Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

District of Columbia

with one comment

I had to take the train down to Washington yesterday to pick up a notarized translation of my driver’s license from the Danish embassy. It’s only a one-hour train ride from Baltimore, but it sure feels different.

Getting off the subway at Dupont Circle, my first experience was a 15-20 minute walk through the sprawling embassy area. (Well, that’s not quite true. The FIRST experience was noticing how the subway looks exactly like in Fallout 3). For the duration of the walk, I never had less than ten embassies in sight, in all shapes and sizes. It stands to reason; nearly every country in the world would be represented, unless they’d cut diplomatic ties with thet US. The Danish embassy was furthest out, kind of in the woods. It was very 70ies in terms of architecture and decoration, but nice people. Talked a while to the women who had my license, about this and that.

With the embassy business taken care of, I took a little tour of DC. I only had a couple of hours and expect to return, so I stuck with the more obvious sights:

I more or less toured the National Mall, catching the White House, Capitol, Washington Monument, Ulysses S Grant Memorial, the Smithsonian castle, Supreme Court and the various national museums and galleries (though I only went in to the botanical gardens and the National Archives). Several blocks before I got to the Mall, I could already see the Washington Monument rising up above the buildings, and out in the open it’s absolutely massive. I’d imagined something like an Egyptian obelisk, but this was orders of magnitude bigger:

Yes, those little black dots are people

In fact, the whole Mall was vast, much larger than I’d expected in the middle of a city. Although I suspect the impression of size is partly due to clever architecture and layout, it definitely felt larger than anything I saw in China. And in the end, even the eastern half I saw is twice the length of the Forbidden City. There’s enough history there to keep an interested visitor occupied for a week, and impress anybody else.

The best thing is that all the museums and most of the memorials are free to visit. I’m already looking forward to a whole weekend of poring over things at the National Museum of Natural History, or the Air and Space Museum. As it is, the Archives had a really cool room holding the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, along with other documents and explanatory text. You really got a sense of how significant the birth of the American Union was for the entire world, whatever the state of the nation today.


Written by Martin

2010/03/03 at 23:30

Posted in Places, Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] talked about DC before, so I won’t spend time describing it again. Suffice to say the weather was great, the Mall […]

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