Saturday 24 November 2012
Highlights: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
One of the great aspects about Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museums which total over 15 and are free to the public. So of the great artworks and discoveries open for everyone to see these treasures. This is an open society at its best celebrating greatest, scientific and human achievements. Today I decided to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Walking with my mum the roughy 2.6 kms from the Hilton Capital Hotel. One good aspect of this walk is we passed the White House which had less restrictions today. This meant we got to walk right up to the front gate. It’s always surprising how big the White House isn’t.
Given some much of modern events are shaped by this place you think it would be huge like European castles or city halls but this was built at the commencement of these nation. They have extended downward but not really made the building appear to be any bigger. Every President but Washington lived here.
Right next to the White House is the impressive and grand Treasury building. The second most important building effecting the world economy obviously no expense was spared. Old government buildings built over 100 years ago are always grand. No way that would happen to when the bottom dollar is so important.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has some many important exhibits. I started with the space exhibit. It was good to see how much they had on the USSR program especially since up until America put a man on the moon they were the pioneers in space travel. The exhibit covered how the Cold War pushed so many new technologies we benefit from today. They had a real lunar module that was needed, amazing how small it was. I also got to go in a replicated Skylab and view moon rocks. Even if it was military push the space race shows what humankind are capable of achieving, remarkable and it gives you hope.
Other highlights of my visit was seeing the original Wright Brothers plane, Amelia Earhart’s transatlantic record breaking plane and “The Spirit of St Louis”. It’s hard not be inspired by these achievements and great pioneers and explorers.
From here we caught the Metro to the Pentagon City Mall. My mum was totally in her element and hunted down some great bargains. Some family members are in for great gifts when she returns in about 10 days. I also joined in visiting the local Apple store which was an experience in itself.
Very few counters you basically grab a staff member and work out what you want and a few taps on a device and someone else brings out your product. The store was packed, I can see how they make massive profits. I ended up buying and unlocked iPhone 4S for $573 USD to replace my lost one in Argentina. The phone was $120 cheaper in the USA, we get ripped of in Australia.
Happy with our purchases it was a metro ride back to our hotel for dinner and in my case a night setting up my new phone. A big thanks to Jon and Andrew for uploading files for later viewing and listening while I’m on the road. Tomorrow is a bus ride to New York.