Date: Saturday & Sunday, April 3-4, 2010
Travel: Flight, Metro
Lodging: Hilton Washington
Photos: 20100403 DC In Bloom
In between weekends at nearby clients, I was able to spend some of my Hilton points and spend a weekend in Washington DC. This weekend was a little more special in the nations capital, as this was during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This would also be the first weekend after the Peak Bloom date, which was March 31 for 2010. I flew into Reagan National airport, and was fortunate to get a window seat. We were able to fly by the National Mall which was a spectacular view from the air. It was also going to be a weekend of long awaited sunshine, a weekend which was going to symbolize the entry of spring, one of which was following the snowiest winter recorded to date. All in all, this makes a formula for a CROWD. I was prepared to get around by public transit and by foot, as I have heard the roads were going to be clogged.
It was a little chilly at first, but the sun came out and really warmed things up. I knew I needed to avoid the Smithsonian metro station first, although I couldn't avoid it eventually, as it is extremely crowded. After a short walk from the station, I was able to witness the beauty that the country of Japan has given to the city. The surrounding Tidal Basin was surrounded by Cherry blossoms. Blossoms were all around, but so were the people, as the density in DC Land was similar to that of Disney Land. The sidewalks around the basin were not really designed for such heavy traffic. It was one of those days that would be great time to just whip out a towel, and just sit down, relax and have a little picnic.
The better parts of the basin was on the western side, where the FDR memorial resides, as it requires a longer walk, has fewer restrooms, and thus there were fewer people. That doesn't mean that it wasn't crowded though, filled with the Asian tourists (including myself) taking pictures. It was much less than the north part of the basin near the National Mall, which was pretty much elbow to elbow. After walking pretty much everywhere, I found a nice little spot, which there were only a few people around, with an excellent view of the Jefferson Memorial. The only bad part was that there is no food or restrooms to be found. It was a good reason to pack light, and by not eating or drinking much, I held my natural urges for the entire day. Being in such a peaceful spot, this was an opportune time to also give my new MODO tripod a try. I love the thing, and so I also gave it a shot at night.
The following day, I visited a couple of the Smithsonian Museums, one of which was the National Portrait Gallery which was near "Chinatown." One of the amusing things are that there are clearly American establishments, such as Chipotle, McDonalds, and a Texas BBQ joint, but their signs had Chinese characters on them. I suppose that makes it more Chinese and worthy to be a Chinatown. I recall someone telling me that in Chicago, there is a greek town, and a CVS or Walgreens Pharmacy store in that area had to create a sign that said "Apothecary" in the Greek style letters to help make it feel like its part of Greek town.
After visiting a farmer markets and street markets, I stopped again by the capitol building for one of my timelapse projects. I was not able to stay out too long, as I had to make late night drive to the Philly area. Aside from the crowd, the National Cherry Blossom Festival was worth to see, with the mix of a little bit of nature mixed in with the settings of the national monuments. I suppose the next step is to see the blossoms in Japan.