Thanksgiving in the USA (6)

I have long been fascinated by the American political system (if you Google those three words, my website guide will be referenced in the first page of results) and intrigued by American politics (which is why a visit to the USA within a couple of weeks of Donald Trump’s election as president is so interesting). Long ago when it was possible, I visited the White House (the executive arm of government) for the official tour and today (Wednesday) I visited or revisited the other two arms of government – the legislature and the judiciary – with Mike and Laura.

On the metro journey into town, the train stopped because a train ahead had broken down and our driver announced constantly that we would be moving “momentarily”. What on earth does that word mean?

Downtown first stop was the Capitol which looked magnificent, gleaming white in the autumn sunshine. The official tour is around an hour, beginning with a film (“Out Of Many, One”) and then looking at just three locations in this working building: the Crypt, the Rotunda, and the National Statutory Hall. Since 2008, there has been a new underground Visitors Center and this includes an Exhibition Hall which is almost a mini museum. There are slide shows explaining the roles of the House of Representatives and the Senate and there are a significant number of information panels and cases of artefacts.

After three hours in the Capitol, next stop was the Library of Congress which can be reached by an underground tunnel from the Congress itself. Opened in 1897, this is said to be the world’s largest repository of knowledge with more than 162 million items in more than 470 languages. Highlights here are the imposing Reading Room and the 6,500 books making up the Jefferson Library but, if you have time, there are other informative displays.

Our third and final visit on the Hill was next door at the Supreme Court. This was opened in 1935 when the Chief Justice was the former President William Howard Taft. We were able to view the Court Room where the nine Justices (only eight at the moment) conduct their public deliberations. Again there is a very helpful film and again there is an interesting set of exhibits.

It was quite late in the afternoon when we had lunch but it was a rather special meal because we used a gift card given to Mike to visit an upmarket steak house restaurant called “Mortons” located close to Faragut North metro station. I had roasted tomato brisque, followed by prime sirloin chopped steak with caramelised onion, cheddar cheese and mashed potatoes, finishing with a dessert of double chocolate mouse. Another great day in DC.

Back in Brinklow for the evening, we watched a mediocre comedy/drama movie from 2003: “Hollywood Homicide” starring Harrison Ford and Josh Harnett.

One Comment

  • Andy R

    “said to be the world’s largest repository of knowledge”
    Congress: So much (access to) knowledge, so little wisdom.
    * sigh *


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