“Man it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun” (Rob Thomas and Santana – ‘Smooth’) and it sure was today! It was 90F here in Washington D.C. (32C) and whilst that mightn’t sound too amazing to many of my readers, I think the fact that there is so much bitumen and concrete around here increases the intensity of the heat. Not to mention the fact that we walked at least 5.6 miles (9klms) in the sun/partial shade. I even heard words to the effect of “It’s too hot” come out of my wife’s mouth right after we’d come out of an air conditioned museum (this is far from a common occurrence, so I relished the moment somewhat).
A word of thanks must be given to my wife’s twin for making a wonderful pot of porridge for us all this morning – made for a good start to the day. We again split off today and my wife and I went and looked at a couple of the things that we didn’t get to yesterday. First on the agenda was going to see Abraham Lincoln and on the way there we walked past the reflecting pool. This, to my wife, was somewhat like walking on a treadmill with someone frying you like an ant with a giant magnifying glass… the way there seemed to get longer and longer and hotter and hotter. But, we did eventually make it and it was certainly worth it.
Being here in America, specifically in Washington D.C. has helped me fill in some of the gaps in my American knowledge. Whilst I knew that Lincoln had done some pretty fantastic things, it was good to read of his part in abolishing the slave trade and to read a couple of his addresses which are carved on the walls either side of his statue. I did find it a bit disturbing that the ‘housing’ around him is called a ‘temple’ and was reminded even with my own interest in America, the founding fathers, conservative principles etc. that it is not them I worship but God. It is easy to quickly make the jump between admiring something/someone and seeking to replicate their good example but then moving to the point where you worship ‘that thing’ or ‘that person’ instead of the positives displayed by them.
After Lincoln and the reflecting pool we sought out some lunch. We went down a street which lead to what looked like more of a business type district and after asking a kind African man if a certain store was about, found a nice restaurant to have some lunch in and even found a beer known to us (Guiness) that my wife in particular enjoyed (she’s been struggling with the taste of the American craft beers here, they are often VERY flavoursome and quite bitter, a real punch in the mouth… I like it! 😛 ).
People had suggested that it would be so, but we’ve had some great experiences with waiters/waitresses here. I realise it’s in their best interests to give good service when (much of the time) their wage is largely based off tips, but many of them have been really nice and it makes the whole dining out experience that much more enjoyable.
So after lunch we went to the Smithsonian American History Museum. There were various interesting things in here including: toys, food, transportation. But of particular interest to me was some of the history of the presidency, the flag (we got to see the original!) and some of those more political things. One thing I found most interesting though was the section for African American history. In a country/culture where we are so bent on getting rid of racism (lest I be misunderstood I think getting rid of racism is good) I found it interesting how African Americans had a section unto themselves – why not put them interspersed with the rest of American history, is not African American history a part of American history?? (I offer this video where Morgan Freeman is interviewed to, in part, illustrate my point, it’s only a minute long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s ). Now if the point is to shine a light on a particular people group and show their history without distraction from various other groups then I understand that, just as one might show the history of white men, Jewish history, Christian history etc. etc. but we can run a narrow line where we offer a formerly mistreated people group unequal treatment (by giving them too much attention) or relegate them to their own section (essentially ‘segregating’ them once more)… or maybe I just think about things too hard!
After the museum we made the walk home and marvelled at the architecture around Washington D.C., it really is a beautiful place and even my wife (again with the “even my wife…”) said that she could live here… I heard that, I noted that… I’m on that!
Just now we went out to dinner at a French restaurant, which even had frog legs! It was a good meal, I was still fairly full from lunch (<— there it is in writing!) and now we’re still somewhat baking away at 81F (27C).
Nighty night y’all, God bless.