January 21, 2009

Heading Home Via NYC!

We left Maryland bright and early the day after the Inauguration and headed back to New York City.
This time the bus ride was very uneventful and since it was filled with very tired inauguration people...everyone slept the whole 4 hours to NYC. It let us off at Penn Station and we happily ordered some NY pizza (it wasn't that good though).
We then had to find somewhere to store our one suitcase because Penn Station doesn't have lockers anymore. We found out about a place and walked (very quickly) about a mile to stick our suitcase in a room so we could go to the top of the Empire State Building.
We only had about an hour, but we rushed back to the Penn Station area to the Empire State building and thankfully there wasn't a line (not like the summer visits that we usually make).
It was a clear, crisp, COLD day on top and I thought this sign was pretty funny.
The best thing we saw on top were these pigeons. It was crazy...why did these birds fly up 86 stories to sit on top of the Empire State building in negative 2 degree windy weather and eat snow?! Yes, it was negative 2 when we were up there and they were eating snow! Crazy!
This was the clearest it has ever been when we've been up there - we LOVE New York City!
It was SOOOOOO COLD up there - the plastic on our coats and my bag was frozen!
Some scenes from the observation deck.
The statue of Liberty and a poster from the store that the elevator lets you out into on the 80th floor (I think it was the 80th floor). We were in such a hurry to get back to our luggage we didn't stop to look. We rushed a mile over to the storage area, picked up our suitcase, rushed a mile back to Penn Station, boarded the train to JFK and then relaxed at the airport till it was time to head back to Los Angeles - we felt like we were on the Amazing Race! Fun! = - )
Our terminal at JFK and the Mah Jong game that I finally won during the last 15 minutes of our flight.
Happy to be back in Los Angeles and happy to have David and Kenny pick us up after Doug lost the car key. = - (

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day - January 20, 2009

We started our very long, cold, fun, amazing, historical day at 5:00 am and boarded the train into DC at 6:07 am. The train station was crowded, but everyone was so excited!
Getting on the train wasn't a problem, but when we exited the train station at the Judiciary Square stop this is the crowd we were greeted with at 7:00 am and the "line" didn't move at all!
The sun is now up at Judiciary Square, but the line hasn't moved at all. We stayed there for about an hour and gave up - sadly, all the people who stayed in this spot never were able to get into the inauguration ceremony because they never opened up security. We are so HAPPY we left! The 2nd picture shows the 2nd crowd we waited with about a mile away. We didn't move with this group either, but at least we were closer to our final destination.
Our 2nd location was supposed to be another entrance into the Mall for inauguration viewing, but it never opened either (the problem was parade security and poor planning). Anyway, despite all the crowds and frustration people were still kind and caring and excited about the day. We even had this ambulance come through a VERY packed crowd that was still able to smash in even closer together to let it through - all that people were worried about was keeping the kids in the crowd safe and we did.
We all survived and the ambulance got through. But, would you believe it ... about 20 minutes later it backed up and returned from where it came (yes, backed up through the crowd!). What an experience! Anyway, we stayed in this spot waiting for the security check point to open and it never did so we moved on again for the 3rd time. This time we planned to walk all the way over to the Washington Monument entrance and hope that we could get in there. It was now about 10 am.
After another cold walk (we actually stayed warmer when we were tightly packed into the crowds than when we were walking on the streets) we finally arrived at the Washington Monument. Far away from the Capitol, but at least on the Mall and in view of the jumbo trons.
See that first picture? In the middle is a blue hat...that's Clifton Davis from the tv show, "Amen." He watched the Inauguration from our area and said that he was on the "D list" - funny! = - )

Here is the Inauguration swearing in ceremony that I recorded. It was REALLY messed up where we were because the sound was off to begin with - when we watched the swearing in ceremony I wasn't even sure if there had been a mess up because the sound was so off that we couldn't tell what was going on anyway.

This was our view of the jumbo tron during the inauguration and President Obama's speech.
The crowd around the Washington Monument and a couple picture on a very historic day!
Thanks to Kevin who created the red circle to show where we stood and sent me the link so I could find these satellite pictures.
A wonderful day!
The Washington Monument will always hold a special place in our hearts from now on.
Bill Weir from ABC news was also broadcasting from our area, but we didn't see him till the inauguration was over.
The first picture shows how far we were from the Capitol, but it didn't matter at all. The second picture shows the crowd we joined as we exited the Mall (only one exit for the whole crowd at the Washington Monument - another LONG, SLOW walk and it was COLD!)
We walked a couple of miles and finally found a place where we could eat - every place was PACKED. It was SO NICE to finally sit down, be warm again, eat and watch a little CNN coverage. = - ) We then went to the Chinatown area of town where they had a museum type exhibit about the Presidents and it was inside - yay for heat!
We took some pictures in the Oval office.
Watched a little parade coverage and then visited Airforce One.
We didn't really dress up enough for such a special trip, but oh well, that's life.
Time to head back to Chinatown, the subway and Maryland for a well deserved night of sleep. What a great day!