When: May 6-10, 2009
Where: Hotel Hilton Washington
Price: 100 USD/day (again a very goooood price via price*line)
Airline: US Airways - NYC-DC 1 hour flight
White house (from the outside of course. You need at least 6 months in advance to ask permission to visit inside the White house) at Pennsylvania avenue. Beside the tourists, there were some demonstrations just outside the White house. There is one, an anti nuclear peace that has been there since 1981, 24 hours a day 7/7. After some moments spent watching Célia's running and chasing the squirrels and birds in La Fayette park in front of the White house, we were then heading to The Mall (I assure you it's a looong walk). We passed by the Washington monument which is in the center of the mall between the Lincoln memorial and the US Capitol. The people in Washington D.C are very friendly (friendlier than the newyorkers I guess) and helpful in giving directions. Eventhough it is the capital city of the US, you don't feel the stress and the hectic of the city. We came across a bunch of people well-dressed in a costume or uniform. They must be working for the government, army, lobbyist or secret service (those with ear piece and dark glasses, yeah just like on TV!!).
In D.C. there are no skyscrapers, you have an array of colorful resindential buildings instead. One thing I noticed though the commercial airplanes and presidential helicopters were flying just above the city, precisely around the Lincoln memorial. As they flew low, they made a lot of noise.
I also took the opportunity to visit my junior high friend, Bonita, in Leesburg, Virginia, about 1 hour from D.C. I met her again at junior high reunion in jakarta last december. We stayed a few days at their nice "wisteria lane" alike house. Célia was so excited that she called it la maison de princesse (princess' house). She enjoyed playing with David's (their kid) lego collections and the sledding outside the house. She also loved to tease their dog cassey that it played back by scratching her nose. Hopefully nothing serious, just a couple of superficial scratches. She must be enchanted living in a big space like that, compared to our small apartment :-). We've reserved one day for outlet shopping just few minutes from their house. America is the heaven for shopping! I bought a lot of summer clothes and shoes for Célia, some sports wear for me, levi's and leather jacket for hubby. The last day, we visit Mount Vernon, the residence of the first US president George Washington. We had such a lovely weather that day. Visiting inside the mansion, we had the impression that we were travelling back into the 18th century. There were some activities that also reflect this: "Martha Washington" shares her insight as the mother to her children, grandchildren, and her country in the Little Theater, learn traditional 18th-century dance steps from costumed interpreters in the upper garden and historical chocolate-making demonstrations. We would love to stay longer, but we had a plan to catch!
On may 11th in the morning we safely arrived at CDG Paris with a nice surprise: one of our luggages is sealed by TSA! Actually my friend has already warned me to screen the luggages before checking them in but when I asked the AF agent, she said "it's OK no screen needed etc etc", apparently she is not aware of this policy. So, if you travel to the US, use these compatible locks!
We feel relief (now after 7 days returning from the US) that we did not catch the pandemic swine flu. We took a lot of precautions by washing our hands with water or hygienic solutions. I must say it was an exhausting voyage. I hope that Célia enjoyed as much as we did, even if she had to take her nap in her uncomfortable buggy or sometimes we had to be less patient with her when she's playing with her food or when she's a bit cranky. But in general she was such an adorable little traveller.