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Tuesday, April 16th, 2002
On Tuesday I woke up early to prepare for the radio interview. I got up around 6:30 in the morning, made some coffee and waited by the phone. No call. I had a note about the interview being scheduled for 7am, but when that time had past, I thought "maybe I mixed up the time zone situation, and it was actually airing at 9am". With that in mind, I waited around until 9:05am. Still no call, so I studied my map and headed to the White House.
The white house was very close to my hotel. It was strange. I felt like I was breaking the rules by taking photos of it. There was a man mopping the sidewalk outside the iron fence. I don't think I'd ever seen someone mopping the sidewalk before.
It seemed like a wider security radius had recently emerged, represented by concrete barriers and security vehicles. Still, it was neat to be there. It felt like I was right at the heart of the United States.
I saw some kids walking on the lawn near the white house and asked a security guard, "Can I go where those kids are?". He answered with a half-laugh, "No".
Next I re-visited the Museum of American History. I arrived just as they opened, so I went right up to the third floor and worked my way around and down.
One of my favorite displays was the glass case full of gold keys. There were about 14 oversized gold keys that had been presented to Ella Fitzgerald. 14 keys to cities. Can you imagine?
Some of the other highlights were: A tree that got shot down in the Civil war, a case of objects that have been left at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall, A "California Jap Hunting License" button from World War 2, A showcase on the evolution of the machine-gun and Dr. Fielding's breached file-cabinet, broken open by Nixon's "Plumbers".
I also discovered that in July of 1942, the first Independence Day after the attack at Pearl Harbor, hundreds of magazines from across the country published an image of the American flag on their covers, along with the words, "United We Stand". It made me think, is anyone planning on doing this again this year, 2002? If they aren't they should.
After a few hours in American History, I stopped at a street cart and got a hot dog for lunch.
By the way, none of the Smithsonian museums I visited had an entrance fee. They were all free.
I took the metro out to Arlington National Cemetery. I'll bet Arlington is the only cemetery in the world with it's own subway stop. The Cemetery itself is just how it looks in the movies, vast and regular arrays of identical headstones. The sun was out and it was hot...like 90 degrees hot. I made my way to the eternal flame at JFK's tomb. Gallipoli, Ground Zero, The Wall and Arlington all within one year. I have seen a lot of tributes to the dead in the last 6 months.
Two Metro Stops down from Arlington was the Pentagon. I wanted to get a first hand look and compare the Pentagon with the Mall of America. I was just about to take a photo of the repair work when a security guard 30 feet away whipped out a megaphone and instructed me, "DO NOT TAKE A PHOTO FROM THAT LOCATION".
Embarrassed, I turned around and headed back to the Metro station, where I found the "No Photos Allowed" sign hidden from view by a overzealous USA Today newsstand.
I moved the newsstand a few feet to the left, hopefully helping other tourists avoid the megaphone treatment.
I went back to Museum row and tried to get excited about the Museum of Fine Art, but my heart wasn't in it. I was all done with museums and I was ready to go home.
I got home and had another phone message. The radio host had called about my interview at 9:10am. I had JUST missed his call! I was pissed. How could it have happened? I called his voice mail and
apologized. Oh well, so much for my North Dakota audience, huh?
In a sour mood I went down to the business center and checked my mail. I had a letter from a guy in Vermont:
Great mood instantly restored! Hooray!
I was really toying with the idea of becoming a
distributor. NOT NOW! Thank you so much for your
work with your site. (I am really surprised that on
all of the government sites that they don't publish a
list of know schemes and scams)
I paid $27.95, but I probably would have paid more! I
think that what really did it for me was the ebay link
that you provided, along with the google search on
"Herbalife", (I checked that out and got back 208,000
Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
I dawdled online for about an hour, then headed over to FedEx to ship my Wyoming fireworks home. With that taken care of, I wandered out towards DuPont circle looking for some dinner.
Washington DC strikes me as a segregated city. Most of the white people I saw appeared to be white collar businessmen, while most of the black people I saw were in service or security positions. In the restaurant business, it was mostly
Asian American people. I've never seen segregation to the extent I saw it in Washington. I didn't conduct a formal survey, but there was definitely a division.
Anyway, I ate some pizza by myself, wandered around until it got dark & headed home. It was my last night in Washington. I used my time well, visiting the top 7 monuments in Washington, but I didn't see everything by any means. I missed the Jefferson Memorial, didn't go to the top of the Washington Memorial, missed the US mint and Georgetown. I also missed the Arts and Industries Museum, the library of Congress (although I did see the outside of the building) and the Einstein memorial.
There was just too much to see in one town.
The White House & lawn
The rooster once represented the Democratic Party
McKinley Political Candidate Bug
Special for Brooke
WW2 display on how to differentiate
between Japanese and Chinese men
United We Stand Magazine Covers, July 1942
Hop on board the Cemetary Tour Bus!
Gravesite Locator at Arlington, powered by Google
Pentagon Transit Center
Dedicated to the lives that were forever changed
by the events of September 11th, 2001
Wednesday April 17th, 2002
Checkout, Reagan Airport, San Francisco
On Wednesday, I packed my bag and headed for the airport. Washington is one of only a few cities I know of where the subway goes all the way to the airport. London and New York are the other ones.
Boarding the plane was simple and I met a nice girl travelling on her own back to Los Angeles. There is something great about meeting people in airports & airplanes. She was even nice enough to carry my fireworks on past security.
Reagan (National) airport has a funny rule that you may not get out of your seat for the first 30 minutes of the flight, so be sure to pee before the plane leaves the gate.
After a stopover in Minneapolis, I got on a flight for San Francisco. The flight was uneventful except for when they made an announcement, "if there is a doctor on board, please stand up and make your way to the rear of the aircraft". About 4 men headed back there. We all twisted around to get a better look, but had to wait for a report. A woman had fainted. When we landed, we were instructed to remain seated until the paramedics entered the aircraft and took her out. I think she looked ok, just a little weak.
In San Francisco, I took a $3 bus to the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street, but found that I had missed the last train to Sacramento. I took a taxi over to Mark and Stacy's house and called up my sister Sue for a place to crash for the night.
Sue graciously picked me up and drove me out to her house in the east bay.
Washington Metro Car
Reagan Airport Metro Stop
Ronald Reagan National Airport interior
Cock Mosiac at Reagan Airport
boarding flight to Minneapolis
The paramedics come on board
Thursday April 18th, 2002
On Thursday morning, Sue and I got burritos in Albany. I told her about the herbalife article and the whole slashdot adventure and she showed me her transcription equipment and video projects. She has been experimenting with speech-to-text products, which really blow my mind.
I was anxious to get home, so I caught a train to Sacramento in Berkeley. Man, trains are so luxurious. Too bad they don't hand out food and drinks like airplanes. In three hours I was home!
Hooray Sacramento! Thanks for reading my travelogue. I hope you enjoyed it. If you want me to visit your town, send me an email & let me know if it is ok if I sleep at your house.
New construction at Carquinez Bridge in California
C & H Sugar factory in Crockett, CA
attractive, yet swampy lowlands near the Amtracks