Monday, January 16, 2012

3 weirdos, Abe Lincoln the Pentagon and some space stuff!!

So today I continued my journey south, down the East coast. I left Philadelphia after a couple of nice days there and got the Greyhound to Washington DC. However, today was a day for meeting weird people. Here’s what happened......

1st weirdo. There was an old couple on the bus behind me. An African American woman and her husband. She talked constantly, just a little too loud and he spoke so quietly, so as you could hardly hear him. Except when he said to her that he wanted to sleep. She kept talking. But I couldn’t understand a word she said for example if she said that same sentence 'I couldn’t understand a word she said', it would have sounded like this  - 'huuuuaaahcuuuaaaauuuntaa aaaawwwuurrrrssshhheeee huh huh huh' . (She added at least three sccreeching huh's to every noise that came out of the hole in her face. Then she would start again with some other load of shite and her hubby would once again say he wanted to sleep. 

2nd weirdo. On arrival in the Hostel here in Washington. I went up to my room and met a nice dude who said hello and asked where I was from. He was cool, but the room stunk like really nasty bad feet and then I nearly shit myself, when the pile of blankets on the bed under mine moved and an old man with long grey hair appeared.
He was the smell.
He then grunted something about having flu last week and being poisoned at the moment. He warned me about something (I didn’t understand) and I’m sure he thought that someone was trying to kill him. I went back downstairs and changed rooms. I haven’t met my new roomies yet.

3rd Weirdo. After wandering around Washington DC for an hour. I came across a Mcdonalds. I haven’t had one for a few days so sat down to a big-mac. After a minute, a down and out man sat down opposite me at the table and started to ask, 'Have you seen Billy?', I replied I didn’t know Billy and continued to eat. He then asked if I had any change. I told him I had put my change into the charity box at the counter. A Security guard came over and asked if he was disturbing me - I said no and continued to eat (You never know when you will meet these people again) He then moved to another, empty table and pulled a wad of dollars out of his pocket. He had at least 10 notes and I’m sure that there were some $5notes in there. Cheeky bastard probably had more money in there than I had!! I’m glad I didn’t give him any money!!

It had been a long day and so I had a good hot shower and headed to bed. Tomorrow, I’m planning to explore Washington a little more.

Its now Saturday evening and its been another long day!! I started off by climbing to the top of the Old Post Office for a great view over Washington, then after a quick look at the FBI building, I found myself at Capitol Hill, where the massive domed roof of The Capitol Building looms over the mall leading 2 miles down to Abraham Lincoln s Memorial. I spent the next couple of hours walking the mall, taking in all of all the memorials – Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and the Vietnam memorial, all before I made it to Abe Lincoln and the best of the lot. I really enjoyed the afternoons walk, even though it was bitterly cold again. Of course the fact that United had won 3-0 this morning (I watched that before my tour, in a local Irish bar) helped a lot and kept me smiling.

It was a long cold walk though, so after a big meatball sandwich it was time to warm up in the hostel and go through all the photos from the day. If you look on Youtube too, you will see the Jump shot videos from today too. The Capitol building wasn’t a problem, but at the White House, there was police and security everywhere. You can see me tentatively walking up to jump off a fence and then having to turn around as an agent starts to stare at me off camera.

Arriving in Washington DC

Capitol Building (They spell it like that!)

Capitol Building close up

What the mall should look like....

What it actually looks like!!

With Abe Lincoln... awesome place!

Unusually for me, I haven’t yet decided where I am going to next. I chatted with Glenn, one of my roomies and he gave me a lot of ideas of places to visit. Top of his list was California, where he is from, but I have already been there. He also said I should go home...heheh! Yeah, right. Then we sat and made a list:- Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Richmond, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Jacksonville. So there it is – a big long list of ideas. I have to check which ones I can get to from here and if I go through any to get to the others. Then I will make a list of my favourite 6 and throw the dice, to see where it takes me. Ill probably end up visiting them all, so we shall see. Ill throw the dice at the end of this blog post .

Yet another long day today – why do I do it to myself! I spent most of the morning wandering around Arlington Cemetery, where thousands of American war dead are buried, as well as the tomb of the unknown soldiers and JFK. The place is absolutely massive and very well kept as a military cemetery should be. I watched the changing of the guard at the Unknown Soldiers tomb, which was a really simple and well done ceremony and then after seeing JFK's grave I caught the subway one stop along and spent a while looking around the Pentagon memorial from 9/11. It too is really nicely done and sits right next to the Pentagon itself at the spot that the plane actually hit.

At the White House

Pennslyvania Ave from the Old Post Office

Tidal Basin with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial

Jump the Capitol Building  - easy

Jump the White house- not so easy!!

Back in town, I visited Union Station to have a look at the fantastic building and its cool ceiling before my last stop of the day at Abe Lincolns memorial again. It looks great all lit up at night and I spent a long while looking around as there wasn’t that many people to get in the way like there was during the day. The only bad thing is that my shin is starting to hurt a lot more. I think I need to rest it over the next few days, so I’m going to take the subway around and have a bit of rest off my feet. Tomorrow will be an easy day anyway – I’m going to visit the Air and Space museum.

Breitling Orbiter

Touching moon rock!

My nose is cold - dunno who the person on the right is!

Actual apollo moon suit - with added moon dust!!

The Wright Brothers Flyer!

The Air and Space museum was great. Everything from actual space capsules from Apollo and Soyuz missions (real ones that have really been to space) to models of Skylab, the 1st space station, the actual plane flown by the Wright brothers on 1903 and real spacesuits that have been to they moon, plus a piece of moon rock that you can touch (IT FELT LIKE A NORMAL ROCK!) I spent nearly 4 hours at the museum, which since it was totally free to enter is great. I had a great day. I have taken it easy today and my shin, while still sore, is less sore than yesterday. So I’m going to rest again for a couple of hours before heading out later.
Arlington in Colour

and in Black and white with a hint of red

At the pentagon

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial at the point of impact

Abe at night

The city from Arlington House

Now to continue with my plans. I have the dice out and a list of places to visit – so where am I going to go to tomorrow....

I have thrown a 4. Cool!

For now I'm sat in the hostel, having a break and checking out transport to my next destination. Across the room are 3 girls talking far too loudly and saying 'like; every 3 words. Fook me, they are pissing me off...I would 'like', to go over and shove this sofa in her fat mouth...But I wont.. Calm down Rick!! Calm down!!

Aaaaaaahhh, that little rant has eased my tension and they are leaving. A nice relaxing couple of hours sat on a nice warm, soft leather sofa, the heater is blowing warm air around and there is sunshine coming in through the window! A nice lazy Sunday afternoon – apart from the fact that it is Monday!!

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