A slow holiday in Washington D.C.
For the 90’s Indian children, Hershey’s kisses and Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups were the ultimate American treats brought by their relatives visiting from America.
America hasn’t just been the super power but a promised land of opportunities and ultimate luxury for so many Indian children while growing up. Why, it has been the dream land for youth of many developing nations around the world who even struggle to get clean tap water.
Over, last few years, we have had holidays to American cities considering my younger sister was studying/working there. But then, my younger sister and I are chalk and cheese in every way. So, mostly my meticulous planning goes for a toss to her Que Sera Sera living style. Needless to say, I was furious when I cancelled my trip to North Carolina as planned and instead booked a 10 day stay at Washington D.C. last year.
I took a deep breath in…..The plan was to take it easy, allow ourselves one sight per day and then spend the days pottering around our lovely apartment near the leafy Capitol. The rented apartment with no TV was itself a highlight as we spent our days lounging, reading and cooking in a very stylish space. (Our course, little did we know we would be spending our holidays in similar fashion this year!)
Every morning as I walked out of the apartment, I simply took moments to look at the magnificent Capitol to my heart’s content. Every evening, as we walked back, I stood still to admire the illutrimous Capitol. A seat where some of the world’s major decisions were debated and voted upon. It simply stole my heart.
We walked the boulevards almost everyday, passing by all the Smithosians Museums and food carts. Mr. And I have been House of Card fans, so for the first few days, our jaws dropped wide at a recollection of a scene at a location which we passed from the hit series.
The buildings have been undoubtedly built to impress like much of America. Of course, for a Londoner, everything about America is thrice the large (including the food portions). What’s more, the designs of most buildings have been “inspired” by the Capitol Hill at Rome, Palaces at France or some building designs in London.
Some evenings were spent by the frozen reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial. We were taking our time to read the inscriptions of world’s brilliantly written constitutions in the world. It was the law student inside me pondering over every written word at the Lincoln Memorial. However, the White House simply failed to impress. It appears so much bigger in pictures!
One lazy morning, still in bed, I was checking my instagram feed with squinted eyes when a post caught attention. I simply dialled a number! “ You guys are here? I can’t believe it. When will you stop following us?”, I chuckled loudly. Our usual travel buddies D and P were in town. They were visiting New York and had decided to visit Washington. The previous month had been super busy and we hadn’t a chance to discuss each other’s travel plans.
Boy! We were delighted to see our favourite people in town. The Holiday spirit was in the air.
As we wanted to indulge in something other than Smithsonian, we decided to go for an evening of Lights in the Park with Baby DP in tow. This gave us a chance to see the other side of Washington including the Diplomat row, the business district and other residential areas in general.
An interesting thing which some Smithsonian offer are the Museum cafes. We scheduled our lunches at the America’s Table at the American History Museum which serves a fare from most of the states and the African American History Museum which serves food linked to geographic cultures and tells African American stories. Mind you, the prices are not exactly pocket friendly for a lunch in a Museum Cafe if you are on a tight budget. But then go for the experience!
Now, which Museum stood out for Museum mad girl like me? The African American Museum, the latest addition in 2016. The Architecture is statement contemporary. Curated full of stories and inspiration for any person in the world who would like to know people on whose sweat and blood a great nation has been built. If the Apartheid Museum at Johannesburg trickled tears in my eyes, this one brought hope. That the future is bright as long as voices are heard and respected.
Whilst walking, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what it was to walk through ancient Rome’s Forum in its hay days or the ancient Mayan or Indian civilisations which had made great progress in architecture had same sense of magnitude and grandeur.
Would these Memorials and statues be reduced to rubble in years to come? Would they stand test of time? But then, if anything we know for sure now is the change is constant. I don’t like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups anymore. It’s the Trader Joes ones for me.