7/12 Washington, DC 3656 Miles

Our last day in our Great Nation’s Capitol.
We wanted our last day to be leisurely, with only a few more things on the list to see, and this is really the wrapping of our vacation so we figured we should take it easy and relax. We slept in a bit, got ready and headed out around lunchtime. We meandered towards tourism central, hoping to find something to eat. A stop at a place called Harry’s was just what we needed. It was hard to tell if it was really a throwback kind of charming diner with brusque waitresses, simple food, and pleasant atmosphere, or if it was a calculated marketing ploy that worked beautifully. Hard to say, and frankly I didn’t care after my food was delivered and I found 2 Oreo cookies nestled in the chips. I ate one right away and saved the other for dessert. Oreo cookies, hooray.
After lunch we realized we had gotten pretty close to the White House and there was no need to find a Metro station. Someday I will develop a special skill where I will be able to easily maneuver from one map to another and not be messed up by the change in scale. Until then, I will always be surprised to find that the distance from the capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is not equal to the distance between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Inside the White House visitors’ center, there was a man dressed as Thomas Jefferson rambling on about important things. I wonder if they specifically started hiring Thomas Jefferson docents that looked like Nick Nolte once the movie came out? I won’t ponder hard on this one, as I have more important things on my mind, like whether or not butter goes bad even if kept cold.
Near the White House is the Department of Commerce Building, and in a city-planning coup, the National Aquarium is located in the basement. I am trying to imagine the meeting in which they are deciding where to put all the tourist attractions on the Mall, and the powerful Department of Commerce lobby managed to get the aquarium in their basement. Probably very much like the meeting where they decide to put a monorail in Springfield, but with less singing and more oral sex.
The aquarium itself is a modest attraction (it’s in the basement of a building that houses a department not in any way related to icthyology). The whole place is reminiscent of a fish store, but the information at each display is thorough and there are many species here that you don’t see regularly at other aquariums. The highlight of my visit was the little boy with his mother, one display behind me. He paused at the tank with the gigantic lobster. “Look, mom, it’s Larry Lobster.” I didn’t catch the reference immediately, then all was clarified: “Mom, where’s SpongeBob?” I wanted to die right there. The kid wanted to see SpongeBob! This was quite possible the most perfect child on the planet.
There was a tank with a nurse shark with a remora stuck on his head, which was good for a few laughs. The touch pool was loaded with horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, starfish and snails. I felt bad for these animals just trying to hang out, maybe put the moves on that chick with the fancy shell, then suddenly they are torn from their world and smacked around. Sure, this new life keeps you safe from predators that want to eat you, but the average 5 year old is a different beast altogether.
After this, we meandered slowly down the mall, communed with the geese and dragonflies, and headed towards the Vietnam Vets and Lincoln Memorials. There at the end of the mall we sat quietly and had one of the most vicious games of ‘What’s Their Story’ of the whole trip. Nothing was spared and no sympathy was allowed. This whole day was about war memorials, and after flirting with some park rangers, we happened by the Korean Memorial, the DC War Memorial and the future site of the WWII Memorial. We walked a lot this day.
We found our way to the Metro, headed back to the hotel, and collapsed. Not having enough energy to call up for the car and then try to actually pick a place that we would both want to eat at, we decided to order in. A mess of Indian food was delivered and we watched a Star Trek movie until bedtime. We had worn ourselves out and decided that it was, in fact, time to go home.