August 16, 2013
As it turns out, lots of our family and friends were going to be in the area. We had met with Laura’s former student on Wednesday evening. Houston and Glynda were driving up with a truck load of furniture for my niece, Katie, who was expecting her first child. She and Aaron live in Reston, Va. Our friend, Jeannie would be in town, traveling on business. With so many of us in the same place, we decided we needed to get together. Houston made us reservations for a 10:00 am tour with City Segway Tours. We would spend the afternoon in more museums, and then join Glynda, Katie, and Aaron for dinner.
We were going to divide and conquer. Laura wasn’t up for a Segway tour, so she was going to head to her favorite spot in DC, the National Zoo.
I headed out early, seeking breakfast in the Foggy Bottom area so I would be on time for our tour. I found a coffee shop down from Washington Circle, and watched the foot traffic. It was quite a mix of people – students, professors, and professionals all going about their business. I decided that I need to find me a coffee shop in downtown Greenville where I can occasionally go to watch traffic, now that I’m retired.
As I walked toward our rendezvous point, traffic around GWU increased. It was obvious that students were moving back in. They were wheeling big blue carts the sidewalks with clothes and other belongs. at the plaza near the Segway place I got another cup of coffee, and watched a long line of students outside of a financial aid place.
I checked in at City Segway and got settled, waiting for Houston and Jeannie. The time got closer and closer for the tour, but no brother had arrived. Houston called, and somehow had gotten messed up on the Metro. There was no way he was going to make it on time. Fortunately, I was able to get us rebooked for a 6:00 pm tour that day.
Houston and Jeannie arrived at the Foggy Bottom stop about 10:20, and I met up with them outside the stop. I left them to go visit museums on the Mall, since Laura and I had done that yesterday, and I headed out to meet Laura at the Zoo. We made plans to get back together in the afternoon.
Laura had already been at the zoo for awhile when I got there. We visited the big cats, elephants, and most of the major exhibits.
Once again I had left my big camera back at the hotel. I thought I would be riding Segways this morning, and didn’t want the extra weight. Even so, I have an aversion to zoo photography. There is something about photographing animals in captivity that just doesn’t seem right to me, sort of like the cliche of shooting fish in a barrel. I would much rather try to photograph animals in the wild. I find that MUCH more satisfying.
As nice as the weather had been the day before, today it was getting downright hot. With all the walking we had done yesterday and the day before at Monticello, my feet were very tired. I was glad when we got back on the Metro to meet up with Houston and Jeannie.
Our rendezvous point was the International Spy Museum. Laura and I got there first and went into the museum store. I picked up a CD entitled “Music to Spy By”, with classic spy themes from James Bond, Mission Impossible, Man from U.N.C.L.E., among others. Houston and Jeannie joined us shortly, having visited the Natural History Museum.
The spy museum is a tourist trap, but it’s a cool one that actually does have some good information. This was our second time visiting, and Laura and I really wanted to get to some of the exhibits that we missed the first time.
The Spy Museum tends to play more toward the romantic side of spying, both real world and in fiction. There is quite a bit of gadgetry on display. However, they do have some realistic details as well. There are extensive video displays. I would have loved to have viewed all of them, but with the crowds and time limits it’s just not possible. Fortunately, they do have a YouTube channel where many of the videos are available.
On the lowest level the Spy Museum had an exhibit entitled “Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villians”. There were displays from all of the movies, along with the villains’ evil ploys and the henchmen they employed. It was quite a bit of fun.
We were able to see much more on this visit. Next up, though, was our rescheduled Segway tour, and I was determined that we weren’t going to miss it this time.