Vacationista: US Trip Day 22 (Smithsonian: Natural History Museum and The Circulator)

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Tita prepared a hearty breakfast for us – and we were only 5 people! Tito didn’t even eat much since he had his own type of meal. We had some beef tapa, egg omelet with tomatoes, bacon, rice and grapes.
 


Comparing to Texas, I love how Washington has an available mass transportation system. Texas is more of drive-yourself-to-everywhere kind of state since everything is so thinly spread. We stayed at Virginia, which is about an hour away from central DC. From the house, Tito drove to the bus station, parked his car at the parking lot, then we walked towards the bus stop. So glad there were clear skies for the day. He also lent me his Smartrip, this all-in-one payment card which you can use on the bus, train and even at the Smithsonian. It’s similar to our Beep card in Manila only better.

 

The bus then took us to the underground train station, which is by far my most favorite looking station because of the gorgeous ceiling.

 

Our first stop was at the Smithsonian. I was so overwhelmed when I stepped foot at the Smithsonian complex. Aside from the fact that it is huge and that the museums and other landmarks are so far from each other, I have always wanted to go there. Scenes from ‘The Night at the Museum’ movie flashed through my mind.

 

We first walked towards the Smithsonian Visitors Center, also known as The Castle, because well, it looks like a castle. Haha! 


Got a copy of the Visitor Survival Guide and map to help us navigate.

 

Mom then chose to go to the National Museum of Natural History, right across The Castle. Was greeted by a larger than life elephant. Oh so gorgeous!

 

We first decided to have lunch at the café downstairs, which was really not bad for museum food. I ordered their tomato and mozzarella baguette, some noodle soup and mac n cheese (all again shared by me, mom and cousin). Tita and tito also had some soup and chicken fingers with fries.

 

I love how their cup is made with renewable resources (dapat lang) plus their sweet green tea was really good. Hope Cherry Coke and Ginger Ale would also be readily available in Manila’s fast foods. Hehe.

 

The five of us then parted ways, with me and my cousin together. Thus started our exploration of the museum. I’m not much of a museum fan but still found a lot of interesting things.

 

Some archeologists were even working inside the museum, where you could see what they were doing. They even found a dinosaur poop and preserved it. Haha!

 

My favorite section was the mummy section because I am a fan of Egypt and would like to visit it someday. They had a real mummy there! I find Egyptians and their history quite fascinating.

 

View from the second floor.

 

My cousin and I’s next agenda was to take The Circulator, where they had a stop near the Natural History Museum. The Circulator is like a hop-on-hop-off bus that goes around the whole of the Smithsonian and National Mall area. This was a better option for us than walking since we were pressed for time, and the weather was too cold to be out and walking. You can choose which places you want to visit based on their map. Bus comes every 15 minutes. Best part is that it’s only $1 good for 2 hours for regular passengers while only $0.50 for senior citizens. So awesome! Plus, we were also able to use our Smartrip card for payment.

 

We chose 4 stops we wanted to visit:

 

The Washington Monument;

 

 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial;

 

Lincoln Memorial, my favorite of the four, which overlooked the Reflecting Pool (famous for a scene in Forrest Gump, among others). Of course, a gigantic Father Abraham sits on his throne looking down at us mere mortals.

 


The Washington Monument can still be seen standing strong and basked in the gorgeous sunset. The spot where Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech is engraved in front of the memorial with the words ‘I have a dream.’

 

And our last stop, The Capitol Building. It was already dark by the time we got at The Capitol, though it was still around 5pm, which is a disadvantage of travelling in winter – shorter days.

 

Met up with the elders (hehe) but not before catching a glimpse of The Washington Monument in a glorious wash of colors.

 

Made our way home via train and bus combo. Notice how their bus system is called the Kiss & Ride Buses? How romantic. The walk from the train to the bus was filled with tiny houses that were actually stores selling teas and coffee to little trinkets.

 

Since we arrived at our home town quite late, a quick dinner was needed and where else than at a Chinese buffet. Chinese food will always be a quick and easy choice for a filling meal. The selection was huge and very diverse – from seafood to ribs, salads to desserts, grilled to sautéed.

 

I got a little serving of a lot of viands and was curious about the tiny octopus. Mom also got some crawfish, which I tasted, and it tasted like shrimp or lobster.

 

My fortune? It said I should be good for something. I guess my current workplace is perfect for me since I work for a development organization.


So hapoy with our first day here in Washington! 

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