Jun 18, 2008

Day 19 - Washington to Chicago

We knew the weather was going to be nice in town, so decided not to waste our time by being lazy.

After having a decent breakfast at an in-hotel restaurant, we left the hotel for more sightseeing after check-out.

Our first destination was the US Capitol since we couldn't get there during the day due to the thunderstorm we had. Teruko had been to Washington five years ago, and wanted to take a photo at the exactly the same place in front of the Capitol building. I am really pleased that Teruko is enjoying her visit to these cities in the US by rolling back the years. The weather allowed us to take some stunning photos, although had we come here in the afternoon then it would have been better because the sun would be shining on the front side of the building.

Once we finished taking photos of ourselves in front of the Capitol, a policeman on guard rushed to us on a bicycle and said 'no tripod please'. This is the second time we were disallowed to use tripod in the States, but on each occasion we were not given explanations whether this could be seen as a potential security risk, for safety reason for other tourists, etc. The area in front of the Capitol fountain was almost empty, so I could not see it as precaution for other tourists. Anyway, whether we like it or agree, rules are rules.

After the US Capitol, we wandered around the garden in front of the Capitol where they are setting things up for Forklife Festival coming up in a few weeks time. We also visited the Smithsonian Castle that has a very distinctive design for its buildings.

Because of the clear sky we got and the sun is perfectly located, we headed to the White House again for taking better pictures than yesterday. Things really lived up to our expectation and we took some stunning photos of the White House.

We headed to Dupont Circle for sushi lunch at Sushitaro (http://www.sushitaro.com/)because we could not have a dinner there last night. This time, fortunately, we could get a table as we went there after lunch break for those working in this city. The reason we wanted to come here was not so much because we were desperate for Japanese food or anything, but because this is a restaurant former US Presidents took former Japanese Primer Ministers for informal dinner. So we wanted to see whether this place serves sushi of Japanese standard, or “American standard”. Our attempt was rewarded with some tasty sushi, so perhaps those serving for previous US Presidents did a bit of research before inviting their guests from Japan.

Time was up for us both at Sushitaro and in Washington DC. We grabbed our suitcases from Harrington Hotel and headed to the Union Station from where we were catching a train to Chicago. I have seen photos of Washington DC Metro stations many times, but they really have such a simple but unique structure. My new digital camera also allowed me to take some fine photos that show how they look and feel accurately.

Since the VIA Rail train we took from Jasper to Toronto almost two weeks ago, we had not done any overnight train trip, so it felt a bit strange to be doing another overnight trip. It is interesting that Amtrak has power supply for every seat on short distance trains, while it doesn't on long distance ones. I would think that, although businessmen need it on short distance train, people need it more on long distance trains. But they don't have it on long distance ones, which meant that we have to use our electronic devices wisely.

We had some decent views around the route, if not spectacular, while eating our dinner we grabbed from the food court at the Washington Union railway station in the observation lounge.

Time to go to bed as we are arriving in Chigago at 8:30AM tomorrow.

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