Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday...Tour at the US Capitol Building and Washington Monument

Okay, we slept so great in our beds last night.  We were all whipped from yesterday's adventures.  Chris and I decided to get up early to get tickets to go up into the Washington Memorial.  We got up at 6am, took showers and were on the metro by 6:45am.  We arrived close to the Washington Monument and had to walk the rest of the way.  We had about 10 other customers in front of us, so we knew there would be enough tickets.  We already have tickets for the US Capitol Building Tour at 9:20am, so we were hoping to get tickets for noon at the Washington Monument.  When we arrived, it said that tickets are dispersed at 8:30am, not 8am like we initially thought.  Chris said I needed to go back because I needed to get the kids up and ready and we would all meet at the US Capitol.  I took the metro back, by myself.  Made it without any trouble!!  I got the kids up (and Grandpa and Grandma too) and told them we needed to leave in 20 minutes to get to the US Capitol.  We got on the metro for the first stop, transferred to the next train, everyone was on and they were having troubles getting the doors to close properly (we didn't have anything to do with that).  They gave out 2 warnings trying to get everyone to step away from the doors and those 2 attempts failed.  The train was packed, all standing spots were even taken.  They demanded that everyone deboard the metro and we had to wait for the next one to come.  That was a fun experience.  It was total chaos.  I had to keep close eyes on kids and seniors.  Chris wasn't with us because he was going right from getting the tickets to the Captol to meet us.  We finally made it to the Capitol building.  Chris just arrived, so we all met and got in line.  Every place you go into your bags are scanned and checked just like you are getting on a plane.  They are very cautious here.  The tour of the Capitol was cool, however, we only saw one portion of the place.  Our tour guide was exceptional and we learned a lot.  One funny thing that happened on our tour was that everyone had to tell the tour guide where they were from.  A guy standing near Grandpa said he was from China.  Grandpa quickly asked him what part of China he was from the top, middle or the bottom section.  The guy replied that he was from the SE region of China and Grandpa said oh, oh, that's nice.  It was so funny.  He really made a friend on the tour.  Grandpa likes to talk to everyone he meets, people on the metro, the night tour guide, the bus drivers, the ladies at the check-in desks, etc.  He strikes up conversations and talks about nothing.  Everyone seems to patronize him.  After our tour at the Capitol, Chris and Wes decide that they have enough time to go check out of our hotel before our noon date at the Washington monument.  They left on the metro and the kids, Paula and I stayed at the Capitol for a bit before leaving to walk to the monument.  We walked out the wrong door and walked 3 blocks in the wrong direction.  We figured this out rather quickly, turned around and started walking back.  Now, picture this, it is 100 DEGREES out today.  Hotter than H_ _ _!  Paula's legs are aching (as are mine) and we have 2 miles to walk to the monument with the kids.  We are dying for water (we would have brought some with us, but you can't bring any liquids into the capitol bldg).  Paula is a half a block behind me and the kids.  I looked behind to see her and decided we better take a cab.  I raised my hand and in one second a cab stops to pick us up, no joke.  I asked him how much it would be and he motioned to get in.  At this point, it didn't really matter how much it cost.  The fare ended up being $11.50 and I tipped him so it cost us $13 and it was the best money we spent all week.  The ride was air conditioned and I knew some of us were not going to make it.  Again, Paula was not excited to go up into the monument (it is a LONG ways up there).  She kept himming and hawing, but she went up.  The elevator ride up goes pretty quick.  You get to see everything from up there.  It was a great experience and well worth getting up early to get the tickets.  It is just fabulous to see all sites from the upper deck.  Inside the monument, they have special blocks that have been donated by different cities and countries.  On the way down, they slow down the elevator so we can see some of the blocks.  They are very detailed and ornate. 

After our tour, we took the metro back to the hotel and checked out, got in our car and left back for David and Xiang's place.  I guess I forgot to tell you that when Chris and Wes went back in between the capitol tour and the monument, they never made it back to the hotel.  They took the metro to the metro stop near our hotel, but only got off to turn back and go to the monument.  They wouldn't have made it back in time to catch the tour with us. 

The kids just went swimming at the association pool that David lives near.  Our kids were the only people that showed up all day.  The lifeguard is nice and said that our presence makes the time go by faster.  We are having dinner tonight.  Xiang made dumplings that smell pretty good and we also made a pork tenderloin.  We ate a late lunch, so I am not starving.  I am just winding down with a wine cooler and resting my feet.

We like to hear the comments.  We were worried that no one was reading the blog.  I am glad to hear that some of you are keeping up with our adventures.  It is going to be 100 degrees tomorrow too.  Maybe it is a good day for the Virginia Beach.  Paula is worried about the jellyfish (Wes read a newspaper article about them and made her paranoid).  She didn't bring a swimsuit, and Wes didn't bring one pair of shorts...go figure.



  1. Is that a M turned upside down or is that a true W? Either way it is a great picture! According to the TV show FRIENDS if you get bit by a jellyfish you are suppose to pee on the bite sight! Hope no one has to volunteer for that!
    p.s. is the shoe picture a game for us to figure out who is who? I say 1:00 Michelle,3:00 Grandpa,4:00 Alison,6:00 Calvin 7:00 Chris,9:00 Grandma,11:00 Maddie

  2. Patty,

    We took the shoe picture at the top of the Washington Memorial. They had N, S, E, W embedded in the floor, so we took our photo by the West "W" since we are all Westberg's! Your guess was pretty good, but not exactly right. 1:00 Grandma, 3:00 Grandpa, 4:00 Michelle, 6:00 Calvin, 7:00 Chris, 9:00 Alison, and 11:00 Maddie!