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DC, day 5: 23 June 2007

Started: 2007-07-22 17:05:37

Submitted: 2007-07-22 17:19:00

Visibility: World-readable

1230 EDT 25 June 2007

On Saturday morning, Kiesa headed off to the convention center before I managed to drag myself out of bed. I stopped for coffee at Caribou Coffee, which seems to have a store on every corner in Washington; it may be even more popular than Starbucks. I added yogurt to the one-cup servings of evil granola I brought and ate breakfast while I drank my coffee and wrote about the events of Wednesday afternoon.

I took the Metro to Arlington Cemetery and worked my way through the throngs of tourists (trying not to complain about them since I was also a tourist) and walked around the cemetery, seeing most of the numbered points of interest on the map I picked up. I started by the Eternal Flame at John F. Kennedy's grave and worked my way to the Tomb of the Unknowns, where I checked my watch and waited ten minutes until the changing of the guard at noon. After the guard changed (and the new sentry admonished the crowd to remain silent and respect the site -- the crowd began murmuring once the ceremony completed), I saw the mast of the USS Maine, proof that truth has been laid aside in the American rush to war more than once in history. I photographed the Challenger and Colombia memorials and visited Arlington House, where Robert E. Lee lived before accepting command of the Confederate Army at the dawn of the Civil War.

I left the cemetery to the north-east, through rows upon rows of white stone markers showing the terrible cost of war, and found my way to the Marine Corps War Memorial (otherwise known as "Them Iwo Jima is big", although this week Japan announced that it was changing the island's name back to the original name, before World War II when the island was inadvertently renamed by a clerical error). I continued north and ate at Chipotle, which I almost ate at on Friday. Chipotle in Virginia was almost identical to Chipotle closer to the source in Boulder, down to the quasi-Mayan sculpture on the wall, but they didn't serve Izze.

I took the Metro to the Mall and tried to visit the Sackler Gallery, which seemed to be mostly closed ahead of a major exhibit opening tomorrow. I made my way to the conjoined Freer Gallery and meandered through the Asian artwork, including the fantastically ornate Peacock Room. I was getting a bit tired but still had enough energy to visit the Hirshhorn, in the fantastic hollow cylinder elevated above ground level -- what my tour book calls an "impenetrable piece of modern art". This building captured my imagination on my first visit to the city in 1990, but I don't think I actually managed to visit it until now. I enjoyed the special exhibit of photography and much of the sculpture. While I visited, I contemplated a mechanized sculpture entitled "Hirshhorn" that featured a multi-level model of the museum with small figures that moved up and down the escalators and through the exhibits.

I left the museum a few minutes before it closed at 17:30 and hit the sculpture garden along with the post-museum crowd. (Apparently I wasn't the only one with that brilliant time-maximizing idea.) I saw another cast of Rodin's Burghers of Calais, matching the one I discovered two years ago in London and the one I enjoyed in Stanford's sculpture garden.

2010 EDT 25 June 2007

Now aboard Frontier flight 725, inbound to Denver, half-watching an episode of Enterprise now playing on SciFi.

After the sculpture garden, I camped out on the shady west edge of the Hirshhorn's front steps and waited for Kiesa to show up after her conferencing. When she arrived, we thumbed through her restaurant guides and decided upon a restaurant not far from our hotel. When we arrived, it turned out to be closed (although whether it was permanently closed or merely closed for the weekend -- this was an office zone with few after-hours inhabitants -- was not apparent). We consulted the books again and wandered north, towards Dupont circle. We ended up at a pizza place that served pasta, which proved reasonable.

Back at our hotel, I briefly amused myself by copying and pasting restaurants and locations from VegDC.com to Google Maps, where I got a better feeling for where the restaurants they profiled were located. I got far enough on the list to see a sushi restaurant in Adams Morgan that looked interesting.

If you want to kiss the sky, you had better learn how to kneel.
- U2, "Mysterious Ways"