Friday, July 31, 2009

4th of July

Since we currently live so close to the nation's capital, it seemed only right to be there for the Fourth. Ricky's not a huge fan of crowds, so he was probably the least excited one, but he came along and was in a good mood anyway. Because he loves me.
First, we crowded in with everyone else for a bad view of the parade:

Then, to escape the crowds for a bit we wandered over in the direction of Chinatown and found a street cafe for lunch. I glanced across the street and noticed that the National Portrait Gallery was there, so we decided to duck in for a while and take a break from the heat. We wandered around The Presidents Exhibit. It was so interesting to see the different personalities presented, and how the level of formality has really come down since the early days. I like that. The newer portaits capture more of the spirit of the person than the office.
Next we thought that Nicky should probably have a nap, so we walked over to the sculpture garden that has become our default nap spot. It's a peaceful spot--plenty of shade and has a large fountain in the center that becomes and ice skating rink in the winter.
Note the headless folk watching the fountain. All part of the charm.
Also note Nicolas, in dire need of rest. He didn't feel that it was necessary, however, so it took at least 45 minutes to get him to sleep. In the meantime, we just read, talked, and sipped on some iced coffee.
Since it was almost evening, Ricky went to scope out the firework-viewing situation along the National Mall. When he came back, we were rested and ready to roll. So, we packed up and headed down the Mall to find a good spot. We walked down to the Capitol, passing lots of people, a Christian concert (side note, it seems to be very popular for Christian bands to sing John Mayer's song Waiting on the World to Change right now) and the most interesting juxtaposition of the day, a Hare Krishna festival offering free dinner. The bright colors were nice, but we didn't partake.

After this stroll, we settled down with our blanket on a nice patch of grass and found ourselves with less than two hours to wait. We passed the time with hot dogs, cherry ices and people-watching. One of my favorite moments was hearing a man tell his wife and son "this is the ultimate spot!!" They settled down too and played some cards. Then Ricky and I wished we had cards. Soon enough, though, 9:00 came and then we got to see this:

Pardon my bad pictures. It was spectacular, really, and I will never forget the feeling of sitting there on the Mall, surrounded by people we didn't know but feeling so connected. It was worth the hours it took to get home on the very crowded Metro, and the hours of waiting. All in all, a good day.

PS Here's a good view of the Cutie Bug's special haircut that he gave himself.

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