Monday, September 25, 2006

DC Travel Logs-II

The Smithsonians
The Smithsonian Museums are among the most famous in the world. They are situated at different locations around the National Mall, and are a total of seven in number...or eight? or maybe even more! hehe..I'm not sure actually...let me list them down --

1. National Museum of American History
2. National Museum of Natural History
3. National Gallery of Art
4. National Muesum of the American Indian
5. National Air and Space Museum
6. National Museum of African Art
7. National Portrait Gallery seems there a few more..(atleast wikipedia tells me so) but these are the main ones anyway. Well, the sad part is (gulp) I visited only one of these (boo hoo hoo). You see, I'd actually planned to visit atleast 3-4 musuems the day I first went to the National Mall, but I ended up spending the whole day (really!) in one of them, arguably the best of them - the National Air and Space Museum. It was so huge and so spellbounding that I didn't realise time flying by. Okay, the first thing - which I feel makes these museums extra special - all of them are open free to public - something that makes me really appreciate the Smithsonian Institution - I mean, they could make so much money if they had priced tickets or something, cos people would still throng here to see them, but they haven't and that's awesome.

Well, like many other places I've been to here, the Air and Space Museum was an experience in itself. It supposedly houses the largest collection of the world's aircraft and spacecraft. The place is SO huge, I tell ya, even one day is not enough if you wanna religiously go and learn about each exhibit. Along with loads of attractions like WWII planes and other aircraft, it has four prized posessions - the original Wright 1903 flyer, the Spirit of St.Louis - in which Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean (yea yea, this lazy guy did a lil bit of learning too), the Apollo 11 command module, and the "Rock from the Moon". The Museum also has a huge 3-storey store, restaurants, flight-simulator machines, etc etc. Ohh yeah, another thing I noticed while walking around was the number of Indians...crazzzzy! almost every 3rd person I saw was an Indian - I'm not kiddin! - I kinda had to remind myself constantly that I wasn't back in India.

Well, the two most exciting places for me in the Museum was the Albert Einstein Planetarium and the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater. *sigh* We watched the 20-minute show called Infinity Express in the Planetarium, which was basically about the Universe - was so beautiful I tell ya, but wasn't totally new to me cos of having gone to the Planetarium in Trivandrum about 4-5 times. What totally - I repeat, to-ta-lly, blew me away was the IMAX experience. We saw "Magnificent Desolation", a 42 minute 3D-show about the trips to the moon - ( now get this) -written, produced and narrated by Tom Hanks. After getting out, I was so-much-still-in-disbelief-cos-of-whole-damn-thing that I just wanted to go in and experience it again. Well...I can't write about it...was that damn good! :P

No actually, its pretty late, and I have to stop now. More about DC tomorrow.

The Smithsonian Institution Castle

Aircraft here, there, everywhere

Wright Bros. Flyer

Original Buzz Aldrin spacesuit

Outside the theater


Xpressin Jay said...

kool man!!! as they say in bangalore ENJOY MAADying huh? great to know that u visited Smithsonian...

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stan_da_man said...

@xpressin jay: wish i cud go visit more of em now! no time now maaaaaaaan....used to enjoy maadi in d initial free days! now too busy :P

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