Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#62 - Play tourist in DC

You might be wondering why I put this on my list. Especially since we live pretty much right here. Well, we never go. I guess never isn't really the right word, we go sometimes but we don't really go often and if we're going it isn't usually to do the touristy things like see the museums and monuments. I enjoy that and I don't think I'm going to limit us to playing tourist in DC just once for this list. Especially since my most favorite museum just re-opened and it was uber crowded the day we went so we didn't get to see much of anything.

Most people are familiar with the National Cherry Blossom festival and parade. Surprisingly, neither Steve nor I have ever been. I grew up here and Steve has lived here since he was like 10. We had decided we were going to go downtown and see the Cherry Blossoms since they are really pretty and then tool around DC for the day. Well, the weekend we decided to go we found out that the Saturday was the festival and parade. I was sold. (we had planned to go on Sunday). I have never seen a parade in real life (yes, I'm serious) and I love festivals.

We took metro downtown as we usually do and once we got there we realized why our parents never took us. And I started to realize why mine laughed at me a little when I said we were going. Either way, we were going and we were going to have fun! After about 45 minutes standing in line to get a ticket to get on the metro we made our way to the platform and were lucky enough to get a seat on the train. I had a wonderful ass view the entire time and almost got sat on but either way I was sitting and that was all that mattered to me!

As we exited the metro downtown in the heart of the festival we were pretty sure that since we hadn't planned on it taking us so long to get down there we had missed the parade. I was bummed, but it was ok. So we wandered around the festival. This picture is from right when we got there and we got there at about 11 which is when the festival started. It only got more and more crowded as the day went on.

The pictures on the right are from the festival. There were a lot of really cool things to see at the festival. The Japanese society put on this festival every year. It was really cool to walk around and see the traditional dance (the lady) and watch the guy make traditional crafts. We also got to eat some sushi. Yes, we had sushi off a "street vendor" but it was pretty good. And it was wrapped up in a container because otherwise I wouldn't have eaten it. There was a Japanese beer garden, but it wasn't open when we walked by it in the morning. Steve was a little disappointed, but while we meant to go back we never quite made it back.

After we wandered through the festival for a while and saw what we wanted and bought what I wanted we figured that we'd head on over to see the Cherry Blossoms. The one bad thing about this is that the festival is all the way over on like Constitution or Pennsylvania or something like that while the actually Cherry Blossom trees are all the way over near the Tidal Basin. Its not really all that close which wouldn't have mattered if it wasn't so windy. I really think the festival needs to happen on the Mall but that's just me.

So we ended our time at the festival and found ourselves in the midst of this HUGE crowd. We were pretty confused as to why everyone was just standing around since we couldn't see over them to figure out what the fuss was all about. We were trying to cross the street so we made our way through the crowd, and while people weren't happy about us pushing through we did it anyway. Once we got to the edge of the street we realize what the fuss was about. THE PARADE!!! It wasn't over. I was so excited because I really had wanted to see it!

They had a lot of marching bands from different places and that was really cool to watch. Most of them did some type of dance performance and I am really in awe of people that can dance and stuff since I'm such a terrible dancer and have absolutely no rhythm.

This picture on the left is kind of my favorite. This is some skate group in the area that I think is from MD actually, but this man is Obama Man! I thought it was pretty cool. And again, while I love to skate (and we're talking old school skating, not roller blading) and I'm pretty good at it these guys were freaking amazing.

They ended the parade with the Easter Bunny! I was kind of sad that it had ended and we didn't really get to see the whole thing, but I was really excited that I got to see it. I have also decided that unless I get to go see like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade I probably won't go to another parade. It was fun, but the pushing and shoving really got on my nerves. People were running across the street in middle of the parade which I thought was ridiculously rude. I felt really bad for our "parade guy" that was trying to keep people from not doing it because they weren't even a little listening to him and really they didn't have to because it wasn't like he was any kind of law enforcement. But overall I am glad that I got to have this experience and now that I have I think the next time we go downtown to see the Cherry Blossoms it will not be during the parade and next year, I'm watching parade on TV :)

After our excitement of the festival and the parade we decided to hit a museum. Right where we left the parade we saw the American History Museum which is by far my favorite. I'm not entirely sure why, it just is. It has been under remodel for like the last year so we didn't get to go last summer when we went. I about pee'd my pants when I realized it was open and my poor husband was not excited about the crowd that he saw trying to get inside, but he greatly obliged my request (ok, my begging and pleading) to go inside! We wandered around there for a while and saw the car exhibit that shows the cars from like the beginning and travels through time until now. There weren't any Hybrid cars in there which I thought would have been neat especially since they just redid the entire museum and they are the new car, but I guess we'll see those in a few years.

And then there's me, being a goofball as usual :) Steve would not stick his head in there and let me get a picture :P There were two exhibits that I really wanted to see, but apparently they were the most popular ones because they were PACKED. So much so that I think there was over an hour wait to get IN to one. The other was just slow moving through it. We skipped those and decided that we'll go back another day. That will be tourist trip #2 :)

After our museum fun we walked across the mall and finally made it to the Cherry Blossom trees! They are SO pretty. We had one in the front lawn of our townhouse and I forgot how much I missed seeing it bloom and be so pretty in the spring until we went down to see these. There were so many of them and they were just gorgeous. I really think they are in a beautiful location being on the edge of the Tidal Basin. I'm thinking that when we get our own house that maybe I'll get one of these in our yard again. The cherry seeds are quite a pain, but I think the fact that they are just so pretty is really worth it!

We walked around the Tidal Basin for a bit and I took a bunch of pictures of the trees and Steve graciously posed each time I asked him to (or said "stand over there"). He's so good :) We found someone to take our picture. It wasn't really that hard because there were a TON of people around, but I'm glad we did because I think its a nice picture. I would have liked more tree, but I wasn't going to be picky with a complete stranger.

After seeing the trees we pretty much had decided that it was time to head home. The crowds really made the museums unreasonable to get in to and we'd seen and done everything we wanted. Plus, we were tired from walking all over the place. We decided that we probably had walked about 5 miles, which might not seem like a lot but we're two pretty out of shape people and we were dying. So we headed back to the metro but not without devouring a dirty dog from one of the street vendors. Those are by far my most favorite food ever.

The metro was equally as crowded on the way home. The first train that came was so crowded by where we were standing that we didn't even get on. So we headed down the platform to the front of the train and made it on the next one. I'm really glad we did that because there was NO ONE on the car we were on but the back of the train was super crowded so at least we got a seat after walking all day. I was really happy to be back in the car away from all the crowds of people, but all in all it was a really awesome day! I'm glad we did it, but like I said it will be the last time we do :)

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