The Find Air Conditioning ASAP Tour of DC 2011

The Over 30 Roadtrip rolls into Washington DC through air so thick and damp that we have to drop an anchor. DC is the muggiest place I have ever been in the real world (Florida doesn’t count – ever). Three minutes outside in the heat and I morph into a sloth. We trudge through streets that are like a jungle and Collin and I are in a gooey national geographic special searching for red-bellied lemurs and the elusive hot dog stand.

But there are monuments to be viewed.

After living in Europe for a number of years, I wonder if the monuments will have the same effect on me. They are not as old, but they are mine. There are hints of nationalistic admiration that come up. I find at one point that I am humming “The Star Spangled Banner.” However, the pride I should be feeling is being smothered to death by the intense heat.

The war memorials, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument frame the mall, almost shimmering in the wet heat. We take baby steps through the city and at one point our map actually liquifies and becomes one with the muggy air. Collin and I move to the monuments and lethargically take pictures of each other and grunt and figure out the next memorial. This is invariably followed by a moan of disgust as we see how far the next destination is and then we shift towards it like hunch-backed Mystics towards the dark crystal. The reflecting pool is under construction, nixing my fantasy of diving in with maniacal laughter and dealing with the police after.

We are passing a squat building just as someone opens the front door and a thread of cold air hits us. Without speaking, we immediately change direction and enter the building. The guard checks our bags, and we start through and look at glass artwork and wooden carvings. I have no idea what this museum is named or what its purpose is, having only vaguely heard the word Smithsonian mentioned by the woman at the front desk. The air conditioning is glorious and freezing cold. We sit on a bench for a few minutes and then Collin nods his head and I understand that this is the “We have to go back out there” signal. As we leave the air-conditioned room and back onto the surface of the sun, we cry.

About a hundred yards down the road there is another building. This one has dolls and we enter without hesitation. By the time we get to the Air and Space Museum in the late afternoon, our hearts are swelling with the pride we couldn’t find earlier. Pride for museums and air conditioning. Washington’s museums are world class and nobody does air conditioning like the USA. I have never been more appreciative of both.

As we finish the day at the Air and Space Museum, both of us fall asleep on a bench surrounded by other tourists. When we wake and Collin breaks the news that he wants to see The Capitol (outside), we unceremoniously christen the DC section of the Over 30 Roadtrip and step back onto the surface of the sun. I plot a revenge for this final action involving a long drive to Pittsburgh and many bowls of chili.

Best museum to fall asleep in?

  1. #1 by Chris on July 25, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    The Museum of Natural Silence (gg)

  2. #2 by Emma on July 25, 2011 - 10:07 pm

    ah, that would be the third museum in Vienna. the other two legs of the triangle are made up of the cool dinosaur stuff museum and the art museum. the third is the museum dedicated to long German things (possibly the gotterdammerung-siegheil-blitzkreig-danke-wurst muzeum, but i could be wrong). i once slept there on a beanbag in the lobby for a good four hours on a sunday morning, after an unfortunate saturday night incident where all my money was spent on beer, sausages and haunted houses at the amusement park, resulting in me being unable to afford a hotel room. which leads to another “best”: Vienna train station has the best floor on which to sit and eat fifty cent coffee-kuchen. and of course, fifty cent coffee-kuchen is the best thing to eat when you haven’t eaten for ten hours and you only have fifty cents and your return train ticket in your pocket…

  3. #3 by jill on July 25, 2011 - 11:54 pm

    While vising my sister in London, we took a side trip to Libon. After an unfortunate series of events including drinking irresponsibly, urinating myself, vomiting in the middle of London Heathrow, repurchasing airfare our agent never booked, we finally made it to Lisbon. Our first attraction was the Castello del Sao Jorge where Molly and I had the best naps since preschool.

  4. #4 by Damien Galeone on July 26, 2011 - 3:00 am

    Chris, perfect Dad impersonation. Em, we should never travel together, we would gain too much weight. Jill, ‘best naps since preschool’ is a phrase that makes me jealous of 5 year olds.

  5. #5 by Emma on July 26, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    incorrect. we should never travel together because we would have no coherent memories of the trip.

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