Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Commentary & Captions from a Capital Excursion - Day 3

The Obligatory DC Math Lesson

Washington D.C. is divided into four quadrants with the United States Capitol Building (highlighted in yellow below) being the mid-point. Well, sort of the mid-point. If you look on the map, you will notice the Potomac River to the west. When Virginia received part of the District back, this severed the near perfect square of 10 miles on every side. Maryland borders DC at the other boundaries.

We spent most of Friday walking the northwest quadrant. I emphasize the walkng because if you every visit, be prepared! This time we got off the closest subway and walked the uphill 1/2 mile to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (the small red square on the map). 

The Beast Has No Burdens!

St. Louis boast the best free zoo in the United States and is in the top 3 of almost every list - free or fee (examples: here, here, and here in a top 10 list that's in no order). With that in mind, we were not interested in traipsing through the entire zoo; our primary interest was to see the panda bears. It is worth it! They were enjoying a lazy day as the pictures indicates but not only are they fun to see, it is even more enjoyable watching all the children that were in our midst (and remember, there were always children in our midst) as they got excited over the giant pandas.

Get Me to the Church on Time

As we exited the zoo, we pondered the best way to get to the National Cathedral. In our effort to maximize time, and after missing the Big Bus, a quick map search showed that we could easily walk rather than wait another 30 minutes for the next bus. Right and wrong. It was quicker. It was not an easy walk! It was quite literally uphill the entire mile. Google maps doesn't include this information.

The Washington National Cathedral appears in site about 1/4 of a mile before you get to it. Although we tried, a picture simply doesn't capture the length of the main sanctuary. I would guess that it was about 3/4 of a city block long. Along the sides and in the basement are other "smaller" chapels, though some of them were bigger than most church sanctuaries in America. The Cathedral is Episcopalian and at this site, we were proudly told of their new option of Buddha worship. It was added the week we were there and is quite sad. This massive and beautiful display of architecture that is supposed to be to the glory of God and yet it is used in such a way that contradicts the claim of Jesus in John 14.6:
I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.

Your Overseas 911

From the Cathedral we headed back downtown via the Big Bus route that went down Embassy Row (part of Massachusetts Avenue) to view over 45 of the 177 embassies located in DC. Several other embassies were just barely in site of the street. The Vice-president's home is at one end of Embassy Row, Number One Observatory Circle, but it is not visible from the road. Embassy Row is one of those parts of DC that many bypass but is well worth the quick see. What exactly is an embassy? I loved this anwer concerning our embassies: 
In many ways, the U.S. Embassy is your 911 when overseas. 
When you are in your country's embassy, it is as though you are in your country! 

Having been to Romania several times, Scott was excited to see their embassy.
Something was going on at the Vatican embassy but we have no idea what.
This statute is of Winston Churchill. The Prime Minister is standing with one foot on Britain’s embassy grounds. He is said to have on foot in Great Britain and one in the United States!

Bond, James Bond

The International Spy Museum was next on the list. Home of real and big screen spies, their stories, their methods and their instruments, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War when General George Washington employed spy tactics towards gaining our country's independence. At the beginning of the exhibit, you have the option of playing a spy game as you explore. Scott and Kim played along, I opted out. They both enjoyed the Spy Museum but it would be low-priority on my recommended places to visit.

Oh look! Another fountain pen made it into the pictures.

Take Me Out to My 14th Ballpark!

Our last stop of the day made traveling on a busy weekend worth it. After another trip to Walgreen's (this is a necessity on all trips), we boarded the subway and 3 stops later were at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, who just happened to be hosting the St. Louis Cardinals! It's a bit difficult to know which is which - care to guess?

We arrived in time to watch the Cardinals take batting practice. During BP, the pitchers congregate in the outfield to shag balls. They do more congregating than shagging! It was a blast watching them cut up with each other and occasionally with the fans. Carlos Matinez tossed a ball to a kid in the stands. Much to Carlos' surprise, the kid tossed it back to him, so he threw it back to the kid. They played catch for a bit and then Matinez went back to cutting up with his teammates. 

Six different presidents sport their presidential order number on their jersey - #1 George Washington, #3 Thomas Jefferson, #16 Lincoln, #26 Theodore Roosevelt, #27 Willaim Taft and #30 Calvin Coolidge. Stats on how these six were chosen can be found here. They run a race in between at bats of one of the innings. No pictures of the race, but it is quite a site! 

The final game night picture is of a Dalmatian. No, not a mascot. The night that we were at the game, it was "Pups in the Park" night. With a special ticket, you could bring your dog to the game and many people did! Some of the dogs were so big that I think maybe they brought their people to a game!

Good guys won! 6-2. The box score is in the books and so was our Friday.

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