Touring Washington D.C in a day!

 Visiting places is fun, more so when you are at the capital city of U.S.A. I was invited by Google Inc. to attend the prestigious Ada Camp D.C held in Washington in July 2012. My three day trip was tightly packed, with two days spent at the conference venue and just one day left for sightseeing. There is so much to see at Washington D.C that it is near impossible to see them all in just one day. However, I managed to make the maximum out of my visit, and here are some tips for those who are planning to go to the U.S for sightseeing.
An airplane flying over the Potomac River, Washington D.C

 

Getting prepared: 

  •          If you have running shoes, pack them up! The city is seriously obsessed with running! So, join the insanity and do the sightseeing while jogging past your favourite tourist spots! If you are not a big fan of jogging, you could consider taking a bike tour or a bus tour.
  •             Camera is a must. Stop at the 19 foot long Lincoln Memorial, the sparkling Hope Diamond at Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the spiky Washington Monument to click a few snaps. I bet those pictures would be your most prized possessions once you reach back home!
  •             Get a map of the city. Maps are available for free at tourist spots and most restaurants.
In front of the Washington monument

 

Good morning!

Step back in time at one of the old fashioned restaurants in Dupont circle to have a scrumptious breakfast. Get a taxi and head to the Lincoln memorial by sunrise. It feels great to watch the Washington monument bathed in gold just after sunrise. Then move to the Potomac River and have a paddle boat ride to view the capital’s best monuments on the banks of the river.

At the Lincoln Memorial

 

Good afternoon!

The latest food trend in D.C is to follow the city’s food trucks. The trucks offer everything from muffins to sandwiches, so make sure that you enjoy some of the America’s indigenous delicacies. Then march ahead to the Smithsonian group of museums which showcase a wide variety of artifacts, exhibits and videos. The Air and Space museum and the Natural History museum are especially child friendly, so do not forget to take your kids there!

The specimen of the stuffed African Elephant at Smithsonian Natural History Museum
Exhibits at the Smithsonian Museum

 

Good evening!
It is evening and you haven’t yet finished strolling through the museums! Now it is time to go to the White House. Though getting an entry pass is hard, one could always get near the gates and pose for a picture near one of its gates. There are plenty of gift shops around, so do not forget to buy stuff for your relatives back home from here!
Good night!
The best place to hang out at night is one of the disco clubs or outdoor movie houses. Pamper your taste buds by eating a caramelized black cod or steamed fish with picklebacks for dinner!
Wikimania evening party in the Library of Congress, D.C

 

If time permits:
Go to the U.S botanical and zoological gardens. I missed this part, and I can’t yet forgive myself for missing it. This is the best place for kids to appreciate various ecosystems and diversity of the earth.
The locals are extremely friendly. The city has signboards and maps at every nook and corner, so there are no chances for you getting lost. If you are planning to do some heavy shopping, stroll over to Georgetown, where you’ll get plenty of souvenirs.
 
I couldn’t believe that the day ended so quickly! I had a very memorable time at D.C that I felt like not going back home!

PS: Thanks to Dr. Jayakrishnan for correcting one of the obvious errors in this article. 🙂

Photographs

You may not have forgotten the prototype of a camera, which stands on the high tripod stand, covered with a black veil. You may even remember that grumbling cameraman who shouts out instructions for at least half an hour before taking the first snap, his two light boys who hold up big electric torches and occasionally an assistant who holds out an umbrella at an oblique angle to prevent unnecessary light from entering the camera.The camera was an object of wonder to all the kids. A few of them actually managed to touch the camera when the cameraman is not watching. Let me share with you my experience of viewing two school photographs of 10 th grade students, one taken in 1975, and the other taken in 2008.

The 1975 photograph has a painted iron frame, rusting at the edges. It is covered with a thin glass sheet on the front and a cardboard on the rear end. The long and narrow photograph has yellowed with age. The school seal is pressed over the photograph. The school officials are sitting in the front row and the students are standing in two rows. None of them is smiling. The boys have oiled hair, parted neatly into two equal halves. They have pockets with flaps, one on each side of the chest. Only two girl students are seen in the photo, and both are wearing Saree. Their oiled hair is neatly pleated and stretches beyond their shoulders. Two people, one teacher and one student, are blinking. All of them are focusing on the camera.

The black-and-white-photo is an ample proof for the fact that that, back in 1975, God was yet to invent colours.

The 2008 photograph is laminated and the date of taking the photograph is printed in bold letters on top of the photograph. The school officials are sitting in the front row, the girls are standing in the next two rows, and the boys occupy the last two rows. All of them are wearing uniforms. A few boys have their hands in their pockets and the rest of the boys have their hand around the next person’s neck. All of them are smiling or laughing. They are not staring intently at the camera, but are looking carelessly at it. Not everybody has combed their hair. Some boys have pierced one ear to wear an earring. Most of the girls have let their hair loose. Over one-fourth of the students are wearing spectacles. None of them is blinking. The background of the photograph is the crimson red sky.

This is how times change, and photographs too.