Washington, D.C. + Virginia
JULY 30 - AUG 3, 2013
All of us Americans, we were taught of American history as early as when we were all able to read and write. D.C. is a place every school kid knows and should know and for most kids it is where our first President (the Commander-In-Chief) George Washington lived, and current President Barak Obama lives now. D.C. is a city of American history where you'll probably leave feeling more patriotic. You sense the city. You see the locals. D.C. has left a positive impression on me.
DAY 1: My first day was spent with my Travbuddy friend and local residence of D.C., Raymond, who kindly showed me around in the National Mall area. If you are a first time visitor it would make sense to start in National Mall. National Mall is a strip of museums, monuments, memorials, parks, and gardens. I spent the first day focusing on museums with my Raymond. To name a few, National Air & Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American Indian, and the list goes on. Here is a full list of them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_i
By the end of the day we were "museum-ed out". It was interesting to hear Raymond's thought of the place he lives in. It fascinates me to communicate with the locals everywhere I go. I like to know what they personally think of the place they live in and what the pros and cons may be, if any. After a few drinks at Elephant and Castle, Raymond and I went our separate ways and said good bye and thanks.
After, I met up with my longtime friend, once pen pal, named Prat to meet for dinner in Virginia. It is fantastic how easy the subway system is in D.C. partly because the city is very small in comparison to what I'm used to, in Los Angeles.
A short subway ride away I was in Virginia. Virginia finally visits Virginia! To be precise, I was in Alexandria, Virginia for a few hours. My friend gave me a tour of Alexandria on a drizzle rainy day. I loved the cute shops, cobblestone walkways, and the historical feeling to this city. It was definitely a very low-key place, at least it was that night on a weekday. We found a Thai restaurant to fulfill our hunger. The food was mediocre. Not much good food out there as I've noticed. After dinner I headed back to D.C. to my Airbnb hosts where I rented a room in an apartment w/ a shared bathroom.
DAY 2: My Airbnb apartment was only a few blocks to Capitol Hill so I walked to Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, Captiol Reflecting Pool, then towards National Mall for a round two. I continued to the museums I didn't get to on Day 1 and I returned to the National Gallery of Art, to check out the other exhibits/displays. It is unfortunate their display of Contemporary Art was very limited but I understand they would rather exhibit the more typical notable art displays and must cater to the general population. After that museum I headed towards the White House and to the end to the Lincoln Memorial. My phone was dying and I forgotten my digital camera so I don't have pictures of the memorial. By then I was exhausted so I didn't stop by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial!!!! MLK Jr. has been a long-time role model to me so my next return trip I will ensure I won't miss it!
For dinner I met up with Prat again where we went to see Chinatown and then in Virginia again for dinner in Crystal City for a Spanish tapa restaurant. Then back to D.C. to my Airbnb apartment. You can easily go "State-hopping" in the East Coast!! Is "State-hopping" a legit term? There is "Island-hopping" so why not "State-hopping"??
DAY 3: I ended up having to spend the day and night in Virginia because I messed up on the dates and underbooked my last day in D.C. My friend offered his extra guest bedroom. Before heading to Virginia I spent the afternoon by the area I was staying in, East Market area. On foot I explored this small section of town. Plenty of restaurants and shops but mainly all were either salad places, cafe, or pizza places. Not a hint of ethnic food (my favorite kind of food!). Luckily while walking I found a Mexican fusion take-out style place. It was Mexican/Salvadorian. "Close enough!" I thought! I was craving for ethnic food so a fix.
After lunch I headed to the subway for Virginia dropped off my backpack then off to the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. It is pointy. It symbolizes flight and the flying spirit with three stainless steel spires that soar 270 feet high. That day happened to be a special events night with the drill team performing a short drill and on to live jazz music.
I was on a time restriction so we headed to The Pentagon Memorial. By then the sunset was near just in time to catch the memorials lighting up at night. Surreal place to be, especially at night. A bit morbid. We all know what the memorial was for…which is for the ones from The Pentagon who lost their lives on 9/11. Dinner rolled around. We went to Busboys & Poets in Shirlington, Virginia. Very cute artsy place which I loved. Then it was the end of the night.
Day 4: Woke up and flew to Boston for the next adventure.
THOUGHTS ON D.C.: D.C. left a positive impression on me. So much so, I have D.C. in my "Places to consider to relocate to" list. Of course it is behind Hawai'i. I loved the fact of how small the city was and easy to get around. You must though keep in mind on the last subway of the nights. What I probably didn't see much of was diversity. As in, the lack of ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity brings their culture and best part, their food! Being born and breed in Los Angeles (a city of all kinds of ethnicity) I am fortunate and spoiled by the ethnic food options. Perhaps ethnic culture are located outside downtown D.C.?? Where I explored and where I stayed were heavily taken over by tourists. Despite being irritately mistaken for a Japanese (which by the way shouldn't matter), I would still love to go back to visit again to see the places I missed. MLK Jr. Memorial and Georgetown!!!