15
Nov 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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D.C.’s Embassy Row: Where Sovereign Nations are Smaller than Lichtenstein

Walking down Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.–that aptly named area where most of the the foreign embassies are located in America’s capital–I couldn’t get past the fact these vastly different countries were next door neighbors.  Some of the embassies seriously only had a few feet separating them.  Diplomats are supposed to be, well, diplomatic, so I’m sure the close proximity to one another hasn’t caused international crises.  Diplomats are good at smoothing things over, so if Poland is blaring techno music after 10pm and annoying Chile, who’s got an early morning the next day taking the kids to soccer practice, Chile and Poland would talk it out instead of bringing the cops into it.  Although, now that I think about it, Poland has diplomatic immunity, so Poland could rock out all night if she wanted.  But Poland’s not like that.  She would turn down the music and send over a muffin basket to Chile the next day, ’cause that’s the kind of neighbor Poland is.

Some common neighbor problems are easily avoided, since each embassy undoubtedly has their own crew of groundskeepers, which helps avoid the uncomfortable scenario of Sweden yelling at Indonesia for not mowing her lawn.  But even being able to dodge landscaping arguments, it does make one ponder: if countries can live next to each other without conflict, why can’t actual next door neighbors?

03
Oct 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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Why can’t kids act like adults when traveling?

I like children.  If raised correctly, they can be downright adorable.  But man, you get a hundred of them together on an out-of-state field trip, one involving a hotel with a pool and phones that can call other rooms for free, and I don’t care how well behaved those kids usually are, they are gonna flip.  I know they will, because I flipped when I was a kid.  For a child of 7-14, going on an extended field trip that crosses state lines is just about as good as it can get.  It’s like the most awesome sleepaway camp ever, which is the only experience that could even come close to a multi-day field trip’s level of awesomeness.  Both symbolize freedom, something kids rarely get to have.  You’re away from your parents, away from your hometown, and adults are actually treating you like an adult.  But a trip is even better than camp, because instead of having to make new friends with people you’ll never see after that summer, you get to hang out with your best friends from school.  And you’re in a really cool city with tons of fun stuff to do.  Oh, and did I mention you’re staying in a hotel with a pool?

So when I was in Washington D.C, I understood why the kids in matching baseball hats were excited.  But that didn’t change the fact I was annoyed to see them.  Let me tell you something, reading the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives loses some of its majesty when teenage girls are loudly whispering behind you about how cute Brett is.  The somberness of looking at the Vietnam Wall vanishes when a middle schooler impresses his friends by sliding down the walkway ramp post-rain storm.  And in D.C., these roaming gangs of children are everywhere.  The National Mall is full of them, invading every Smithsonian museum possible, even the lame ones you visit in hopes of escaping the crowds.

I’ve wrangled some kids in my day.  It’s not fun.  I worked as a camp counselor and was assigned a group of ten kindergarteners to supervise on our camp’s field trip to Navy Pier in Chicago.  My legs were twice as long as theirs, and yet they still managed to escape me constantly.  By the end of the day, I had seen all of Navy Pier, but mostly as a blur while I ran to grab kids before they fell in Lake Michigan.

Funny enough, my Fifth Grade Trip was to Navy Pier, where my twelve-year-old self kept telling our group leader to stop so I could take pictures with my first ever girlfriend.  I guess karma takes a while to catch up with you.

29
Aug 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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Video

D.C. Monuments and Memorials: dead, but not forgotten

Washington D.C. does not skimp on the monuments or the memorials.  Wherever you turn, a plaque or a statue is there in recognition of an event or person important in America’s history.  America is really good at chronicling its young life as a country.  I guess this is the “baby picture” stage of a country’s life, where they have way too many mementos from a small sliver of time.  Unlike visiting your Uncle Frank’s house, though, the city doesn’t force you to look at every single picture of their kid before your long drive back home.  You get to pick and choose which monuments and memorials you want to see.  Here are some highlights.

06
Jul 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION 1 Comment
Video

D.C. Food: More Than Just Freedom Fries

Washington D.C. can be a very pricey city to find a bite to eat.  This is the capital of the United States of America, after all.  Dignitaries, congressmen, and lobbyists can’t always stay in smoke-filled back rooms discussing ways to take over the world.  They have to schmooze in public, too, which means fancy fare restaurants are easy to find.  If you plan your meals right, though, you can navigate this money vortex with an affordably full stomach.

29
Jun 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments