Sunday, April 5, 2009

With the Hordes at the Cherry Blossom Festival

What was I thinking? What were WE all thinking?!

I braved the hordes of locals and tourists in DC to view the famed cherry blossoms on Saturday.

I made a completely incorrect assumption about how it would be. Relaxing.

Not even close.

The first indicator of the morning was heavy traffic on I-66 heading toward DC. I wasn't really worried as I planned on taking the metro in. When I arrived at the metro, there was a line OUT of the station. ARE YOU KIDDING me? Its not like this during rush hour. Don't know why but thought it might be better one metro stop closer into town. I think I was able to get one of the last parking spots in the satellite lot to the satellite lot.

It was standing room only on the train. By the time we got to the Smithsonian stop, it was such close standing room that you were practically in the clothes of the people next to you. I have never been that close to strangers since July 4th 2000.

Logistics was pretty bad at the Smithsonian stop. The were only allowing people to exit the station on the Mall side, not on Independence Avenue. Would have been nice had they told us that as we were exiting the train. Some people, such as myself who are "natives" wouldn't have headed for Independence Avenue which would have been the less crowded exit. The platform was so crowded that people on incoming trains had a hard time getting off. Police kept directing people to move as quickly as possible to and "JUST exit" and figure out where you are once you are out side.

Outside was a mad house. Police were blocking the entrance to the mall side of the Smithsonian station saying that entrance was Exit Only. Again, something that could have been communicated earlier and differently - - like with BIG banner signs or something. But you know, what is completely logical to me is usually not logical to others.

So I snapped this picture of the Smithsonian Station entrance/exit after I was out of the crush of people and could breath AND open the camera bag.

Now the fun would begin in trying to contact my friends whom I was to meet.


I was late arriving. There were so many people around that I could have been standing next to a friend and not even known it. I was overwhelmed. I don't do well with crowds. My friend had left a message on my phone. I left one on hers and started walking in the direction of our intended destination, The Jefferson Memorial, Tidal Basin and the cherry blossoms.

As I was walking toward the Washington Monument, I noticed this amazing shadow it was casting. This was taken at about 2:00 p.m. on the west side of the monument. It was incredible, I have never seen the sun line up with the pinnacle of the monument in this way.


I love taking flag pictures and with the back lighting from the sun, cloudless blue sky and intense shadow on the monument, this turned out pretty cool, even if the flags are in the "wrong direction"


I walked around the monument and took this picture from the South side. As you can tell, it was VERY windy. I never really noticed all the details in the sandstone. So beautiful!


On the east side of the Washington Monument, from its mound, you get a beautiful view of the Jefferson Memorial. I will have to do some photo editing at some point to get rid of the porta potties. Who the heck decided this would be a good place to put them, I don't know.

However, this was the landmark my friends and I used to triangulate our locations and meet up. They actually saw me first (probably because of the hair).


This is me and my friend A. We are in small group Bible Study together. It was tough to get pictures, you had to be assertive in grabbing a spot and in keeping people from walking in front of your photographer.


This is the Jefferson Memorial from just west of the paddle boat doc. There were no paddle boats out in the Tidal Basin as I think there was probably a small craft warning or something because of the waves from the wind.


Here you go, the crunch of people. Pretty much every inch of the railing was occupied.


This is the gang from church (minus one gal who had to leave early for work). Two other gals from my small group were down on their bikes but we never ran into them. Its been fun to see everyone's pictures on Facebook. We were all there at about the same time but managed to miss each other.


This is the Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial side of the Tidal Basin. Yes, those are white caps.


On the Jefferson Memorial side, it seemed like there were fewer people. Maybe it was there was more room to spread out. This is me. I would have to say, I was very pleased with my hairspray. The front and parts of the sides of my hair are not long enough to go back into the elastic. With my baby fine hair, I was so sure most of it from the front would be blown out of the elastic and in my face all day. I considered wearing a baseball hat but then opted to plaster my hair with hairspray. That worked.


Getting back home was a feat. One of the girls had to leave us to head in to work. When she returned to the Smithsonian station, she was told it would be a two hour wait to get down into the station. She called us to warn us as she headed to a different station.

All of our Washington, DC land navigation experience went into action. We ended up walking across the Memorial Bridge into Arlington, VA to catch the train at the Arlington Cemetery station. Our intention was to get onto our metro's line at Rossilyn but when we saw the train pull in, it was so packed that no one could get on. So we got back on the blue line and headed to the station just beyond Smithsonian, changed lines there and were able to make it back home. What a mess!

I think if I ever go down to admire the cherry blossoms again, I will take an early day from work and head down during the week.

We are expecting high winds and thunderstorms the next two days. That pretty much spells the end of the blossoms for the year.

1 comment:

liberal army wife said...

yeah... we did that last year... and swore that we'd take a day off during the week to do it the next time. Since he's back in the Sand - I'll wait till next year!