Washington D.C. Part 1: Or, how to use three rolls of film in one museum.

Hello readers! I am so sorry for my extended absence. I have been back for over a week, but work has taken a turn towards total chaos, and things like seeing Moonrise Kingdom, writing about Frida Kahlo, and sleeping have become more important to me.

Alright, my adventures on the East Coast! They were mostly either extraordinarily hot or either severely air-conditioned.

The moment I landed in DC, the change from the dry dry heat of Montana has so noticeable, I think my curly hair rose a few inches from all the humidity- it continued to defy gravity for most of the trip. That evening, we drove around the Mall, where I got to meet Einstein, gawk at the tourists on the Segways, and admire D.C. for all its POWER. And yes, that is the word I want. Power in the solid, stoic buildings that convey strength and independence and all those good old American (‘MURICA!) values. You know, all those patriotic things that only Americans value? (Joking: I have a running streak of cynicism with American Special Snowflake Syndrome: that is for another post).

Anyway, the next morning, Meghan and I took the D.C. metro, a creaking but clean form of transportation into the city and went straight to the Museum of Natural History. I could have spent a week exploring each nook and corner of this gorgeous space- the mineral collection alone could have sustained my curiosity for eons, no doubt! Meghan imitated giraffes and turtles, I photographed skeletons with a fever I normally reserve for food, and we spent half the day there- hardly scratching the surface on the beautiful things there!

After that we went to the Hirshhorn Gallery, where we played in 3-D sculptures and imitated Francis Bacon and other modern artists. The security gaurds were wary but amused when I went into a pose like Francis Bacon- I hope we made their day a bit more interesting.

Afterwards we decided to devote our afternoon to the Holocaust Museum. I don’t know if my words are even going to come close to describing the museum and the experience it attempts (and succeeds) in giving- total claustrophobia, darkness, cold, general feelings of being uncomfortable- the museum highlights suffering and tempers it with facts about genocide, racism, and how this managed to occur in Germany (and all over Europe).

I’ve been to both the Dachau and the Auschwitz concentration camps- however, both were in the open, with much of the artifacts largely removed. Auschwitz was another story- a creepy sinister feeling hung over everything, but when we went in April everything was blooming- purple flowers grew close to the brick buildings where women were sexually abused and experimented on, and green grass gave the whole place a fresh smell, when in reality Auschwitz should be plagued forever by the terrible stench of death. It felt too bizarre.

The Holocaust Museum gave me the sinister vibes WITH the artifacts and minus the creepy spring everything-in-bloom-renewal feelings. We left emotionally exhausted, and wandered the streets until we decided we were good to ride the metro.

 

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