Monday, December 7, 2009

What I Did On My Vacation, Part 2


1) The Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
Zero. Nada. Again, no chance to see our stimulus
money being printed because we weren't in line early enough to get one of the tickets. This time we were within about 20 people of making it in but as they say, "You snooze, you lose."

2) The U.S. Botanical Gardens.
Special holiday decorating was being set up so there were few visitors and very quiet and calm. We almost passed by the four reindeer (above) that had already been positioned. Benches were strategically placed all around so you could relax and look at the plants as you listened to the croaking frog sound effects.
Susan thought the Cat's Whiskers (above) was an interesting plant and thought I was kidding -- I wasn't -- when I told her this plant (below) was called "Hairy Balls".

3) The National Museum of the American Indian.
Saw a great exhibit by Brian Jungen. He makes sculptures by deconstructing ordinary, mundane items. I loved his totem poles made from golf bags and the figure he made from baseball gloves.

The rest of the museum was not very impressive as it seemed to be designed by a committee of people trying to be everything to everyone at once, with the end result being so confusing you just gave up trying to look at it. Their cafe was interesting because they divide the areas up into regions of the Americas and you can get food derived from each region. We skipped the rabbit pot pie and the buffalo burgers from The Plains, I focused on seafood from the Northwest and Susan went with the South/Central American area as it meant she could have a chocolate dessert.

Eating food at the American Indian Museum on the day before Thanksgiving? How much more "American" can you get?

4) National Air and Space Museum.
It was late in the day so the crowds had thinned out but by then I was pretty tired and sort of sleepwalked through a section on World War I that Susan said was interesting. A replica of the U-2 spy plane the Russians shot down during the Cold War caught my attention - it was hanging from the ceiling and was surprisingly small.

This was the first time in several visits to DC that we actually got into this museum. Usually it is jammed with kids on field trips and we don't even bother. Same with the Natural History Museum ("Dinosaur Museum"), where we accidentally went on a rainy day back in April. There were about 7,000 yellow school buses parked in front but we said to each other "How bad could it be?" and went in. Have you ever seen 7 girls, all about age 10, all trying to chest-bump each other at the same time in one big mass? Screaming the whole time? Actually, every kid in the museum was screaming and yelling (while racing frantically back and forth between displays) and my hearing was shot by then, not to return until later that afternoon. Kids in that museum made rock concerts sound like whispers.

A holiday week still means work for a lot of people and this guy working on the streets at the National Mall was no exception. We caught him fooling around while they were setting up the cones and (with encouragement from his co-workers) got him to repeat his performance.


layers said...

there are certainly a lot of museums and such interesting variety.. when I went to London in June I think I saw every museum there as well..a LOT of walking for sure-- how is the bottom of your feet holding up?

ArtPropelled said...

We've got hairy balls too .....I just didn't know they were called that ... really?

I love Brian Jungen's totems and the guy with the crest. Thanks for the link.