Washington DC – the Mall and Monuments

The White House

Having lived in Gaithersburg, MD, for a year,way back in the Eighties. It was quite the trip down memory lane to go into town and wander round Washington DC once again. Predictably the monuments don’t change much, I guess that’s the whole point of a monument… the Korean War Memorial was new to me, but everything else remains much the same, a reassuring thing.

It was a glorious day, but omg, so freezing old… I hadn’t worn thermals under my jeans and my thighs were numb by the time I got home…  I don’t have photos of the Holocaust Museum which was also a new one for me, it was an incredible place to visit and one I highly recommend. It strikes the right balance between interesting and arresting.

 

Strangers on a Train

Image by Tacluda

As I got on the train yesterday heading into the city, seats were few and far between. They often are on a Saturday morning as people head into market to get their weekly groceries.

A little old Asian lady sits on a seat, bags at her feet, bags beside her and while my first thought was a sigh at people taking up more room than they should, my second was a polite request to see if I may sit alongside her.

She apologised, and mid cough, removed her bag so I could sit.

We travelled along quietly, I, like most of my fellow passengers staring at my phone, playing games, clearing email, killing time.

She watches me and remarks on how clever phones are, how everyone seems to be on them and so I put mine down, smile at her, engaged, and listening.

It’s funny just how much ground you can cover in a 15minute train ride. We talked about the markets, the trains being replaced by buses, and about technology and about family.

She has two sisters living in France.

I asked her how it was possible for her to have come to Australia, and her two sisters to be living in France and so she told me…

About the Thai refugee camps.

About the waiting..,

With tears in her eyes, about seeing a person be shot and killed in front of her.

About only being aware of France and America as options of other places to go for safety and how it felt when it came time for HER choice that the doors to those places were closed, and how her sisters couldn’t sponsor her.

So she waited until they told her “You’re going to Australia”.

A place she’d never heard of.

A place she knew nothing about.

And she thanks her god every day that she ended up here.

With nod and a big smile she says, “Lucky, very Lucky!”

 

Yesterday talking to a stranger on the train.

I felt like the lucky one.

Arlington Cemetery – Washington, DC

Memorial Amphitheater

If you’re inclined to walk a lot (or need to increase the number of steps your fitbit registers), and you’re in Washington DC you can cover a LOT of ground having a look around Arlington National Cemetery. They have an excellent app that you can use to plan your visit and map your route. I made great use of it, but it should be pointed out that there’s only one entrance and exit… so my plan to walk in one end and out the other was thwarted… so I walked rather a lot further than I had planned to…  It was a very, very chilly day as you’ll note by the picture of frozen grass in the gallery below but the weather was stunning and the walk really worth it.

Drayton Hall Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina

Drayton Hall

If you’re interested in the Southern History and plantations of the South, Charleston has a number of places you can visit.  Drayton Hall was my choice as it’s been unrestored, it’s pretty much as it was left and while you’re not seeing lots of furniture and period reproductions that try to capture the history… you do get to see the building as it was built.

I was short on time so didn’t take a tour indoors. I did get a good walk around the exterior. It’s a great place to visit.

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