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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pennsylvania Avenue

With less than three months to go before our (tentative) posting to Shanghai 上海, crunch time is upon us. No only are my Mandarin Chinese classes proving to be an endless study (rimshot) in frustration, but now a number of things that need to be addressed before we go are starting to stand up and demand that they be counted. With D.C.'s beautiful autumn weather showing no sign of letting up, however, today seemed as good as any to not do anything constructive other than to enjoy the afternoon with my loved ones. And so we took the Metro to Metro Center, and walked the few blocks to Pennsylvania Avenue, that long stretch of road running between the White House and the U.S. Capitol that Barack Obama will parade down in triumph (again) on January 20. Our journey on that storied stretch wasn't quite as long, historic or celebrated, but we had a good time nonetheless. 

Pershing Park is noted for its ice skating rink in winter. The lack of ice and the fact that she doesn't know how to skate didn't deter my daughter from showing us how it's done.

Amber poses with the General (sort of) at the John J. Pershing Memorial

The Willard Hotel is one of Washington's most historic and luxurious

The main corridor of the Willard practically defines the word "plush"

In the Willard's gift shop, Mitt Romney campaign paraphernalia were a bargain with prices up to 75% off.

The concierge kindly took some photos of us as a family unit inside the galleried lobby.

Amber smiles for the camera outside in Freedom Plaza. Behind her can be seen the Capitol and the Old Post Office.


The Old Post Office. Completed in 1914, it's a beautiful building that currently serves as a shopping center and food court. Donald Trump, unfortunately, has plans to turn it into the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C. 

Outside, Benjamin Franklin ("Philosopher, Printer, Philanthropist, Patriot") tries to look cheerful as he awaits his fate at the hands of the Donald.

The thing to do inside the Old Post Office is to take the elevators up to the 270 foot-high (82 meters) observation tower. According to one of the park rangers, the views today extended out to 15 miles (24 kilometers). Here's the view looking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol Building.

On the way back down from the tower, we paused to look at the Congress Bells. These were a gift from London to celebrate the Bicentennial in 1976, and are modeled after the bells in Westminster Abbey.

The atrium

Leaving the Old Post Office, we walked a couple more blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Navy Memorial, across the street from the National Archives (to be visited on another day). The memorial is part of a wide plaza that includes 26 bronze relief panels, which illustrate some of the missions the navy has undertaken throughout its history. The one above reads "Opening Japan for Commerce", referring, of course, to the Perry Expedition of 1854, and its notorious "black ships" 黒船.

The navy apparently has a sense of humor, as the caption of the above plaque reads "LST - Landing Ship Tanks. Fondly Known As Large Slow Targets". 

Hey there, sailor, need a lift?

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