Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
Prev / The Americas / The United States of America / East Next

I have to say, I'm terribly impressed with our nation's capitol. I've been there a couple times in the past, but have never spent much time really looking around. This time, with John and Heidi as tourguides, I had a great time seeing the city.

The original post office is a masssive building with a tall belltower, the top of which is open for tours. This picture was taken from the tower on a brisk, windy day.
Rising from the depths of the metro darkness is a tremendous escalator. The light pouring down the tunnel is quite dramatic and a bit blinding. Sadly, however, they ruin an awesome sliding experience with raised discs set every few feet. Were there a pool of water at the bottom, and not hard cement, it'd be a fantastic ride.
Located a block away from the Dupont Circle metro entrance is Teaism, a fantastic tea shop and asian lunch restaurant. We arrived at the height of the lunch rush to find the place packed with diners and tea-sippers, the line running almost out the door. While waiting through the rush, our hunger grew with each passing dish. Fruit-covered french toast, salmon teryaki, miso soups, and fine desserts streamed past us to the crowded tables. Eventually we settled on bento boxes and drinks (I got the assam black tea, Heidi got the iced chai tea), carrying them upstairs to a small second-floor dining room. Along with everyone else, I enjoyed my dish (the beef bento box) and especially the tea.
DC is one of the prettiest towns I've ever seen. Throughout the town are parks, statues, quaint cul de sacs, and beautiful architecture in every direction.
It didn't really sink in until I saw the White House that I was at the heart of the US government and near, as they say, the leader of the free world. When I think of George Bush, I think of this TV character, this noncorporeal figure that is everywhere and yet nowhere. Not that I ascribe to him any supernatural powers (indeed, he has few natural powers), but rather that I'm used to thinking of GW as a President, a mythical figure, and not some ordinary (painfully so) guy.

Feeling the way I do, I can begin to understand the massive palaces and pyramids built in the name of rulers: their strength and allure comes not from their physical traits, but what they represent. A palace isn't built for some guy, it's built for the Emperor. It's so big because it houses someone literally larger than life. The guy that sits in the throne is just a shade of the throne's true owner.
The "Barrett Prettyman: United States Courthouse" is one of the most bland buildings I saw in DC. However, the bad-ass knights out front of the building demonstrate that Barrett Prettyman is no pansy.
"'The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.' -- Albert Einstein

"No more appropriate memorial could stand on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences than one honoring Albert Einstein. It commemorates the centennial of the birth of a scientist whose work led to a new understanding of this world and the universe and a man who believed that the worldwide fame which came from his work was 'a solemn trust to be used for the common good.'

"The memorial depicts Einstein resting on a semicircular three-step bench of white granite from Mount Airy, North Carolina. At his feet, much of the visible universe -- Einstein's laboratory -- is portratyed in a circular sky map. This 28-foot field of emerald pearl granite from Larvik, Norway, is embedded with more than 2,700 small metal studs.

"These represent the planets, sun, moon, stars (to the sixth magnitude), and other celestial objects... [more]
As we were walking to the Brickskeller for dinner, we passed by a group of students screaming Japanese battle cries with kendo sticks. Not something you see, or hear, everyday back home on the farm.
I really liked the DC subway. I've only ridden on subways a couple times in my life, but I've always thought it was a lot of fun. This time would have been even better were it not for the extremely... friendly passenger sitting next to us. He's located just off camera to the left.

I made the mistake of saying hello and making smalltalk while we purchased our tickets. In the process I apparently made a life-long blood-brother, and he would not shut up for the life of me or any innocent bystanders. I was using every nonverbal technique in the book to make him quiet down: short answers, facing away from him, outright ignoring him, nothing worked. On top of all that, he was just a total dope. At least he could have had some interesting observations to foist upon us.
In the basement of a shi-shi restaurant in DC is the Brickskeller, a bar/restaurant known best for it's beer menu of over one thousand beers. That's right, a thousand (though they regretfully admit that a hundred or so may be out of stock at any point in time. Shameful). I'm happy to report that they had Youngs Oatmeal Stout. And Linemans Framboise. And Spaten, and Hoegaarden, and Moretti, He'Brew (both Genesis Ale and Messiah Stout), Lucifer, Bitburger, Red Stripe, Taj Mahal, Chang Elephant Beer (Thailand), Zambezi (Zimbawe), Lion (Sri Lanka), Tusker (Kenya) -- basically every beer I've ever heard of, and nine-hundred more, are there. The beer menu is 22 pages long -- it's a bit intimidating. I gave it my best, but only made it through 0.3% of the menu. 99.7% to go...
The DC metro has the feel of some futuristic space port. Lights embedded into the floor blick slowly to indicate incoming hyperspace transports, humming screens flash schedule information in the universe's many languages. I think I've been watching too much Enterprise as of late.

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -