I fear that I’ve left this too late and have forgotten some of the details of the past 1.25 days, but I still think this will be one long post.
Day Five [yeh, I’ve switched the format to just days now, as @jymmysim said], well, the first half anyway, was all about museums. I’d always thought the Smithsonian was one museum or something, but I found out yesterday that it’s this gigantic complex of around 15 museums, of which I only visited two.
First up, after a bagel breakfast [did I mention that I now love cream cheese?], was the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Wow. Just. Wow. This place was absolutely amazing. I’m sitting here shaking my head just thinking about it now, actually. The amount of real life examples of everything aeronautical you can ever dream of, coupled with the interactivity and educational value that comes with each exhibit is really astounding. The highlight though, was the flight simulator!
There are around 11 flight simulators that you can pay to ride, and it’s normally a two person ride [pilot and gunner], but you can also ride it solo if you have no friends [SAD FACE EMOTICON [Good ol’ Diddy]]. My lack of friends actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it was twice the fun!
I was waiting in line and watched on as the simulators started moving slowly from side to side, and then proceeded to tun upside down. Twice. Rapidly. *gulp*. Before this point, I was just thinking, “ooh, flight simulator, maybe it moves a little, I shoot some virtual targets, fun!”, but I realised that it’s going to be like some kind of crazy roller coaster >.<
We were repeatedly warned to empty everything out of our pockets, and I finally got to the simulator, where you can do some virtual training with the joysticks [one for throttle up / down, air brake, and some left and right thing which didn’t do jack all, and another to switch targets, shoot missiles and roll left and right] and a computer screen. It seemed easy enough, and I killed about 13 targets in the few minutes I was mucking around with it, and told the attendant I was good to go.
So, I get in, buckled up, etc, the plane takes off, and then I see my first target to the right. “Oh, let me just move right a littleWHOA-HOLY-SHIT-I-AM-UPSIDE-DOWN-AND-SPINNING-AND-I-CAN’T-STOP-GOD-HELP-ME.” The controls are sensitive… I just braced my legs as hard as I could against the foot rest and was scared shitless! It really was like a crazy roller coaster! There is no concept of turning left and right like a car, you just roll; roll 720 degrees like a mofo!
The next 20 seconds or so, I just spent trying to stabilize myself and wondering what the hell I’d got myself into. After this, it got a little easier, but still, I’m not one for thrills, and when the ride finished in about six minutes was when I felt like I actually started getting the hang of it, and I really did want to go again, but the line was way too long >.< I ended up killing three targets *psy*
I headed back to the hotel quickly to check out. Oh, random sidebar, I’d changed my train back to New York to an earlier time, since it was Arvind’s birthday and he was doing drinks in the night, so I left my parents to their own devices and then went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Again, it was amazing! Are all museums like this, or are these the cream of the crop?! I mean, I haven’t been in a while, but god damn, I was in complete awe of my surroundings. The ‘Bones’ exhibit was the highlight here, which comprised of, well, the skeletal structure of a gazillion animals. I went relatively trigger happy with the camera here, but god knows when I’ll actually upload the photos.
There was also a pretty big emphasis on gemstones and diamonds, and minerals, etc. A huge crowd was gathered around The Hope Diamond, which is some 45 carat thing that’s supposed to be amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it looked ok, but, /shrug. It’s from India though!
I’d completely lost track of time by the time I came out of the museum store, and had about 40 minutes to get to Union Station, pick up my new ticket and get on the train; I JUST made it. Getting a cab was near impossible, and it was probably due to no one wanting to walk in the ridiculous heat of Washington.
Thank you for a lovely 1.5 days, Washington! In hindsight, I could have probably spent another day there easily, and I swear, if @drumonastick ever goes, I think he would geek out in a big way at the museums.
I’m going to have to cut the rest of this short, as I have to leave to some gigantic meeting of relatives, but anyway…
After a 4 hour commute across multiple trains, I walked into the House of Brews, wished Arvind a happy birthday, and got my Sixteen Candles badge! /cheer We did a bit of bar hopping, and had some awesome Mexican food along the way [it’s depressing how good the Mexican food is here].
I ended up crashing at Arvind’s place as it was pretty late, and woke up this morning, had yet another bagel, this time containing a heart attack inducing amount of cream cheese on it, and got home a couple of hours later.
Phew. That took a good 40 minutes. So anyway, as I said, gigantic meeting of relatives tonight, and the next couple of days are going to be very wedding-centric. Speaking of, the wedding is in New Jersey, not New York -_- Maybe I’ll see The Situation and Tony Soprano!