Final days

02Dec11

Week and a half before I leave these fine shores, and only five days left in DC. Craziness. Spending the final week slowly meandering my way to Los Angeles, via Birmingham, AL (of all places) and San Francisco. Looking forward to getting the train from SF to LA; day-long trip where the rails hug the coast all the way down. In fact, here’s a photo of the tracks I took when I was out there in October (complete with friend living dangerously by sitting on a rail to put her shoes on):

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I’m in this weird space where I am completely and utterly ready to get home and see everyone and eat copious amounts of food with my friends and have Christmas with my family and generally revel in the home-ness of it all. But then on the flip side there’s still so much I haven’t seen or done, and I’m going to miss people over here and the city of DC… I had originally thought I’d spend these last couple of weeks doing a lot more travel, but I came to the decision that I didn’t want to be running around like a mad-woman, trying to see an entire country (or even the entire North East) in two weeks. This is clearly not going to be my last trip to the US. Far from it. And when I come back Boston and Philadelphia and New York and Colonial Williamsburg and Atlanta and Savannah and Falling Water and… well, they’ll all still be here.

So! Instead of running around like a mad-woman I’ve had a mostly relaxing few weeks, getting little annoying things organised (banking, amazon subscriptions, sending packages), eating a lot of food (hello, amazeballs thanksgiving lunch at Lincoln!), applying for jobs back in Australia (urgh), and doing some final (for now) wanders around the city. Have a few photos.

Went for a walk along the Mall the day after Thanksgiving (and accidentally did some Black Friday shopping on my walk to the metro that night, oops). Twas a beautiful day... this is the main building of the National Gallery of Art.

In Winter the fountain at the National Gallery of Art becomes an ice-skating rink. That's the National Archives and Record Administration building in the background.

Skating rink with no skaters. You better believe I stayed to watch that zamboni do its thing. Hypnotic my friends, hypnotic.

Cool silver tree sculpture in the NGA sculpture garden.

I dropped into the Museum of National History further down the Mall, as I’d seen something about live butterflies the last time I was there (to seen an imax movie) and, well, I’m a sucker for butterfly houses. Turns out you have to pay to get in with the butterflies, but it all turned out ok because (1) there were a heap of other live insects on display for free (giant centipedes for the win!), and (2) oh my god AMAZING exhibition hidden behind the live insects called “Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake.”

I completely nerded out in this exhibition. So many skeletons! Including several syphilitic skulls! (what, you don’t like looking at syphilitic skulls?) Other highlights:

Skull! Not syphilitic, but the round hole in the teeth? Caused by chewing on a pipe. Apparently this was a common thing back in the day! There was also a female skull with much smaller grooves in the teeth, caused by her holding pins in her mouth. Seamstress teeth! Amazing.

Tuberculosis in the spine! This photo doesn't convey the size very well, but seriously, this thing was so ridiculously compressed and small. Also amazing.

Do you now all think I’m a freak? Whatevs. BONES!

A couple of days later I took another long meandering walk, this time starting at Woodley Park and heading down through Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle to Logan Circle, and then all the way down 11th Street to E (where I saw a movie at the fabulous E Street Cinema). Hey, how about a helpful map to show you where I went! For those of you who have no idea where any of those places are! (i.e., most of you.)

Another beautiful day. This is the Connecticut Avenue Bridge, which crosses Rock Creek Park and links Woodley Park with Adams Morgan.

Logan Circle is pretty.

And another lovely walk today. Started at Pound the Hill, one of my all-time favourite places in DC, and somewhere I am going to seriously miss, especially as they’ve just introduced a range of delicious baked goods. Bread pudding muffins!

From Pound I headed up Pennsylvania to the Capitol, then down the Hill to the Botanic Gardens to check out their holiday display. I guess it must be a tradition of some sort? I was mostly baffled.

There was a big tree, which was nice...

...but then there were also all these models of buildings, both real and imaginary, seemingly made out of plant matter. Here's the Capitol Building...

...and the homes of various Presidents, surrounded by a model train set.

Botanic Gardens did, however, have this awesome festive moose outside.

Popped over to the National Museum of the American Indian, which was also a bit baffling, but that’s always been the case. Spent an hour or so in there, then kept on wandering down the Mall – got accosted by a guy outside the Air and Space Museum who wanted to tell me all about the wonders of yoga. Of course. He had a strange fixation on “heavy Australian dairy products.” wtf.

The Hirshhorn was looking lovely, all lit up in red (I assume for World AIDS Day).

And then there was this view. Ahh DC, I’m going to miss you.

(I will not miss the poor image quality of my cell phone camera.)

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