DC at Night
This was something I wanted to do the last time I was in DC. Only because I had heard from more than a few people that it was a beautiful sight seeing the memorable portions of the National Mall at night. I had been wondering ever since then what it would be like to see them all lit up. I was able to find out firsthand this time around. Even if it meant sacrificing others that I wouldn't be able to see because of the darkness.
What I was initially shooting was one of those double-decker buses. They had the exposed top so I would even be able to take pictures as the bus was driving. I specifically asked the concierge at the front desk about that when I queried about the evening tour. They directed me to this Zohery Tours that did evening tours, but it was just a standard enclosed tour bus that made stops. That would be another knock on the Liaison hotel to add to the reasons why they left me disappointed.
They started us off with the Capitol Building which was right up the street from the hotel. They tour bus was scheduled to make a few stops where we could get out and take pictures and that was one of them. Worked out great for me because it was also one of the monuments I didn't get to catch on my last visit. I made sure that I got ample pics at every one of the stops we made. It's just too bad that I couldn't get some of the sites that she pointed out as she was driving. My cameara just didn't want to cooperate with trying to shoot thru a window in the dark. You can still see the ones I did get in the lastet photo album "DC at Night".
The best thing about the guided tour was being able to hear some of the trivial facts about the different sites and/or monuments that I would not have otherwise known. I suppose I could have always googled the different ones to find out the same information, but that just wasn't the same. Our tour guide (I wish I would have caught her name) was a southern older sista who made the ride interesting with her attempts at humor while she shared some of the following tidbits with us:
- The flags on either side of the Capitol Building are only up when that particular branch of office (either the House or the Senate) is in session. It was after 7pm when we first pulled up and both flags were still up
- The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was built primarily because Thomas Jefferson was upset that other presidents had their own memorial and he didn't have one
- The 58 steps in the front of the Lincoln Memorial represent President Lincoln's age at the time he was assassinated
- Three of the soldiers represented in the Iwo Jima memorial (the famous picture of the Marines putting up the American flag) died before they got a chance to see the memorial completed
- Robert E. Lee's house was intentionally left intact in its location in close proximity to Arlington Cemetery to subliminally serve as a lesson to the South
- The woman who was the head of the Labor Department for 12 years (can't remember her name either) was the only woman to be in labor for 12 years. You had to actually be there to fully appreciate that joke
Something else I learned from not just that tour but just being in DC in general is those folks will build a statute and/or memorial about anything and everything. I swear everybody and their mama had something built and/or erected in their honor in that city. It seemed like every block you traveled there was one. Or one about to go up. Which also meant there was tons of construction all around the city. Another thing that seemed to be very consistent throughout our nation's capitol.
I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to get a better look at two memorials in particular that I didn't have access to last time. The first being the Jefferson Memorial. It wasn't within reasonable walking distance of the National Mall so I didn't get a chance to see it up close until this trip. It was interesting how Jefferson made sure that his statue looked so imposing. It was even more intriguing how all of the monuments seem to have an incredible view of the Washington monument from different angles.
The other I missed before was The Three Soldiers at the Vietnam Memorial. They were being refurbished when I was there last time so they were blocked off with no one able to get access. This time I could get right next to them to get some excellent shots. I just wish I could have gotten there in the day at least for that one to get even better photos.
Tour Guide Sista informed us that the one stop she would normally make that we would have to miss was the FDR monument. I didn't even realize he had one. It makes sense that he should though given the fact he was President for four terms and one of those being during the Great Depression. The description she gave of it made me want to see it more. However, the fact that it was unavailable because they were working on a new MLK memorial was quite alright with me. It's just another reason for me to get back to DC yet again.