Monday, March 29, 2010

Wash. DC monuments. March 2010

After doing the National Geographic Museum Shelagh and I spent the next day on the DC Mall. Like always I chose the wrong weekend to visit such a destination. Early Spring equals spring break. Lots of people, young people. On top of that this particular weekend was the last chance to protest the health bill. And protests were happening. More people all over the place. But I'm told that this amount of people we encountered was nothing, compared to summer weekends. I'll take their word.

The crowd protesting health care reform on the steps of the Capital. While we didn't hear the shouting, the posters and pictures were disturbing. There was an awful lot of hate in that crowd.

The Washington Monument. One of these days I will get to the top of it.

One of the protests that surrounded the Washington Monument was ingenious. And thought provoking.

On one side of the monument a Arlington cemetery was set up, called Arlington MidWest. Each marker carried the name of an American killed in Iraqi and Afghanistan. There were hundreds and hundreds of them.

On the other side of the monument were plaques containing the names of civilians killed in Iraqi and Afghanistan. Maybe not as many but very disturbing. Most of the names were of children and women. War doesn't play favorites.

Between the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool is a new WWII monument. It is very impressive, both in detail and size. Commissioned by President Bush in 2004, it contains a dedication to every country involved in the conflict.Fountains, bronze plaques, marble and granite monoliths. All and all it's an incredible work of art.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wash. DC on the fly. March 2010

I took off to Washington DC mid March for a few days. Why in the world would anyone fly across a continent for a 4 day weekend? That's what my friends demanded to know. Was I nuts? Probably. The National Geographic Museum was hosting the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit from China and it leaves at the end of March. There was no way I was going to miss it. So 10 hours later I'm in Pittsburgh where I meet up with a girlfriend, grab a rental car and drive to DC.

The outside of the museum was draped with a mural of the excavation of the Pits. Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China from approximately 210 BC ordered a memorial built to himself to take into the afterlife. So far 4 pits have been excavated and over 8000 full size terracotta soldiers, horses and everything an Emperor needs to rule in the afterlife have been found. One of these days I'll make it to China to see the museum built over the site.

Photos from Wikipedia. Cameras weren't allowed.

Photos from Wikipedia

The Museum had full size replicas on the outside for photos.

Shelagh and I in front of one of the replicas. The exhibit included soldiers, horses, photos of the excavation sites, artifacts excavated from the site and lots of artwork from the period. There was a wonderful movie about the Emperor, his reign and his murder. We spent a couple hours wondering through the exhibit. I had purchased tickets on-line weeks ago which was a good thing. Every showing for the rest of the month is sold out.

The grounds around the museum are really neat, with lots of sculptures. Like a big bug.

And Army ants.

A Praying Mantis to pray to.

The center courtyard contained fountains and pools with big rocks. The kids were enjoying them.

I thought the buildings around the museum was really neat. From a photographer's point of view all the angles and corners were cool.

After spending several hours in the museum it was time to find some food. Neither Shelagh or I were familiar with the area so we started reading menus from restaurants as we wandered the street. We ended up going down several levels of stairs to an Indian restaurant under the street. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Indian curry, lamb, white wine, vegetarian curry and wonderful flatbread. What a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon.