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Monday, September 14, 2009

Washington DC - Day 2 (III)

From the Lincoln Memorial, we walked to another two memorials that were built to honour the people who fought in two wars of significant importance to the American.

First was the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

In the middle of the memorial is this triangular field with a group of 19 statues that represent each branch of the armed forces of America, depicting a squad on patrol during the Korean War.

There is a Pool of Remembrance with the engraving nearby stating the number of casualties -- the numbers of those killed, wounded, missing in action, and held prisoner-of-war simply made our hearts sink.

What really touched my heart was the message etched on the granite opposite the counting of the war's toll: Freedom Is Not Free.

There is a walkway along a black granite wall, etched with images of the faces of those involved in the war.

We then walked out of the memorial and passed by two bridges with two golden statues each at the entrance to the bridges.

From there, we had another look at the Lincoln Memorial from the side view.

We then walked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, which are two long stretch of black granite walls sunk into the ground in V-shape, with pathway along the base of the walls.

The walls were inscribed with the names of fatalities or MIA. The list is in chronological order from year 1959to 1975 (the year i was born!).

There are podiums nearby with directories for the names for visitors to locate specific names.

Some people do come here to look for the names of their deceased loved ones, and place flowers or other items at the walls. We also saw a kid making pencil rubbing of a name onto a piece of paper, whereby the name probably was his grandpa or relative.

I read that there are 58,256 names on the walls, and the reflective quality of the granite wall symbolises bringing the past and present together, for we would see our own reflections when we read the names on the walls.

As i walked down the pathway, my heart sunk. I felt as if i was walking through a history of bloodshed, where people were killed, children were made fatherless, wives were made widows, and families were shattered, all for fighting a war which they should have never got involved in the first place. I felt sad for the people who fought and died for a war that i'd considered the biggest defeat in the American history.

Not far from the memorial walls are the bronze statues of The Three Soldiers.

After paying tribute to the Vietnam War casualties, we left the area and thought of going to the White House again. We read the map and decided to go to the 17th Street and see if we could get near to the White House from there. Unfortunately, that area was closed off as well. Basically, no one can get near it anymore without prior arrangement.

We decided that it was time to return to the hotel, and so we walked back to the metro station. Along the way, we continued to snap pictures of nice buildings, which i had no idea what those buildings were at all.

On our way to the metro station, we saw a stall by the road selling t-shirts with design showing Washington, D.C.

It was selling at USD10 for 4 pieces, so we each bought 4 as gifts. The t-shirts were the only thing we bought back from Washington. I actually kinda regretted not getting any souvenirs from the capital of the USA.

We finally got the metro station entrance indicated on the map, but then only to find out that it was closed! Yeah, can you imagine that? Some of the metro stations actually closed on Sunday!

So we continued to walk to the next station shown on the map and finally got on to the train.

I've marked on the map the places we visited (click to enlarge):

We were back at the hotel at around 2pm. Since the hotel did not serve lunch, we to the restaurant in the hotel next door again (the one we went to on the previous night) and had our lunch there.

We met up with the UK lady after lunch and then started our journey back to Reading at around 3.15pm. The return journey was a lot smoother. We only got lost once, and that was right after we left the hotel and we had difficulties finding the way to the highway. But once we got on to the highway, it was just stepped on the accelerator!

During the journey, we chatted about our trip and complained a bit about the workshop too. Then i can't remember why but the topic of age was brought up. Again, the UK lady was so shock to find out that both of us are at our mid-30s. She said she thought we are only 20+ years old. Hmm, angmo really can't tell our age at all. I think that was also one of the reasons why the American consultants had no respect for us, the young Asian ladies who should be inexperience and know shit about anything.

As we were just about half-an-hour away from Reading, we saw the petrol was getting dangerously low. Unlike Malaysia where we have petrol stations and rest places along the highway, the US highway does not have such facilities. We gotta exit to the town and refueled.

Initially i thought of pumping to full tank using my credit card, but then i couldn't get fuel on credit card without a local zip code! Uh huh, i was required to enter the zip code after i swiped the credit card; it's supposed to be for security measure, but then it's so tourist unfriendly! So in the end, i fueled up USD20 for about three quarter tank. The petrol is cheap there.

After we were done and driving back to the highway, it started pouring. The rain was rather heavy that i could hardly see the road. Then i got kinda panic. As i took a turn, i wasn't thinking clearly and actually got onto the wrong lane! I didn't notice it at first because there weren't any cars on the road in the small town. Luckily, as soon as i turned, i saw a car coming in the opposite direction from afar. It was then i realised i was on the wrong side and immediately moved to the other lane (fortunately there wasn't a road divider in between). Well, i wonder who was in more shock - me or the driver in the car from the opposite direction.

Despite the heavy rain, i managed to get everyone back to the hotel in Reading safe and sound at around 6.30pm. The return journey only took us about 3 hours (as opposed to 4 hours when we went there).

And so that concludes my very first visit to the capital of the USA.


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Sunday, September 13, 2009 @ 5:45 am: Hairstyle
Saturday, September 12, 2009 @ 5:17 am: Weekend night
Friday, September 11, 2009 @ 3:54 am: Pointless post
Thursday, September 10, 2009 @ 7:25 pm: Mild diarrhea
Thursday, September 10, 2009 @ 3:57 am: Dreamlike
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 @ 3:11 am: Still bad mood
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 @ 3:09 am: Bad mood
Monday, September 07, 2009 @ 3:41 am: Random updates
Sunday, September 06, 2009 @ 3:56 am: Sorrow attack
Saturday, September 05, 2009 @ 5:52 am: My cousin