Ah Memorial Day Weekend. The official kick off of summer here in the good old US of A and the tourists are in full bloom here in Washington DC. Already the city is full up with visitors from all over the country and across the world, including more than a few friendly Thai folk, to come gaggle and ogle at our countries many monuments and museums here in our nations capital.
More than once I have volunteered as tour guide to friends and folks from Thailand visiting or staying here in DC since I used to work for one of the biggest ‘must sees’ in Washington, The Smithsonian Museums! On top of that I worked in the Worlds Most Popular Museum (jing jing) the Smithsonians Air and Space Museum. Many people may think the Smithsonian is just one BIG museum but actually it is 17 HUGE MUSEUMS with mine being the biggest and baddest of the bunch 😉 So naturally I was a good fit to be a tour guide for two excellent reasons, namely:
1. I learned a lot of cool things about the museums from working there and
2. If you’ve read my blogs before you know I can talk. Alot. Especially if I know what it is I am talking about 😀
If you read my last blog then you will already have met Bo, my latest victim, er, guest on yet another whirl wind tour extravaganza.
That’s Bo in the upper right hand corner of the pic up there. Don’t worry I promise you will see more of him later (and less of my pale, hairy farang legs) as well as the rest of our merry bunch from this weekend. Bo is from Thailand (surprise, surprise) but has been going to school in Canyon, TX with a large group of international students. Bo is also a member of our Thai Language Group here online and has been visiting DC testing out the waters to see how he likes it here. I found a place for him to stay with a Thai host family in Maryland but they live kinda in the boonies and Bo has been going bonkers with boredom and maybe coco for coca puffs too 😛 I would have invited him to be a guest at my house but living here with my roommates has been occasionally referred to, none too affectionately, as being in MTV’s “Real World” Reality TV Show….on Acid.
“He likes the night life, he likes to boogie …”, ahem, sorry, I know it’s not karaoke night since that is not a Thai song. Anyway, my friend Bo likes to go out to nightclubs a lot and was hoping yours truly might indulge but my days on the dance floor and a bar stool have sadly all become, ‘been there, done that, and all I got was a souvenir t-shirt’ which actually I think I gave away when I donated a bunch of old clothes to the Tsunami survivors. If you see some kid wandering around Thailand with a “I got Drunk and Stupid in Washington, DC” t-shirt on now you’ll know where he got it from, besides some of the places I used to hang out and party at would make even a veteran Patpong tourist think twice!
So I compromised and Saturday I spent the day, and in fact the last 4 days more or less, with Bo hence the topic of this blogs tale. We met up Saturday morning at McDonalds just down the street from Jandara the Thai restaurant in my neighborhood that Bo worked at. When Bo got there I was slouched over my table copying my latest Thai homework. Eventually I will buy a scanner and then I can scan and post for the blogs my Thai writing assignments. That would be easier than getting the blog site to post in Thai fonts correctly every time! grrrr!
When we got off the Metro we were in Federal Triangle the heart of DC’s mega government offices and we had to cross the most famous street in America to get to all the museums on the National Mall. Pennsylvania avenue is a broad four lane boulevard that everyone in America knows because it leads to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Americas most famous address, the White House. Still as famous just as our current President is infamous but I digress no politicking in my blogs 😉
Crossing south on Pennsylvania Ave. if you turn to the right you will face the White House even though you can’t see it from where we stood but look to your left and at the other end of Penn. Ave you can see another famous land mark, the National Congress. Bo got excited and wanted to take a picture which didn’t surprise me because tourists and visitors probably take pictures of these two buildings a billion or more times each year. He brought his digital camera and I wish I had one too. The camera I bought and took my Songkran blog pics with wasn’t that great so I took it back to eventually get a much better one like our webmaster/pro photo journalist Richard 🙂
What did surprise me however was Bo’s reason to take the picture, he told me he was shocked to see how much Penn. Ave. looked just like Bangkok! Huh????
Try as I might I was not seeing it, looking at the hot dog vendors on the sidewalk I was not seeing noodle stalls and what little traffic that was on the road that morning was actually moving! Plus watching the kamikaze taxis go by I could not convince myself they were Tuk Tuks. But Bo was excited so who am I to argue points? I joked that did this mean when I am in Bangkok I might get confused and think I am still in Washington? That got a great laugh from Bo. A good laugh is always a great start, right?
Once we got to the Mall, which is what the huge park of monuments and museums is called in DC, I asked Bo which museum he wanted to see first. Personally, from experience I am convinced that the area is named ‘the Mall’ because of all the millions of tourists that ‘maul’ the place every summer. Bo was clueless where he wanted to start first so I forged ahead, to the National Museum of American History!
More to come in Pt. 2 tomorrow…bedtime for now 🙂