As I was planning for this trip a few months back there was a new airline on the market offering pretty decent fares, so I called up Virgin America on the good old internet and was wow’ed by the pretty pictures and fancy entertainment options. The price was right too so I decided to go with the unknown. Good choice that was. I had a great experience on both legs of the journey and would gladly choose them again in the future…actually, I already have my next flight to D.C. in June booked with them – at $270 RT it was not a difficult decision to make.
I arrived on Thursday morning and picked up my car with Enterprise. I can safely say that by now I’ve used every car rental option at Dulles Airport and Enterprise was heads above the rest. So very attentive and fast. Again, I’ll be booking with them on my next trip in June as well.
Once I settled at the place I was staying on Thursday morning I passed out on the comfy air mattress and set my alarm for noon. Then noon-thirty. Then 1pm. Then 1:30pm. Then I said “screw it” and decided I needed sleep more than anything else. I eventually woke up and danced a bit that evening, effectively starting the LX portion of the weekend.
The weather forecast for the weekend claimed that it would be raining EVERYDAY so when I woke up on Friday and saw that it was “just cloudy” I held on to my glimmer of hope for a decent day of no rain. I met up with a fellow dancer from L.A. who was experiencing his first time in D.C. and we decided to explore the city together. My main goal was to go to the International Spy Museum. I sprung for the combined Operation Spy and Museum ticket for the both of us and we had a blast! Operation Spy is an hour long live action interactive game where you attempt to “find a missing nuclear trigger before it gets into the wrong hands”. Limited to 15 people max, the outcome of the game depends largely on the combined efforts of your group in surveillance and other various spy activities. Afterwards we sped through the Museum portion and it still took an hour – there’s so much stuff exhibited that you need either a really long attention span or to go back a few times and it’s definitely worth the price of admission.
Prior to the Spy Museum we had to kill a half hour and the guard suggested we go over to the newly renovated National Portrait Gallery. Since we didn’t have much time to spend there we were really only able to check out one exhibit, RECOGNIZE! which is a celebration of Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture. Graffiti from artists Tim Conlon & Dave Hupp lined the walls of the main corridor while the interior galleries showed Photography from David Scheinbaum, Paintings from Kehinde Wiley, Film from Jeffrey Pinder and Poetry and Installation from Nikki Giovanni and Shinique Smith. It was an awesome exhibit and Marshall was slightly stunned (and very excited) to see Hip Hop Culture recognized in a Smithsonian Institution. Mad props to the curators. If you find yourself in D.C. between now and October 26th definitely go check it out.
Washington Monument. We then hiked from there to the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. I have many favorites when it comes to the Memorials but the Korean War Memorial at night is definitely up there. In a word, amazing.
National Mall (D.C.’s large grassy knoll, not an actual mall) and walk around and reflect on…life. First stop was Freedom Plaza where I said a quick “hi” to some friends who were starting to congregate for the afternoon dance, then I headed over to the Mall and decided to walk towards the Capitol since I had already walked the opposite direction the previous evening. Along the way I spotted kids flying kites, teenagers playing an impromptu game of kickball and a somewhat organized rugby game amongst college kids. My travels led me all the way down to the western edge of the Capitol then back up Pennsylvania Avenue to Freedom Plaza. In total it was about a 2 1/2 hour walk on a beautiful day.
[the requisite cherry blossom and art shot]
Sunday was the day the clouds came and the threat of rain was the greatest however that didn’t stop a group of us from meeting at Eastern Market for lunch. Afterwards I headed to the airport for my trip back to L.A. and am eagerly awaiting for June when I shall return for another visit – one that will include my 20 year high school reunion and a trip to the new ballpark to see the Nationals beat up on the Giants!
A full set of Flickr pics here.