Today began at 3:00 AM when I woke up to get ready to go meet Don and leave for the east coast with the rest of my cohort. When my parents drove me down to El Cerrito High School at 3:45, almost everyone was there already. After everyone put their luggage tags on their bags and made any last-minute adjustments as Don weighed everyone's bags, Don talked to us about the (revised) itinerary and reminded us to follow all the rules, do as our chaperone tells us, and to blog every night or else face the wrath of Guantanamo Don (up close and personal from 3,000 miles away).
Finally, after Don took pictures of each cohort (Penn and Vanderbilt), we loaded our bags on a shuttle and took off for the airport. There were still stars visible when we arrived at the airport. Once we got through security (and admired the airport art) we still had more than an hour before boarding. We ordered breakfast from the cafe The Plant, which sold delicious breakfast burritos among other things.
|The Washington Monument|
On the airplane, our cohort (unfortunately) had seats that were not next to any other passengers. At the end of the flight, though, when we were getting off, we talked to one woman named Elizabeth. She is a DC native and was visiting San Francisco. She welcomed us to Washington DC, warned us that we wouldn’t need any of our sweatshirts, and told us she hoped we would have a great time, as she had had a great time in San Francisco. She was right about the sweatshirts—as soon as we stepped outside, the hot, muggy air smothered us.
After settling into the hotel, we went out to a pizza place the hotel staff recommended for dinner, and then took a tour of the monuments and memorials. We took our picture in front of the White House and caught fireflies on the lawns. We also saw the Washington monument, the Lincoln memorial, the Vietnam War memorial, the World War I and World War II memorials, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the Jefferson memorial, and the Capitol Building. It was a very busy three hours.
|The Lincoln Memorial|
The Washington monument was visible from most of the places we walked, and looked very eerie with its demonic red eyes (to prevent airplanes from flying into it). I really liked all of the fountains and wreaths at the World War II memorial. At the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, we saw a group of protesters singing and chanting. While we were there, they sang “Over the Rainbow.” That was probably my favorite memorial. I really liked reading all of his quotes on the wall and seeing the protesters for equal rights.
|Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial|
Overall, though I know that nearly all of our days will be busier than this one, this was a very long and exhausting day. Getting up at three in the morning and going to bed after midnight is never fun, but I’m looking forward to the rest of our time here on the east coast.