Yesterday I was off to DC again. My mom and nephew came out to help with the yard sale and move and my mom really wanted to visit DC again before I moved.
Naturally, it was the hottest day of the year. Thankfully, we spent the majority of our time in museums yesterday so we didn’t have to combat the heat.
We began by taking the Metro into the city. I refuse to try to drive through DC. Every time I go there and walk around the streets and traffic look maddening. I know myself well enough to know I would be hopelessly lost in road rage and so frustrated by the time I found a parking spot that I would never enjoy the rest of my day. Plus, I figured this would be an experience for our guests.
Was it ever! The Metro car on the trip into the city was not air conditioned. Perhaps it would be better to say that it didn’t feel air conditioned because I find it difficult to believe that in this day and age they wouldn’t have air in all of their cars. Maybe this one was broken. All I know is it was hot! Nothing like having sweat dripping down your back as you’re getting ready to spend the day away from home. That marked 3 out of 4 days that I was dealing with steamy, hot, disgusting situations. It’s not a short ride anyway- probably a good 30 minutes, and on top of that they were track sharing so we sat waiting for our turn 2 or 3 times- waiting in the miserably hot car. And not just for a minute or two. I know the air wasn’t working because it got to the point that my daughter would poke her head out each time the train stopped and opened its doors. It was so much cooler in the various stations.
We finally made it and headed to the Holocaust Museum. Let me tell you, they have more security getting into that museum than they do at most airports! People were being scanned with a handheld wand after going through the metal detector. Rock Star said she thought it was because of jewelry. At least it was cool in the museum so I didn’t really care.
The Holocaust Museum is, as far as I know, the only museum that requires tickets. You can see a few exhibits but the main part of the museum is restricted to those who have tickets. Apparently, the museum itself only has a few day passes; however, you can go online, and for a $1 convenience fee, get tickets. That’s what we ended up having to do. My mother was outraged and thought this was a huge racket. I’m thinking that it was only a dollar but I do see the point. Why have people go through that hassle? I do not understand handing out a limited number of passes at the actual museum but then allowing tickets to be “sold” online. It seems to me it would be simpler to have all of the passes there at the museum, but perhaps this is a way of making sure more people can visit.
First, let me say that there is an incredible amount of information at this museum. It was heartbreaking to see how terribly people were treated for no other reason than their religion. There were times I would be watching footage or reading signs and thinking that these people were treated like non-humans. There was a video of corpses being scooped up in what looked like a front loader and being dumped into mass graves. The poor bodies were emaciated and these people, these human beings who lost their lives, were tossed into graves like rag dolls. The sad part is this was shown in conjunction with the Allied forces coming to liberate the camps and they talked of how they encountered dead bodies and the stench of death everywhere so this was probably someone from the Allied forces disposing of the victims so that disease wouldn’t be spread. Horrible!
With that said I think this was one of the most poorly run museums I’ve been to. You would think with the way they restrict the number of people admitted it would run a little more smoothly. Instead, because of the huge amount of information and all of the videos running, there always seemed to be a huge bottleneck of traffic. Some people would choose to stand back and read. That was fine, except when you’re trying to pass you have to continually step in front of others and felt like you were “cutting” into line. There was a video near the very beginning which ran for approximately 15 minutes. Instead of having people enter on one side and exit on the other the people getting ready to watch needed to let those who had finished watching out before they could get in. That wasn’t bad; it was simple courtesy. However, there was no actual line per se and people would rush in from the sides to get inside and watch the movie. When we finally got in all the seats were taken up and people were lined up against the walls. I said, “Oh no, I’m not doing this!” and turned around and walked out. There were parts of the tour where I just skipped it because there were people everywhere and it was difficult to read the signs when you had bodies everywhere.
It is a huge museum, and as I’ve said, there was so much information. I would advise going on a day when few people are in DC. It’s closed on Christmas Day but I’m thinking Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving… all might be valid choices. We were there for 3 hours total; that included the first hour when we weren’t in the “ticket only” area but instead visited some of the exhibits that were open to everyone. My back was killing me long before we finished up and my feet didn’t hold up so well either. I wore Nike tennis shoes, for crying out loud! I figured those would hold up to a bunch of walking.
The kids were starving by the time we finished so we headed over to the National Museum of American History. It had two restaurants inside. Our first choice, the larger cafeteria, was closed, of course. We ended up going to the smaller Jazz Cafe which wasn’t a jazz cafe at all. I knew we were going to end up paying more than we should for lunch because of it being at the museum but I didn’t think I would end up paying a ridiculous amount of money! The choices were limited to 4 sandwiches and maybe 2 different salads; I thought about getting a shrimp po’ boy but they were all out by the time I ordered. I ended up paying just over $48 for 3 sandwiches and 3 fountain drinks! Outrageous! Too bad my back was killing me or I would have tried to find that grilled cheese restaurant again.
After filling our bellies we toured the museum. I liked it. Of course, I was battling an aching back but I fought through it and got to see Julia Child’s kitchen, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, fancy gowns worn by our First Ladies, Archie Bunker’s chair, and a great exhibit on our presidents, just to name a few things. We really needed more time but alas, even with the extended hours, we just didn’t have it. And we were exhausted.
I bought ice cream for the kids from the food truck and we headed back to the Metro station. This particular station was not air conditioned (of course!) and we had just missed our train apparently because there was a 17 minute wait until the next one. Thankfully we ended up in a car that was air conditioned. We still had to share the tracks with other trains but the stops didn’t feel as long this time. Maybe that’s because we weren’t sweltering in the heat!
We got home around 11 last night and today I’m going to be busy packing and meeting a friend for coffee. I won’t be too long because I need to get this packing done. Tomorrow my mom wants to head down to visit family while she’s here and on Thursday we are headed back to DC to pick up my brother who is flying in to drive the truck back for me. I suppose I will have a little bit of time to pack and run errands because we don’t need to leave until sometime around 1 to pick him up. If the weather holds up, and it’s looking more and more like it won’t, Rock Star has agreed to man the yard sale for us while we pick up my brother.
Anyway, that was my day yesterday. Cliff notes version: Try to get an air conditioned Metro car and be prepared to encounter huge crowds at the Holocaust Museum.
P.S. My phone survived it’s encounter with the toilet!