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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Washington

Monday, March 12, 2007

Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 12/03/2007 20:36:00

Well, I didn't finish off my Travel Log before the end of 2006 - but the main advantage of having a limited (read: no) readership is that no one cares when I'm late.

Day 15 was spent doing more touristy things in Washington and was pretty jam packed. We couldn't be bothered finding out if White House tours were available, or how to organise one, so we just took some happy snaps outside the gates. Initial fears that we would look like "dodgies" while performing surveillance on the official home of the President were allayed when we were just one of many people taking similar photos (and we were one of two couples that could have been crowned "Least Terrorist Looking" of the bunch).

Whitehouse
The White House from the South - don't know why the flag was half-mast though

Me in front of Whitehouse
"L'homme blanc gelant ses seins"

Bell in front of Whitehouse
Belinda modelling the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide to Washington

After viewing the White House we high-tailed it to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We pretty much only visited this museum for one reason, to see a giant dinosaur skeleton, and it didn't disappoint in this respect. It did, however, disappoint by housing a rather comprehensive collection of diamonds and jewels. I won't bore you with the 26 photos (Bell took a pic of every jewel!) - but it was pretty cool to see the Hope Diamond in the stone.

Elephant
If you look carefully, you can see Ben Stiller in the background preparing for a movie role

Skeleton
Crappy photo, but I had to add a pic of a T-Rex

Glasses
When reviewing these photos I've come to the conclusion that I've turned into my father

Quartz
Some of the rocks did look pretty cool

Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond

Just down the road was the National Air and Space Museum which I was really looking forward to. We saw lots of air and space related exhibits, and had a quick ride in an aeroplane simulation (which was awesome!). I must say one of the highlights was seeing space-candy and space-Coke! We were running out of time, so had to rush through the second half of the museum, but it was a lot of fun.

Cockpit
Doesn't look that difficult

Plane
The Wright Brother's plane, they are from a seven child family. The most that my six siblings and I could produce was a healthy dose of repressed mental illnesses resulting from concentrated teasing. So I guess both the Wrights and the Dixons achieved something in their own small way

Candy
The money shot - space M&M's. I can't wait to travel to Las Vegas to check out even more candy goodness!

Coke
Pretty funny that they made both space Coke and space Pepsi. Some food joints only offer Pepsi - space has a wider array of soft drink

Controls
I reckon I could wing it

We had organised tickets for the Capitals-Predators game, so we decided to grab some Hooters for dinner. Unfortunately there's no more photos though - as the area of Washington we were staying in was not the nicest (felt it was safer to leave the camera at home). Hooters had nice food - but I'm pretty sure most of the patrons were not really there for the food. Our waitress was quite rude, probably because she thought a couple would not tip her as well as a table of drunk college kids (she was probably right). Wasn't the nicest meal we had whilst in the US - but I'm happy I've had a Hooters experience.

As we hadn't planned to watch a game while in Washington, and we weren't that interested in the result, we choose to purchase cheap tickets in the "nose bleeds". I was really struck with the lack of crowd - sure it was mid-week but there was almost nobody there. I got to see rookie phenom Alex Ovechkin score a pretty sweet power play goal, and a damn potent power play unit from Nashville.

After the game we went back to the hotel to pack for the next day, and got lots of sleep!


This is the 16th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 22/10/2006 20:51:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 27/10/2015 16:33:36


Haven't blogged for two months - figured I might as well try to finish off the Travel Log

Bell was quite excited for day 14, as it was a trip to another zoo - this time the Washington Zoo. The Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution so entry was free - which was welcomed by Bell and I.

Washington Zoo
The Washington Zoo - and some snow spattering

Decorative Lion
I think his name is Alsan

There were a few animals of note, such as the striped zorse. The strangest exhibit by far was the "Australiana" section. It was supposed to hold Emus and Kangaroos - but when we were there it was just filled with snow (which kangaroos don't have to deal with too often).

No Animals
Not surprisingly, the Kangaroos and Emus were inside on this brisk morning

We were actually at the Washington Zoo at the right time, as the Giant Pandas had a new addition (in baby form). It was very busy (and a 10 minute gawking limit was in place), but Bell managed to get a few photos of the bears (which were, admittedly, somewhat cute).

Where are you
Now where'd my kid go?

There you are
Climbing mummy mountain

Hungry
Hungy!

Pandas
When I heard that the Panda had a child - I assumed this is what they would act like. We don't all get what we wish for

As it was cold outside, a lot of the animals were kept indoors (such as the afore mentioned kangaroos and emus). It was very strange seeing a giraffe and hippo inside - but it did mean we were up pretty close.

Giraffe
The background picture fooled me for a minute (I thought I was an African)

Hippo
Doesn't look too big here

Big Boy
Hippo's about to get his food on

Stampy
The elephant reminded me of Stampy, it kept on head-butting this blue barrel

We then went into the gorilla exhibit, which was a little sad. There were signs up saying that the gorilla didn't like lots of movement from the audience and had a few pointers for approaching them (very slow, don't walk up to them while facing them etc). Of course, everyone ignored these pointers and the gorillas looked a little upset by this. At least they weren't being shot to produce masks.

Unhappy
Not happy Jan

Yummy
The Thinker

Peekaboo
Peek-a-boo!

After the gorillas we moved on to the tigers (of course, Belinda's favourite animal) which took up a bit of our time. They were pretty cool - but I'd already stood next to Belinda for about 4 hours at Tiger Island, and it doesn't take too long to get sick of tigers. They didn't do too much that was interesting, but they were kinda cool to watch.

Tiger
Good shot by Bell

Pounce
I think he's about to pounce on the keg. It's alcoholism that's actually killing off the world's Tiger population

That's pretty much it for day 14 - only 3 more to go. I really hope I can finish it this year!


This is the 15th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/08/2006 02:19:00

Yes, it's early and I couldn't think of a proper title

After a lazy morning we dragged ourselves out of bed for some lunch. While Belinda had a boring Subway - I tried out the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" at Fuddruckers. They may not be world beating - but they were all kinds of fantastic! I ordered a triple cheese burger (I like cheese), and it came with just a bun, cheese and the meat. Somewhat perturbed I wondered if "World's Stingiest Hamburgers" had been misspelled, when I saw the condiment table. Brilliant! A whole area with every condiment under the sun to add to your hamburger. I added the exact amount of mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, onion and tomato that I wanted - and had probably the best hamburger consumed while in America.

The rest of day 13 was going to be spent getting a tour of the district to see the sights. It turned out that the place we needed to pick up our tickets was about 45 minutes away in a taxi - and we didn't think the travel time and taxi fare would be worth it. So we created our own tour!

First stop was the Washington Monument. It was snowing fairly heavily, so crowds were no problems, and when we got to the Monument there was noone else there.

Pointy
Quite striking, isn't it

While it was quite tall, the real draw (in my opinion) was the elevator ride up the Monument. The windows in the lift showed the memorial stones that were used during construction of the Monument, I found it very interesting. Apparently when donations for the Monument ran out in 1854, some people from Alabama suggested that all states and territories donate memorial stones for the interior walls, made from a product of the state's soil. In total there are 193 stones, as professional organisations, American Indian tribes, business, foreign nations etc also donates stones.

Some of the interesting stones are the Alaskan stone - the most expensive as it's made from green jade. The stone from Japan is made from volcanic rock with a Japanese inscription. Not too surprisingly the New York stone is the biggest, and forced the Monument Society to request a maximum size for all future donations. And Peter Force, a one time Mayor of Washington, donated his own stone which was basically just his name in large letters (after which the Society refused donations from individuals).

Other random Monument facts:

  • At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in world
  • It remains the tallest building in Washington due to restrictions on the height of new constructions
  • The total cost to build was $1,187,710


After the Monument we decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. After a few snowball fights we got there and saw that the actual statue of Lincoln was under construction, but we still asked him some questions.

Lincoln Memorial View
The view of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument

Washington Monument View
The view of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial
Geez! I knew a guy in Primary School that had the head gear with his braces, but this is ridiculous!

Our lunch was very satisfying so we decided to just try some "ordered in" food from a local Italian store for dinner. When it finally arrived it was cold and of poor quality - so we just fed ourselves from the friendly vending machine (healthy, I know). Our next day was going to be filled with Zoo adventures, so we had ourselves an early night.


This is the 14th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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Monday, July 31, 2006

Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 31/07/2006 23:56:00

And so does Mrs. Dixon, of course

About a year ago Belinda and I were planning our honeymoon. At that stage, we were about 90% sure we would never be able to afford a holiday to America just a few days after our wedding. Added to the cost was the effort of organising a overseas trip at the same time as planning a wedding, buying a house and moving out of a home for the first time. All this meant the likelihood of a honeymoon was low - but it also meant we didn't cut too many corners for the plan (why skimp when it's not going to happen). One such extravagance we added was "there's 5 days between to hockey games while we're in Pittsburgh - we might as well go to Washington instead of just hanging around". So on day 12 of our trip - we flew to Washington.

We woke up early and finished packing for our flight, and went straight to the airport. At the hotel lobby, the guy noticed that we had our bags and asked if we'd like him to call us a cab for the airport. Sure, why not, we said. When the cabbie finally turned up (I'm sure we could have found one much quicker) he put our bags in his car - and I thought I saw him give the hotel guy some money.

Anyway - our guy was really nice - and his car was great. He said he was an old footballer for the Cleveland Browns, but he was a huge Steelers fan. Guess Pittsburgh just wears people down like that. He gave us his card - and said he'd be happy to be at the airport to pick us up when we returned to Pittsburgh. I assume he organised this so he wouldn't have to pay some other dude just for calling his number. But he was nice to talk to - and he didn't cost that much more than the bus we took from the airport when we arrived at Pittsburgh - so it was fine.

Bobbin
A google search of our limo driver's brings up this guy - so I assume the above picture is what our driver looked like in his playing days. (I admit it - I just like bobbleheads)

As we usually tried to do, we arrived at Pittsburgh airport early for our flight - so we had some lunch. While we were waiting for our flight, we noticed that almost half of the airport were hanging around the stores with televisions. Sure enough, the town favourites were playing a game that day. Apparently (I really didn't pay much attention) it was a do-or-die game for their season - which they ended up winning. We could tell the result of the game just by listening to everyone else's reaction - which we ended up having to do for a while as our plane was delayed.

Once the plane was finally ready, we boarded to our seats. This plane was very small compared to all the others we had been on - I guess there's relatively few people traveling from Pittsburgh to Washington. Nothing interesting at all on this flight, except that the wings had ice on them - which was shot off by a high pressure water gun machine (very cool).

We got a taxi back to the hotel, which turned out to be pretty uninteresting. We decided to catch a movie and try to have a typical American evening. We ended up seeing Just Friends, which was a great choice. It was a comedy (which we both love), had some romance and a bit of hockey. Perfect for our honeymoon. After the movie we had some dinner at a random food place, I can't even remember what it was called. It was funny though - the waitresses had no idea what Belinda was saying - and kept talking about how cool her accent was (they thought she was European). I had to translate for us - turns out all that American TV watching was useful.

Our hotel was two blocks from the dinner venue - so we walked. It was getting pretty late, and it got very creepy. There was a car that was following us with people pointing at us from the inside - and some dude just walked up to us murmuring something. Apparently our hotel wasn't in the nicest of neighbourhoods, but we got back ok. This was the only time on our trip that we felt scared - and it kind of soured the whole Washington segment.

Anyway - we found our way home - and Belinda had a great suggestion. She asked if I wanted to watch a hockey game while we were in Washington (that's why I married her - so thoughtful!). It really was a great suggestion - as there was another highly rated rookie that played for the Capitals - Alex Ovechkin. I called the MCI center - and found out there was a game that fit our schedule quite well - and it turned out the rink was just around the corner from our hotel room! It was a sign.


This is the 13th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)
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