoske, this one's for you. To go along with Philly's "don't block the box" and Intercourse Brewing Co.
Yes, my idea...I made him pose for this one.
I'm pretty sure Dad could have spent hours in here!
I probably could have too, but I'll have to save it for another trip :)
One of my must-see stops was the Smithsonian's NMAI--National Museum of the American Indian.  Again, we knowingly steamrolled through the facility, but it's one of those places that I'll definitely explore more in-depth on another visit.  The museum opened back in 2004, amidst a huge, week long celebration and festivities.  We really, really debated trying to get to D.C. for the grand-opening, just for the amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience it would have been.  That clearly didn't happen, so this trip was our first chance to see what the place is all about.

If you're at all interested, there was a lot of significant thought, consulting, and unique consideration that went into the design and construction of the building and the grounds itself.  Native-designed.  Native-minded. Native-friendly. The NMAI website gives an overview of some of the unique features, pretty interesting to read.

Little miss popular, posing with her cell phone ;)
The buildings here are massive...

Of the little we saw, the museum has a really neat Contemporary Lives and Identities exhibit, detailing the ordinary and extraordinary everyday lives of modern, 21st century Native peoples.  There was also an extensive collection of beadwork...nothing I'll ever be attempting, LOL!

Some pretty powerful photos...
...and some pretty powerful words, highlighting and celebrating the differences
of the people and the places that make this world more interesting.
Whoever you are, celebrate who you are. 
Unreal.  This was actually in a backlit display and although you can't see the detail in the photo, this was beaded,
the stars incorporate all of the states and within each one of the stripes, tone-on-tone, are the names of different tribal nations. 
I'm no professional photographer, so I found a better photo online that shows the flag with the lighting element preserved, so you can see just how cool this really was.
More information on the piece from the NMAI Collection Search.

Still lots more to share, but I think it's time for a break...stay tuned!  I'm pretty sure I had over 1200 photos taken that day.  After deleting some of the really bad ones and weeding out the duplicates, we settled on somewhere between 800-900 that are now loaded onto my MacBook.  I think I'm getting almost as tired writing about the day as I was from actually walking around the entire city (well, at least the part we tackled that day)!

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