Saturday, July 16, 2011

Washington, D.C. Redux

Today turned out to be more fun than I had originally anticipated it to be. Today we visited Washington, D.C. Considering this was my fourth time visiting our capitol, I felt right at home. The difference this time was that I would be spending my time with new friends and people that I had never visited D.C. with, except of course Brian and Julia. I had an excellent time seeing the capitol.

We woke up at 7:00 this morning so we could board the bus at 7:45, which was the planned time of departure. Once we started driving, we did not stop for another two and a half hours. It was a very long drive. Half the bus was sleeping, and the rest were either listening to their iPods or watching Inglorious Bastards. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and sleep a little bit more. I woke up with about half an hour of driving time left. Soon we had arrived in Georgetown, where we left the bus behind and hiked to Georgetown University.

We were given about an hour and a half to do as we wished in the Georgetown area. We could either take a tour given by Elliot (one of our RC’s), wander the campus on our own, or walk around the college town area and grab lunch. We opted for the latter and decided to go into the college town. We ate at a restaurant called Georgetown Wings Co. and then got free popsicles from West Elm Furniture. This was basically all we had time to do in Georgetown because of the long walk between the campus and 30th Street, which is where we could go to hang out if we weren’t touring Georgetown. We regrouped at Healy Hall and gathered at our respective busses and headed for the National Mall.

We were allowed to roam for about two hours in the National Mall so we had a lot of options with what we could see. The eight of us, Brian, Julia, Richard, Abheek, Onur, Alison, Fred, and I, decided to walk around and take pictures before visiting any museums. We walked around in the middle of the Mall on the fields of grass and took pictures of each other in front of various buildings and monuments that were actually off in the distance. We also sat at the edge of a long pool of water across from the Capitol Building for quite some time. After taking photos we made our way to the Air and Space Smithsonian, which Onur was very excited about visiting. Unfortunately my camera died almost immediately after entering the museum so I was unable to get pictures of all the amazing pieces of aeronautics history. The eight of us split into smaller groups depending on what we were interested in seeing. Alison, Richard, and I viewed the Hall of Apollo, which was completely dedicated to the history of the Apollo moon landings. Richard knew so much about the planes and shuttles in the museum he could have given us a tour. It turns out he has been fascinated by planes since he was a child and has learned a lot about them over the years. His passion was evident in the museum. We also viewed toured the area dedicated to intrepid American pilots such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Once it got closer to 5:30, which is when we had to regroup at the buses, we decided to check out the gift shop. We concluded our visit in the museum and made our way back to the buses.

Onur, Richard, and Alison with the Washington Monument in the distance.

Fun on the Mall

Alison wants our capitol to live long and prosper.

Our nation's glorious capitol.

We were brought to Union Station for dinner. We had about fifty minutes to eat so we had to make haste. Brian, Alison, Fred, Onur, and I ate dinner together. Brian and I got Subway, Alison and Onur had massive gyros (which I learned is actually pronounced hero), and Fred got Taco Bell. During dinner we all discussed what we saw in the Air and Space Smithsonian and what our favorite parts of the museum were. I enjoy picking my friends’ brains because all of our perspectives are so different. Afterwards, we got dessert from Haagen Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s before returning to the busses.

Our bus ride home seemed much longer than the first, but that might be because I did not sleep for two hours of it. Regardless, I sat with Onur and we talked for a long time. I also reflected on my experience so far with Penn. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what I do and do not like about the school. I’ve decided that a completely urban environment is not right for me. I do not feel like I’m on a college campus when I’m outside the quad, rather I’m just moving around a city going from building to building. I like the feel of a college campus. However, if a campus is set deep in a city but is secluded from the city streets, I would like that. This is something I really liked about Columbia. However, there are also a number of benefits to attending Penn. For instance, I really like all of the academic opportunities that I would have at Penn. I am interested in studying green energy in college and Penn offers a number of programs that would give me the tools I need to advance my knowledge in that field. I’m still on the fence about Penn, but there are certainly things to love about it. On that note, I’m signing off so I can get some rest before tomorrow’s ice skating excursion.

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