Day 13 - "Go Ebony, for the love of God just go!"

First full day in DC - time to explore the swamp. Having been disappointed by our one brief glimpse of a swamp in Alabama, we are keen to explore Washington which is (or was ) both physically a swamp and, we are led to believe, a metaphorical one.

Washington seems like a pretty walking-friendly city (heat notwithstanding) and so we hit the tourist trail. First stop: the Smithsonian Aerospace museum. This is total space nerd nostalgic heaven. Walking through the door, I caught a glimpse of the Viking lander and I was instantly back in 1976...

There are lots of famous planes - The Spirit of St. Louis, something that the Wright brothers threw together, but who cares with so much space geekery to be indulged...

Remember Apollo-Soyuz?

Skylab Module

Although, having seen a test version of a lunar module, I am starting to think that all the conspiracy theories about Kubrick filming the moon landing in a studio might be true. I'm not sure that this thing ever landed anywhere - it's made of tin foil!

It's made of tin foil!

I thoroughly approve of the fact that I can get free Wifi in all of the Smithsonian buildings via eduroam. I also approve of the fact that they are all free - originally courtesy of a Brit, but now courtesy of the American tax-payer. Thanks America!

Anyway, with so much to cram in, we had to make use of a tour bus to get around some of the sites...

It's only painted white apparently

We also joined the night bus tour as we thought that this would give a different perspective. All went fairly well, although I think we may have annoyed someone by accidentally photo-bombing their Lincoln photo

Chill, there's space for all

and I feel guilty about my inappropriate thoughts as we viewed the war memorial. I can't be the only one who has been reminded of Tropic Thunder by this...

As if karma were as instant as John Lennon would have us believe, our return bus journey was fraught with peril (or at least bizarre delay). The bus ground to a halt in the middle of the road for no readily apparent reason and just stayed there. The increasingly distracted and strained commentary was an indication that all was not well.

We never found out what the exact issue was. It seems that the driver had taken a wrong turn and then wigged out - whether this was from not knowing the route back or some concern about whether the bus could get under a bridge is unclear. Eventually, the encouragement and support from passengers and tour guide crescendoed into a "Now, it's, clear now, just go, go now, for God's sake just go!" This led to a crawl forward, numerous more wrong turns and some barely legal manoeuvres to try and get back on track. Livened up the whole journey and engendered a certain comradery amongst the passengers.

As a bonus, it annoyed the hell out of the old couple who had been rude and irritating throughout the tour. I tipped accordingly.