24 January 2009


So, I made it back from the Inauguration in one piece and finally have some time to report on the festivities. It was AWESOME. I mean, really, everything was great, everyone was so nice, I couldn't have asked for more. I'll steal from EDP and go the random reflection route (you can click on the photos to enlarge):

  • The button at the top is my second favorite of the many buttons I acquired (he just looks so handsome and happy on that one). We got into a bit of a souvenir frenzy there for a moment, but we didn't get too out of hand. My favorite button was this one, made by Lady Byron and BSH. Everyone in our party got one.

  • I went to the concert on Sunday night. It was really fun, but some of the celebrity stuff was odd, like were kept wondering...did Jack Black, Ashley Judd, and Tiger Woods really have much to add to the proceedings? Also, they replayed the concert on the jumbotrons over and over throughout the weekend, so I became well acquainted with the program. Invariably, whenever we stepped out onto the Mall, we heard either that screechy "You'll Never Walk Alone" (I mean, I'm sure Renee Fleming is awesome and all, I just can't stand operatic sopranos), or freaking Garth Brooks doing "Shout". Of course, we also heard the U2 part a lot, which was extra amusing because BSH, the 5 year-old-child in our party, who resides in England, totally recognized them every time they came on. Also, when we heard Beyonce was performing, I couldn't help picturing her coming out and doing "Single Ladies" complete with the leotard, back-up dancers, and robot hand. And of course, I then had that song stuck in my head for quite some time. It didn't help that JRob kept periodically sneaking up behind me and singing it at me.

  • Man, was it ever cold. I've heard 8 degrees with the wind chill. The actual temperature never got out of the 20's. This Florida girl had to bundle her ass up!

  • Everyone was so nice. I mean, like to a ridiculous degree. Even when we were in crushing crowds, no one lost their cool, or even really complained. Like when we had to climb over something (which was actually surprisingly often) there was always a person waiting to take your hand and help you down. Not like an official person, just a random good Samaritan. When I heard that there had been no arrests it was like "of course not, everyone was so well behaved." Another example happened on the shuttle from the metro stop to the hotel (we were staying out in Bethesda). It was this little mini bus that had seating for like 17 or so, and there were way more of us than that waiting in the cold to get on. We all piled in, but the driver said it was against hotel regulations for people to stand in the aisle (even though the bus had hand rails for that purpose.) The people in the aisle were going to get off, but everyone was like, "nope, if everyone has to be seated, then we will all sit." People put their children on their laps, squished 2 and 3 people into seats for 1 or 2, and everyone made it on board. One woman even yelled out "yes we can" which awesome

  • I think my face has finally stopped peeling from the ridiculous windburn I got from the Arctic winds sweeping down the Mall.

  • With all the celebrities in town, who do I cross paths with? Pat Buchanan and Bush #1. Come on. I couldn't have seen Bono or Samuel L. Jackson, or really anyone even remotely cool? Here's Pat, if you are interested: (He's the tiny dude in sunglasses. You can click on the photo to enlarge, if you really need to see him. I didn't want to get too close, some of the hatred and vitriol might have gotten on me...)

  • On Monday, we went the the Museum of American History (which I had actually just been to last month) In the main rotunda (where the Foucault Pendulum used to be, alas...that was one of my very favorite things in DC) they have little informal programs throughout the day with people dressed in historical costumes giving little talks and demonstrations. We happened in right at the start of one featuring a young man dressed as MLK. He talked about events from King's life and read parts of his speeches (and this kid was good, obviously a trained actor, and he had his King down) which were interspersed with recordings from the actual speeches. Then, at the end, he had everyone join hands and sing "We Shall Overcome". While it probably was exactly as hokey as it sounds, I have to say that on MLK day, on the day before the inauguration of the first African-American President, and just a few yards away from the Star-Spangled Banner (the actual giant flag that was flying over Fort McHenry and that the National Anthem was written about) is was moving as hell.

  • After all the scaremongering about the port-a-potties, I never even had to use one (God bless my hearty constitution and carefully controlled liquid intake.) Even if I had, there were plenty (here you can see some artfully arranged with the White House in the background) and I saw no lines or people peeing in random places.

  • While the Byrons, JRob, and I all made it down to the Mall together and staked out our spot to watch the festivities, we managed to get separated. JRob and I wanted to walk down the Mall to check out stuff up closer the the Capitol. We did, (we got up about to the Air and Space Museum before we couldn't move any more) but then we separated. She wanted to wait in line to get into The Castle, so I said I would meet her back at Byron base camp. But, I soon discovered that I couldn't get back to base camp. 14th street, which I had crossed earlier, was now closed off and monitored by Army dudes. I wandered and wandered and got swept up in crowds and jumped a barricade and finally got back to the general area (we were down by the Washington Monument) before I had to give up. The festivities were about to begin so I found a spot near a jumbotron and settled in. Strangely enough, all 5 of us magically ended up at the Farragut North Metro Station as exactly the same time for the trip back to the hotel.

  • My book for the trip was American Wife, which was a bit surreal considering the occasion. The main character is a Laura Bush like figure and some of the things that happen are based on the real events in her life. (By the way, the book is awesome...highly recommended.) I only happened to be reading it on the trip because I had requested from the library ages ago and I finally made it to the top of the list. A fortuitous turn of events, because it was the perfect book for the trip...sort of topical and totally engrossing (which is what I look for in an airplane book, it keeps me from having to chat with my seatmates)

  • I discovered that it's almost impossible to take a photo of a crown when you are in the crowd. Here is my best attempt:
    But, I think it might be a task better left to the professionals:

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