Footnotes to the East Coast: Part 1 - Washington, D.C.

Before I get into this I have two things to say:

  1. Writing things like this isn’t me giving up. I get it, all I seem to be doing is writing mildly detailed bullet points rather than, you know, actual blocks of text. But really this just seems like the best way to cover these things. No one wants to read about the details of everything I do every day (which, if you are wondering, I do keep notes about), and so short notes on things just seems the way to go. Yes, it is easy, but, it also means it is easier for you to read/not read?
    (In saying that, I will be writing proper things sometimes - you know, sentences and paragraphs and all those good things, it just depends on what I am writing about at the time.)

  2. I initially drafted the whole East Coast as one entry but it felt too long. Sure, that might mean these individual entries might be quite short, but I think that is better this way. If you disagree, ah, leave a comment or something?

After all of that… here are my thoughts about Washington…

Washington DC

  • If it does nothing else right, Washington does museums right. From what I saw, every museum in the city was free. That might sound like a lame thing to praise a city for, but maybe you are just an uncultured slob (coming from me?!).
    Just trust me when I say it really makes museums better when you don't have to pay. You go to more of them, and appreciate things more. Other museums, or cities, should learn from this - at a minimum I think most museums should at least lower prices if not be totally free.

(Don’t worry - I am sure some of the other things are more interesting than that)

  • You know what else is good about Washington? Central locations.
    Granted, DC is under 200 sqkm, but right downtown you have so many great things to see. Beyond the multiple museums and art galleries (the portrait gallery is excellent), you have The Whitehouse (I'm a big fan), and all the other great monuments in walking distance to each other. It makes touristing easy.
Double Whitehouse? What could it mean?!

Double Whitehouse? What could it mean?!

  • Speaking of the Whitehouse… I have never really received much attention about my last name until arriving in Washington. The person checking me in at the hotel called over two other staff members to look at my passport. But, it was totally worth it, because they found it funny they upgraded us for free.
  • Oh, and if I’m praising the benefits of free museums, then I have to also point out another great feature - free WiFi and power points.
    I laughed when I heard a 13 year old girl walk into the museum of American history and announce "right, we need to find power points and WiFi", but really she did kind of have a point. It doesn't need to be the reason you go to these places, but as far as fringe benefits go it isn't bad.

Speaking of young girls...

  • You know the downside of free educational stuff? School trips.
    I don't know if it was only the time of year we were there, but every day at every museum there were multiple school buses sitting around outside, and hundreds of kids inside (or, often, sitting on the entrance steps (just like in Gossip Girl)).
    Now, it isn’t that I hate children (is it weird I have to keep reminding you of that?), it is just they can be quite annoying at times when in massive unruly groups. Still, kids on school trips can offer comedy value. I quite enjoyed judging the kids based on what they were wearing (if children indicate coming fashion trends (is that a thing?) then we are all going to be dressing even worse soon (Yes, I know I have no basis to judge fashion, but that was never going to stop me). You could also try and pick out the different TV high school cliques (the glee club people were the easiest to spot because they were always signing (isn’t it strange that TV high school cliches are actually totally real?).
    Sorry, kind of drifted off there anyway, there are kids everywhere.
  • During rush hour all major intersections are controlled by police. They walk out there and direct traffic to. It is kind of weird. All they do is go out and tell cars to go when it’s green, and stop when it is red. Best I can tell they need to do it just to stop people going on green when they can’t get right across and blocking the intersection. So, basically, they have police officers with the job of stopping people being stupid assholes.
    This is something that should be instituted in way more places.
    Why can’t the police stand on the footpath on streets with lots of pedestrians and make sure people don’t just stop in the in everyones way?
    What about putting police on buses and trains and tasering people who try to talk on the phone or play music without headphones?
    There are so many other places you could institute police doing this kind of thing.

And, then leaving Washington...

  • The bus from Washington to New York was interesting. People seem to treat buses way different to planes. For some reason people think just because they get phone reception on a bus, it is fine to make loud phone calls on a bus. Or, because it is a bus, it is fine to sit with their legs hanging across and blocking the aisle. Or, because it is a bus they can file and clip their nails (again, loudly, somehow). The police should really get on this behaviour.
    Catching a bus from Washington to New York is… well… it’s pretty good as far as long distance bus journeys go.


And how about that setting up a cliffhanger sequel? Tune in next… week(?) for my take on New York.