Monday, July 19, 2010

Vacation: Day Three

Sunday we decided to do D.C. First priority was the Museum of American History, current home of Julia Child's kitchen. Francoise and I agreed to meet by the Info desk after an hour. In that time, she saw all three levels of the museum. I, on the other hand, saw Julia Child's kitchen. I loved soaking in her falling in love with France, her following her passion, and her joie de vivre. And then there was the love story between Julia and Paul, which always fills my heart. I discovered there's a new biography of her now.
Other exhibits of interest were the Spark Lab, where I saw kids playing with lots of colorful and mentally stimulating games and "designing" a robot. The Inventors' gallery showed many uses for Kevlar and the steps in designing the first baby stroller: understand, observe, visualize (where the team drew strollers with different personalities, such as elegant and practical, and then built models with Legos), evaluate, refine, and implement. Did you know that chain saws did not have teeth until an inventive man noticed a jagged-toothed timber beetle larva cut through a tree faster than he did with his smooth-blade chain saw? And paper making today is still based on the method someone in the 1700s developed upon observing wasps making nests? And the deck shoe was invented in 1935 by a boater who observed his dog was surefooted on his boat, so the boater designed a shoe sole patterned after his dog's paw? And the U.S. Patent Office has more patents for mousetraps than for any other item?
Second priority of the day was for Francoise to see the front of the White House, so we walked through the Ellipse, past the White House Christmas Tree, to the very well-guarded wrought iron gate, where we fiddled with our telephoto lenses to try to capture more than a white blob at the bottom of the photo. Temps had to be near 100 degrees, and both of us had puffed faces, swollen feet, and empty energy for the third priority, the Jefferson Memorial. But we discovered if we stood by the Christmas Tree and used our newfound telephoto skills, we could at least get a photo of the Jefferson Memorial that didn't look like a white blob at the bottom of the frame. Then we schlepped back to our Metro station.

Wish I'd had a nickel for every Segway Safari group that whizzed by us. On Constitution Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, on 7th Street, across the Ellipse ~ helmeted Segway riders zipped in single file, looking like parades of Pez dispensers. I imagined their feet probably didn't hurt as much as
ours did, but they probably were just as sweaty. Oh man, what a humid day.

On the Yellow Line back to Huntington station, Francoise got to see the most shockingly obese person she'd ever seen. And I got to see quite a few people sing as they got on the subway. Three girls sang and pounded out the beat the whole ride.

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