Monday, I slept till about 10.30, and then just hung around CreativeMGE's house, using her internet to catch up on stuff, and then after she finished work, we ate dinner (late), and then decided to go look at the memorials by night. Wow, so amazing. The first one we went to was the FDR memorial, which was my favourite. This memorial takes you through the five stages of his presidency, with each stage as a 'room'. It was amazingly peaceful (as you would imagine at 1am, but still beautiful), and it was nice listening to the night sounds as we wandered through the memorial. Possibly my favourite part of the memorial were the quotes lining the walls - he sounds like the kind of person I'd like to have lunch with!
After walking through the FDR memorial, we stopped and took photos of the Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument, and then walked around the tidal basin, under the cherry trees (unfortunately not in flower right now), toward the Jefferson Memorial. Another beautiful memorial, it looked like it was glowing from where we were taking photos. Inside is a gigantic statue of Thomas Jefferson, and around the edges are quotes (the Americans like quotes!).
We walked back to the car, and drove round to the Washington Monument, where we walked up to it, and I got to feel the stone with my bare hands :D There was a breeze getting up now, which definitely helped with the hot night! And it made the flags all around the monument wave briskly :D
Then we drove to see the World War Two Memorial, which was interesting - there was someone who we think was fishing for change in the pool. After that we made our way round to the Korean war memorial, which for me was the most striking, especially in the dark. We walked up to it, and these eerie statues suddenly start coming in to view, and behind, faces etched in black stone.
When we'd finished looking at all the faces, we walked across to the Vietnam war memorial. Unfortunately my camera battery died while looking at the Korean memorial, so no pics of this one :( Once we'd done, we walked back to the car, and I fell asleep driving home.
Tuesday, I didn't wake up till about midday (oops), and, after lengthy discussions on how we wanted to plan out the rest of the week, we decided to go to the National Arboretum that afternoon. It closed at 5.30, so we raced off, and had just enough time to see three of the gardens. The first thing we visited were the columns originally built for the capitol, but weren't strong enough to hold it up...they looked really funny standing basically alone on the top of a small rise! I really liked the small fountain that went down the steps though...
We then headed to the youth garden, which is a project for children to come and plant vegetables/flowers in the garden - this was my favourite! Tons of flowers, my favourites were the sunflowers, and vegetables in the garden. There were some beautiful butterflies too - and I saw a hummingbird! I didn't realise how small they are - it was beautiful, and I would have thought it was a large insect if CreativeMGE didn't point it out to me.
We just had time to go and look at the Asian Garden, which was gorgeous as well - really quiet and peaceful. These gardens looked down to a lake, and the large trees, mixed with shrubs made it feel a little like home :-)
Once we got home, we decided to have Thai for dinner, so we headed to a Thai restaurant near Maria's house, called Tara Thai. Tara means water (I think), and the restaurant was decorated in a sea theme - lots of blue! I ordered my 'usual', pad thai, which only came with shrimp, which is different, but it was nice! And Maria got a curry, which was HOT!
The next day, we caught the metro in the DC and saw a 3D iMax movie about the deep sea, which was really interesting, although there weren't any dolphins in it :( The movie talked about different parts of the sea, and how they depend on each other to keep each other in check... After the movie, we met my friend Amanda (friend from camp) for lunch at the Corner Bakery. We chatted for ages, and then went to a gift shop I'd been to earlier in the month when some of us went to the White House.
After that we went to the Holocaust museum, and got tickets to see the main exhibit. This is one amazing museum. When you go in, you get a little book with the story of someone who was sent to one of the concentration camps. I got a 12 year old girl who was sent to Auschwitz and was killed shortly after arriving. As you went up in the elevator to the top floor, you watched a video of an American soldier talking about discovering one of the concentration camps. Then, when you got out of the lift, there were pictures and a video of one of the concentration camps. This part, plus the booklet were what got me the most. I think sometimes I get caught up in the statistics, which are horrifying, but when you consider that all those people had family, friends, lives, dreams, hopes of their own, they become so much worse...
I kind of rushed through it a bit, we had a limited amount of time, and I thought the museum closed at 5, not 5.30, plus, I wanted to see the childrens exhibit too, so I was done by just before 5, and had to wait for Amanda and Maria...had a look in the gift shop, which had some interesting books!
After we'd done, Maria realised she'd left her phone at the Corner Bakery, so she went to find it, and Amanda and I went to Borders, where Maria met us. We spent a couple of hours there, looking at ASL books...increasing my knowledge of ASL!
We left borders about 9, and went to a felafel place in Adams Morgan - it was GOOOOD! After dinner, we walked back to the metro, said goodbye to Amanda, and went home.
When we got home, we sat around for a bit, and then decided to go to the beach to look at the stars...so we packed up our sleeping bags, food, etc, and drove 3 hours to Ocean City. It was a beautiful night, and you could see heaps more stars there than you could from Kensington! Danged light pollution... still not as many as at home though :( I fell asleep on the beach, listening to the surf, and wrapped up in Maria's sleeping bag, and woke up about 6, when the sun was starting to rise. Gorgeous sunrise! I couldn't be bothered going to get my camera though...
Once the sun had fully risen, we left and drove home, stopping once so Maria could have a nap. Once we got back to her place we slept for a bit longer :D That afternoon, we went to the at&t shop and I got a plan for my cellphone, which is now working :-)
That evening we went to a free outdoor movie - Slumdog Millionaire - which I've seen before, but enjoyed it the second time round too!
The next day we drove out to Baltimore to the aquarium, which I'd heard was really good by some people from camp, who went on one of the sponsored trips. They have an exhibit on Australia there at the moment, so we started there, and I had some fun taking pics of a toy kangaroo I got given (called Crikey and Ocka after the two Australians at camp). No aquatic drop bears sadly, but there were some cool fish there! And apparently the 'wet season' happens every year!
After looking around Australia, we went and had a look at an exhibit on jellyfish, which had some awesome looking jellyfish in it! Photos will be uploaded to flickr at some point :-) They even had some we get at home - moon jellies, whos sting doesn't hurt people.
Then we went to see the dolphin show, which was cool! I <3 dolphins :D
After the dolphin show, we went to look at the main exhibit, which was pretty cool - the sharks/stingrays/turtles/reef fish were my favourite! And we saw some sloths which was pretty cool - a little weird for an aquarium to have sloths though!
Once we'd done looking at the aquarium, we tried to hook up with the person I'm staying with now, but we couldn't get a hold of them, so we went and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe...uber cool, and the waiter was super funny!
Next day and we had to get up early (well 8.30), to go to the post office, and then meet Amanda for brunch at Poets & Busboys, a cafe/bookshop in DC, which was yummy :D We left Amanda about 1pm, she had to drive home for her job starting today, and we went home so I could pack to leave for Pennsylvania.
We left for PA about 7, and made it here about 8.30, when I realised I'd left my cellphone at Maria's house :( (luckily she drove up today to bring it back!), where we met Cafekat and her partner at the Glen Rock Mills Inn, where her partner was playing. Stayed until about 1am, and then followed Cafekat and her room mate home to her partners house (confused yet!) because she'd locked her keys in her car!
Yesterday I slept super late, and we had pancakes for breakfast (my first home cooked meal!), and Maria left, and we veged until leaving for a pool party at one of Cafekat's friends places. PA is so beautiful, really green, kind of like home, but the hills aren't as big...
Today I just hung out, chatting, updating, playing on facebook etc, Maria came over to deliver my cellphone, and we're off to open mic night tonight :D
Tomorrow I'm off to the dentist (I think my gum is infected), and then Thursday I'm catching the train up to New York for the night, before leaving for Toronto the day after.