Armchair Road Trip Day 7: Congress, Lincoln, and That Damn Scooter!

September 6, 2020 — 2 Comments

mall selfie pair

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For our last day in DC, we walked from our hotel to the train station. Mtuseni’s Metro card never worked; he was always trapped at our destination and had to ask an attendant to let him out. Hahaha. He always looked so sheepish!

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U.S. Capitol building dome in Washington DC

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Saturday morning after Labor Day, the city seemed pretty quiet. Congress was impressive, though our guide zipped us through a little too quickly for my tastes. We couldn’t see the House or Senate chambers because I think they were in special session or something, probably prepping impeachment docs. 

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U.S. Congress rotunda dome inside in Washington DC

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As always, Mtuseni took photos of everything, including every giant painting in the rotunda.

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Great Fall in U.S. Congress building in Washington DC

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Paintings in the Great Hall of the rotunda of the U.S. Congress in Washington DC

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Back home this past summer, Mtuseni watched clips of John Lewis lying in state on TV. I was glad that he had the experience of being in that room… and learning about Rep. Lewis and “good trouble” and the civil rights movement. Your sense of self feels larger when you see a faraway place on TV and know you’ve been there. Maybe it will inspire him one day to help advance change in South Africa.

On the way out of the lobby in Congress I noticed a passage to the Library of Congress, so we followed it. It was not on my agenda. What a surprise… it’s stunning! I had no idea. 

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Painted vault ceiling in U.S. Library of Congress in Washington DC

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Decorated vault ceiling in Library of Congress in Washington DC

I’ll definitely come back to the Library of Congress to satisfy the closet research geek in me.

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exact man

The walls of the library are lined with quotes about knowledge. This one hit home for me.

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cong library pair

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supreme steps

It was cool to see the Supreme Court, but standing on those white marble steps on a late summer day is blinding and hot as hell!

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After the library we got lunch at the many food trucks that line the mall (and don’t do much for photographic aesthetics). Mtuseni wanted to try the rental scooters that were zipping around everywhere. I had no interest in breaking any bones, so I let him go.

I asked a woman riding one how much they were. She said 25 cents a mile. I thought, “Great, how far can he go? It’ll be like 4 or 5 bucks.” He drove off, grinning with his new toy and a little bit of freedom from me.

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mtu scooter

Freedom!

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I explored the Smithsonian Castle. It was nice to have a break from white marble, and the gardens in the back would have been perfect for a cappuccino, glass of wine, or a nap.

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Smithsonian castle in Washington DC

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smith sign

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smith dragonflies

Dragonflies in the Smithsonian Castle garden. A symbol of change and transformation, I was happy to see them.

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I walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and waited for Mtuseni to roll up. He had gone back up to Capitol Hill, then to the White House, just zipping around. He’d been in DC for a conference a few years earlier, so he liked being able to see the area again on his own. 

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Lincoln Memorial statue n Washington DC

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mtu dream space

Pretty cool for a South African kid to be standing on the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

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lincoln steps pair

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Later, waiting for the world’s slowest shuttle bus to the Metro, I got an alert on the scooter app that my card had been charged. The woman on the street was wrong. It wasn’t 25 cents a mile, but 25 cents a minute! Mtuseni’s little scoot around town cost me over 30 bucks!  

Mtuseni complained about his terrible park service sandwich the whole trip — and I will forever gripe about that damn Lime scooter ride!  

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the lime

Arghhhh…. that damn scooter!

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Compared to New York, our time in DC was less hectic, with a great hotel and no parking worries. I could spend a week or more there, exploring every corner of every museum. I was sad to leave, but the next leg of our adventure awaited — the South!

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Washington Monument and reflecting pool in Washington DC

 

2 responses to Armchair Road Trip Day 7: Congress, Lincoln, and That Damn Scooter!

  1. 

    Great photos, sounds like an amazing trip!

    Like

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