United States of America · 1 Days · 50 Moments · April 2015

Washington, D.C.

5 April 2015

The same view, at night, looks a lot better. I'd rather be seeing the Washington skyline, or at least one of the monuments but I guess that seeing this is better than looking at a brick wall. This is the first shot in my "Room with a View" series. Now, every time we stay at a hotel, I like to get a shot of what we can see out the window. Some shots are more interesting than others but it's a nice collection to work on. I love adding new shots to that set! It's been a long and busy day and it's now time for bed. The trip report continues tomorrow. Good night!
After a not so satisfying dinner, we headed back to our hotel. We're​ spending tonight at the Courtyard Marriott DC and plan on going to the Liaison for the rest of our stay in Washington. Here's a view out our window, taken earlier in the day when we first arrived. It's not very impressive. I can see all the train tracks going into Union Station and what looks like a highway but no much of anything else.
We ate dinner at Bojangles Famous Chicken and Biscuits at the food court in Union Station. This was a place Kathy's been wanting to try for a while because she'd heard that it was very good. Unfortunately, now that she had it, she didn't care for it at all. I thought it was okay but Kathy said the chicken didn't seem to have any taste to it. Everything was just too bland plus, to her, it tasted like chicken that was from hours ago and just heated up. I felt bad that this place disappointed her but at least she got to try it. She said she wouldn't come back here again. She didn't even like their fries.
We rode the Metro over to Union Station, the biggest Metro station I've seen so far. I like Union Station a lot. It reminds me of Grand Central Terminal in New York but on a smaller scale. The trains here seem to run very frequently and they are not very crowded at all. I don't know if we're just very lucky but, so far, we've gotten seats every time. I hope that this streak keeps going.
This is the marker for the Metro in Washington DC. One of these pole-like things is outside of every Metro station. I suppose that it's because I'm more used to them but I prefer the subway markers we have in New York City. These are okay though. I like how clearly the name of the station is displayed.
I can't believe that this is the entrance to a Metro station! It's just too beautiful! I'm positive this building is also sort of government offices but it looks so impressive as we're walking to our train.
Here's a closer look at some of the architectural details of Federal Triangle. I love the classic design of this place!
This, believe it or not, is where the subway, or Metro, as it's called here, had it's station. This is Federal Triangle, right behind the National Museum of Natural History. We ended up using this Metro station several times while we were in Washington.
I really enjoyed myself in this museum but I saw just about everything so quickly. I expected a museum like this to be a lot bigger, at least on the scale of our Natural History Museum in New York. Now that's an amazing place! We're going to come back here again though. We didn't get to see the butterflies because the museum was closing soon. Both of really want to see that exhibit. From​ everything I've seen in this museum, I'd say this big elephant was my favorite. He really grabs your attention the moment you walk in.
The hall of ocean life was very nice but not quite as extensive as I would have liked. I will say that for the space they had to work with, it was jam packed with exhibits. I don't know why a museum as important as this is not given more space. This place should be, minimally, 4 or 5 times the size it currently is. I'd love to see this museum being expanded one day.
The National Museum of Natural History has some very good displays for cavemen and primitive people. It shows very extensive information on the development of man. These are some cave paintings. It's surprising that, even so long ago, the concept of art and the need for expression existed. It's so interesting!
One thing I really liked about this museum is that most things to see are right out in the open rather than behind glass, making it much easier to take pictures. The lighting here is much better, too. The Museum of Natural History in New York City tends to be very dimly lit and gloomy. I'm not sure why they keep it that way but, since tripods are not permitted, getting good shots can be a real challenge.
This is a really great museum! It's a lot like the Museum of Natural History in New York City but it's a lot smaller. Oddly enough, it looks very big from the outside but once your inside you can see everything in maybe about an hour or two. To see everything in New York's Museum of Natural History it would easily take several days. I've seen everything there, but it took me a long time, and many visits, to do it.
Our next stop was the National Museum of Natural History. Of all the museums in Washington, and there's a lot, this one was my favorite. I usually prefer my shots with no people in them, unless it adds something to the picture, but it this case it was unavoidable.
Here's another shot that's getting creative. I don't know why more people don't try things like this and experiment more with their camera. The days of buying film and paying for developing are long gone. All it costs you is your time. If you don't like the shot, delete it and try again. At least make an effort!
Playing around with exposure for some dramatic looking shots. It's amazing how much lighting can create moods and change a photo so much!
All around the monument are these American flags. There are 50 of them in all, one for each state. They look great blowing in the breeze!
We had a great time at the Washington Monument and going up to the top was great! Just seeing the monument itself was very impressive but being able to go inside the monument and enjoy those amazing views was fantastic! I'm really glad we contacted our congresswoman to get those tickets!
A last look at Washington DC and the bay. It's so beautiful from up here!
The Capitol Building looks terrible with all that construction going on. I know the buildings have to be maintained but why does it have to be done while I'm here? This must be a really big project. That scaffolding has been up for nearly a year already. I'm told the job won't be completed until the presidential inauguration in January 2017.
Inside the top of the Washington Monument looks a bit disappointing. It seems almost like a construction project that's not quite finished. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but something nicer than this. This is taken while standing in the center of the monument and looking straight up. Never forget to look up. You can see a lot of interesting things and get new perspectives in pictures.
Zooming in on the White House. We're going there soon!
Here's a peek out of another window, looking at the White House and the rest of Washington beyond that. Such great views!
Another windows view, this time of the Lincoln Memorial. I'd like to see this place closer.
A closer look at the Jefferson memorial. I want to visit this place, too!
Wow! The view from up here is amazing! I just wish it was a bit easier to see out from up here. The windows are so tiny and the glass is very thick and scratched up. I'm just glad that it's not too crowded or else there would be a line to look out the window.
Here we go! We're getting on the elevator to take us to the top of the Washington Monument! I'm glad it's an elevator rather than stairs! Climbing up that high would probably finish me off for the rest of the day! Going down would be easier, since you're going with gravity but, still, I wouldn't want to do it!
The windows at the top of the Washington Post look so tiny! Thanks to our congresswoman Grace Meng, we got passes to go to the top of the monument! I don't think she did anything, personally, to get us these tickets though. I'm sure it's her staff of assistants and aides but, still, I'm glad we got them. Thanks, Grace!
This Washington Monument, made of granite, marble and bluestone gneiss, is both the world's tallest stone structure and also the world's tallest obelisk, standing at 554 feet and 8 inches.
This is our first look at one of the monuments, in this case the Washington Monument. We're still a block or two away but it still dominates the skyline. I can't wait to see this up close!
Washington has so many interesting architectural details, like this, all over the city. Make sure to keep your eyes open or you'll miss it!
Kathy was feeling chilly while walking around in Washington so she bought this hat from a street vendor across the street from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The cost was $7, which was a fair price but Kathy still tried to bargain with him to get the price down a bit. The seller was firm though. I offered to buy the hat for her but she still thought she could get it cheaper. She checked out a few other vendors on the same street but couldn't find anything as well made. Finally, Kathy was feeling cold enough to give in and pay the $7. It was a very well made hat and Kathy still has it, and uses it almost every day.
This is the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, right around the corner from the White House. I don't think the general public is allowed in, since it has nothing to do with tourism, so far as I know. I really do love this architecture though!
They were protesting about Saudi Arabia pushing Yemen around. Why would they be protesting about that in the United States? Do they really think any Americans care about that? I think it's terrible that many of them brought their kids with them. Children shouldn't be made to be out protesting. I'm sure they don't even understand what they're doing. Just let kids be kids! Don't make them get involved in politics at that young age.
There were a bunch of people protesting outside of the White House while we were there. I'm guessing this happens all the time because nobody was even paying any attention to them. Such a waste of time! They should be at work rather than out in the street trying to make trouble!
The security around this area is crazy! You can't even get near the gate because the gate has another gate in front of it. There are lots is secret service men stationed around the gates, too. Most of them are big angry looking black guys. Without our tickets for the tour to get us inside, this is the closest we would have gotten to the White House.
A few more blocks of walking brought us right up to the White House. We have a tour of the White House booked for us by our congresswoman, Grace Meng. We're not going on the tour today, but it's good to know how to get here. We don't want to be late! I think getting into the White House is one of the hottest tickets in town!
Kathy couldn't find anything she wanted in Forever 21. There weren't many stores around this area since it seemed to be more of a business district. I hope she's able to find herself a hot soon. I'm surprised that she even needs it. We expected it to be warmer as we went south. Instead, it's colder here than it was in New York! Here's one last look at this fantastic building.
This is the same building. It's really colorful and eye-catching. Currently, it's a Forever 21 store. Kathy went inside to try to find a hat since she was getting cold. I was happy to stay outside and shoot this building.
I'm loving all the unique architecture in Washington! This is details of a building we passed on the way to see the White House.
A few blocks away from Chinatown we passed the National Portrait Museum. I've seen this sort of museum before, in other cities, and always found it rather odd. An entire museum devoted to only portraits? It's kind of overkill to me, having so much emphasis on a single subject. I've never gone into one of these sort of museums yet. While traveling, my time is limited and I think there are a lot of other museums that I'd much rather see.
After a good lunch at Fuddruckers, we were ready to leave this so-called Chinatown and see more of the city. I'm glad we were able to come here in the afternoon. From what I understand, this area can be kind of sketchy at night.
It was right near this arch that we saw some guy yelling at his kid who couldn't have been more than three or four years old. The child was crying about something, probably because of the parent, and the guy was yelling at him to "knock off that crying and stop acting like such a little jerk". Of course, that just made the kid cry harder, making the father become even more abusive. Such a terrible circle. It's just awful how some people treat their children. It makes me very sad to see things like that. The worst of it is, if they're here on vacation, like we are, that abusive episode is what the kid is going to remember the most on his trip to Washington.
We checked out the menus of the few Chinese restaurants on the street but nothing looked very appealing. Kathy was watching this place make food and said that it didn't look like real Chinese food at all and that she didn't really want to eat here any more because it didn't look good. We ended up eating lunch in Chinatown but at Fuddruckers. They used to have that restaurant here in New York but not for years. It was great to have a chance to try them again.
Here's a closer look at that Chinese arch. Known as Friendship Archway, it was constructed in 1986 just east of 7th and H Streets NW, and it's said to be the largest in the world at the time when it was constructed. 
It's Chinatown! Or is it? Aside from this arch, there's not very much at all to indicate that this might be Washington's Chinatown. I really expected better from our nation's capital. Such a letdown!
Since it was now around lunch time, the first place we went to in Washington was Chinatown. Such a disappointment! Washington DC has, without a doubt, the worst Chinatown we've ever been to. What you see in this photo is the entire Chinatown. I don't think it's even a big enough area to even be given a name!
When we got out of the Amtrak train in Washington's Union Station, this was one of our first impressions of Washington DC. The architecture of their train stations is very distinctive and unique but I'm not sure it's really right for the city. This sort of a look reminds me of a very oppressive totalitarian government. Is that really the look our capitol wants to give to the world? I've brightened up this shot a lot too. While you're in the station, it's very gloomy and dark, adding even more to that oppressive feeling.
It was very nice being able to relax and watch America passing by as we rode the rails. I didn't expect to see so much poverty though. It makes sense, I suppose. The big cities are too crowded to allow trains passing through, the upper class neighborhoods don't want to deal with the noise and urbanization, which means the only other way to go is through the lower class neighborhoods. It's not really fair but, sadly, it's how the world works.
We actually took two trips to Washington DC but since they are so close together, I'm going to merge them into one travelogue rather than have two nearly identical ones. The reason for two trips so close together will be explained later. Just to keep the dates organized here, I'll use only dates from our first trip. We traveled to Washington, on both trips, on Amtrak. This was our first time traveling by train, something that we've always wanted to try but just never got around to. Now, I can cross a train trip off of my bucket list.