Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Getting to DC was easy--Penn Station in B'more was well-organized with signs and abundant helpful staff. The train was on time and got to Union Station in 50 minutes. We planned to walk a couple blocks to the Navy Memorial building, where we had tickets to hang out inside and watch the parade, and thought we could move to the mall later, or vice versa.
But then we got a text update from the campaign which said we could only enter the Mall from the south, so we had a quick vote concerning the parade or the Mall, and the Mall won. We jumped on the Metro and got to L'Enfant Plaza where the scale of the crowd became evident. It took 45 minutes in a grindingly slow push to get out of the station. Thank goodness nobody panicked or yelled "fire!"
The walk to the Mall was bitter cold, and the entire area had been converted into a series of single-exit corrals, set up like a cheese maze for a rat. We found a spot a quarter-mile in front of the Washington Monument at about 9am; that was about as close as we could get at that time. Gradually the entire Mall filled in behind us.
I froze my nards off, but had a great time. We could see the dome of the Capitol Building, but watched the Inauguration like everyone else on TV. The energy was unbelievable.
Getting out of the Mall was a disaster. The lines for the Metro were ridiculous. I walked from L'Enfant Plaza to Union Station because my ticket home was earlier than everyone else's--I got there at 3:30 to find a mob crammed to the side of the building with some ineffectual moron cops incapable of crowd control yelling through a malfunctioning loudspeaker. I finally go into the station at 5:10, just in time for my train.
Pooped! I am plumb tuckered out. How can I teach today? I can barely stand up.