W had a conference in DC so we headed straight there from Florida. While he was busy during the day I went out and took in all the sights, and as many museums as I could, then we had from Thursday afternoon until Sunday together to explore.
I was really impressed by the Capitol, and by just how accessible the system of government was. Brad’s brother works for a congressman from Georgia and arranged a tour for us, but unfortunately a “Tea Party” of ultra-conservatives decided to protest against healthcare that day so it was very busy. After the demonstration all the people went to the Senate and Congress buildings to make their case against their Congressmen etc, so we thought we’d never get in to the Georgia congressman’s office (you can just walk right in to your Senator or Gongressman’s office)! We took the back entrance and avoided all the horrible chanting though. We had a tour of the Capitol and got a pass into the House Gallery. It was amazing to have the ability to watch the debating and voting. Debating was on environmental policy (seemed to be about increasing security for chemicals used in industry, to safeguard against terrorism.) For the voting, the congresspeople swiped their card and pressed the green or red button – that was it! All the names were up on a big screen and you could see who voted yes or no (only Ron Paul was voting no in the two votes we saw). It was a privilege to be able to see how government worked.
I spent a lot of time walking the mall. Our feet were in bits by the end of each day. I also got to see my friend Kelly and her baby girl Itsaso – just back from a long trip to Europe!
W loved the chance to go to the National Air and Space Museum again. It was his favourite as a child, especially the Skylab. Who knew a wannabe astronaut would become an astrophysicist?
On one of the days I got to try out three new American foods – a Tootsie Roll for breakfast (!), a chili dog for lunch, and Old Bay Maryland crabs for dinner. The crab shack really brought back W’s childhood – he’s been wanting the chance for more for two decades!