Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Why Put Off Tomorrow....

Whenever my life gets busy, it always seems that there's something big, something that I want to spend time on, that always ends up on the "I'll do it tomorrow pile." So here I am, two weeks after returning from Washington, and still no post about it!

Well, the obvious solution is to abbreviate the account and finally get it off the pile.

The trip to Washington DC was fantastic! In many, many ways, it is a beautiful city, especially in the spring. I was lucky enough to be there shortly after cherry blossom season, so there were still plenty of blossoms on the trees and many of the other flowers had started to bloom. For the entire weekend, I was treated to near-summer temperatures and beautiful sunny skies. I found myself leaning down to touch the lush grass and staring slack-jawed at every new flowerbed filled with daffodils. It was like a game of "Spot the Canadian" on the Mall. I'm sure I wasn't the only one there who had traveled south and left the springy-semi-winter behind us for a few days and was completely blown away by the weather.

I had a lot of things I wanted to do in Washington, but overall, I just wanted to get a feel for the place. Tara understood completely, and we spent a good portion of the trip driving around, with Tara pointing out the sights while I stuck the camera out the window to snap some quick in-motion shots of landmarks. We also spent a good amount of time exploring on foot, walking the Mall and through various monuments and spending an evening window-shopping in downtown Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of the city that still had a lot of 18th century colonial charm.

There is a lot to do at the Smithsonian Museums alone. Really, we could have spent the entire weekend in the various wings of the museum and still seen only a fraction of it. We spent the most time at The National Air and Space Museum, home of such amazing historical artifacts as Apollo 11, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Wright Brother's Flyer, and the Bell X-1 (first plane to break the sound barrier). I compared walking into the lobby of the museum to premature ejaculation: you get all excited, expect it will take some exploration to see these things, and then when you get there you look up and all of these amazing pieces are right there in the lobby, on the floor and suspended from the ceiling, and it's all over in a matter of moments. Total information overload. I can only assume this was for the benefit of museum-goers with a short-attention span. Really, most people must walk in, see the most famous vehicles, and walk right out again.

The best part about the Smithsonian is that they're all free, something that would seem like sacrilege in the money-strapped Canadian tourist industry. We also caught about 45 minutes-worth of the National Art Gallery and wandered around the National Sculpture Garden. With another day, we would have done much, much more of the museums, I'm sure.

I think the biggest commentary that I can make is that none of the landmarks or monuments really seemed all that real. I mean, you see the White House or the Lincoln Memorial and it's just like "Whoop, there it is. Seems more impressive in movies." I can only imagine that seeing any world-famous landmark or object is the same: the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx, the Mona Lisa, you name it. They just can't live up to the hype that you set up in your mind. Not that I've seen any of these, mind you, so I'm only guessing. But I'd also think that seeing big, awe-inspiring natural wonders is ultimately more impressive, like the Grand Canyon or the Alps.

So in the end, I'm very happy I saw them, but I'm not sure I'll ever be desperate to see them again. Is that how it normally goes?

Well, out of time for now. I'll finish up this post tomorrow. The irony of my post’s title hasn't escaped me, by the way.


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