We were supposed to meet at 8 AM in the lobby, though Mr. Mannix decided to push that back until 9, which I am grateful for. More sleep is always nice when you're traveling so much. We had breakfast at the buffet in the hotel, and Mr. Mannix debriefed us for the day as we ate.
After we finished breakfast, we went back to our hotel rooms for last minute preparations. I tried to take a power nap because I wanted the extra sleep, though it didn't seem to help that much. I was just really tired throughout the morning, though. I really wanted to sleep in! Summer! I only had a few minutes, though, so I got up soon and grabbed my backpack for the day.
We walked over to Whole Foods to buy lunch. We weren’t going to have the time to go to a restaurant to eat later, so it would be best for us to buy something for later. I bought a chicken sandwich, and I also bought banana chips since we were to buy snacks.
After we left Whole Foods, we took the bus. It was a longer ride compared to yesterday. We landed near the White House and simply walked over to take a look around. I couldn’t help but notice the political activism from the people around the front gate of the White House; for example, I saw a group that was passionate about the sinking of the South Korean ferry. Since I didn’t go up to them, I wasn’t sure about what message they had, though I had an idea from their shirts and signs.
After we left the front gate of the White House, we started walking again. We saw the parade right outside the security checkpoint of the Washington Memorial, though we didn’t stick around for the entire parade. I didn’t find the parade too interesting, though I think my cohort was rather fascinated.
We crossed the security checkpoint right after and made our way to the Holocaust Museum. After some waiting inside, we entered the permanent exhibit, which started from the fourth floor and worked its way down. The cohort parted ways and agreed to meet at the end, since the exhibit is linear. I worked through the exhibit by reading the primary descriptions for each part of the exhibits, though I skipped the descriptions for the smaller things since we did not have all the time in the world. As Mr. Mannix said, if one were to read everything in the exhibit, then the museum would be at closing time by the time that the individual finishes. The museum was a very unique experience, with the solemnity contributing greatly to the atmosphere. The quantity of the content helped deliver the details of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and the museum went far beyond the simple details taught in high school history classes.
After we left the museum, we found a grassy spot to sit and have lunch. It was nice having a break after all the seriousness of the Holocaust museum. We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space, which most definitely had a different atmosphere from the Holocaust Museum. The Air and Space Museum was a lot more packed with people, and it gave visitors the freedom to go to any exhibit they wished, instead of the linearity of the Holocaust Museum. The four of us split up from Mr. Mannix after we agreed to meet up at a specific space, though we decided to stay in a group instead of completely breaking up. We did not go through the Air and Space Museum the way we did with the Holocaust Museum. We were a bit tired and we did a lot of reading from the exhibits, so I was not in the mood to do any more reading at the Air and Space Museum. We went about in a relaxed manner and just looked at the exhibits.
We met Mr. Mannix outside and began to walk all the way to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. We stopped by since it was on our way to the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool, where we would watch the fireworks. When we arrived at the Reflecting Pool, we claimed a spot and waited for the fireworks to start, although we went up in turns to see the Lincoln Memorial and to use the bathroom.
After a good amount of waiting and some snacking, the fireworks began. The quality of the fireworks exceeded my expectations, though it is understandable since this is Washington, D.C. I normally don’t watch fireworks, though watching these fireworks made me think back to last years’ fireworks.
When the fireworks ended, everyone at the National Mall left at the same time, completely crowding the streets of Washington, D.C. on the way back to their living quarters. The whole city had tons of traffic, so we decided to walk back to our hotel instead of trying to take the bus. We chatted and joked around on our way back, and the walk felt as if it took only twenty minutes, Mr. Mannix tells us, though, that the walk took well over an hour!
We dropped off our stuff and headed out to get a late dinner. We decided on pizza near the hotel, and the rest of the cohort ate in my hotel room, while Mr. Mannix went back to his own room. After the girls finished, they went back to their room, leaving me in my own room to contemplate about the day and to get ready to leave the next morning.
Today was a relaxed day. Well, relaxed in terms of colleges. We did nothing college related, though we spent a lot of time being tourists, and that sapped my energy. I truly did enjoy it, though, and I’m glad we were able to see the fireworks out here.