So here is the low-down on our every move (drum-roll please… prepare for the following novel):
July 2nd- Today was our first day exploring DC. Kylie drove to the metro (my brave driving sister) and then we headed into the city. One of the highlights of this day was being able to meet up with Catherine Dry one of my very best childhood friends. With her we were able to see Jefferson and Lincoln statues, and catch up on the last 9ish years! We had hotdogs in the down-town and enjoyed the sights. Kylie and I also enjoyed looking at the Washington memorial, and the world war memorial (which we put our tired feet into). We also were able to do some window shopping and see the White House (way off in the distance). We got very lost driving home and arrived back at Julie’s at about midnight.
July 3rd- This morning, Julie drove us south to Stuart’s Draft where we were able to meet her parents, and then we met up with Tanya. Tanya took us around Staunton were we had a great Mexican lunch and watched some glass blowing. For dinner we went out with Tanya, David (her son) and Tiffany (his fiancé) to an old diner place where we got to order food by telephone and listen to the juke-box play. In the evening we all played Dictionary and watched Bryan Regan at the house.
July 4th- This morning we headed off to a fourth of July parade. There we got to see Woodro Wilson’s car and a lot of beauty queens (there are beauty pageants for babies, toddlers, girls, pre-teen girls and teenagers… so there really were a lot of them). It was also really cool when the old veterans walked by and people all stood up and clapped. After that we went to the Cultural Museum which was free today. It is a living museum with lots of different houses, and of course it was right up my alley. My favourite was the Irish house. Afterwards we headed to Klynes (Leeland’s favourite ice-cream place) for lunch. We headed up the mountains after that for a picnic with the extended family. It was great to meet them and especially fun for me to see Chris again. In the evening was a college and career get-together which we went to and made some smores, and then we left to watch some fireworks. First we watched some that David put on at the home, and then we headed to Staunton and watched some more. Kylie took some great pictures of the fireworks.
July 5th- In the morning we intended to go on a tour of the Black Friars theatre, but it was full and we ended up going to Wal-mart instead and buying shoes (which we were in need of)! We went home for lunch and then went back the Black Friar’s theatre and watched Twelfth Night. It was very funny and they got a great standing ovation. I would love to do something like that! The theatre is a recreated Shakespeare theatre and their motto is “we do it with the lights on” because the lights stay on during the performance. My favourite characters were Sir Andrew and Malvolio.
Afterwards we went back to the house and enjoyed watching some home videos of us all in Mozambique. We went out for Chilli with the extended family in the evening and then had a bonfire at the Brennamans. It was fun to make some smores once the fire died down a bit. Leeland put a bunch of marshmallows on a rake and did them all together- like smores the fast-food version. In the evening, Kylie and I practiced our music for the next day and then played some DDR and Dutch Blitz with the rest of the family.
July 6th- In the morning we headed off to the church, and Kylie and I sang “I can only imagine”. I was worried when I arrived and realised we weren’t going to get a mike check, but the tech guys were really on top of the track, and I would say it was the best we’ve ever sang it in front of an audience. People were crying and it was a blessing for us to be able to do. Afterwards, the extended family all went out for Chinese Food. There was a buffet and we ate a lot. It was really good! After that we came home and packed quickly and then headed into DC with Tanya through the rain and traffic. She dropped us off at the Kennedy Centre where we had a great time looking around and then watched a show called “Sheer Madness” (which was a very funny, partially-improvised murder mystery which takes place in a hair salon). Then we took the metro to meet up with Tanya, drove through the Wendy’s drive-thru and then went and stayed the night with some of her relatives in DC. They were very lovely people.
July 7th- Today we took the metro into town. Right in the morning we took a double-decker bus tour. That was nice because we were able to see lots of sights and get a good over-view and prioritize what we really wanted to see. Then we went to the Museum of Natural History where there were many stuffed animals. We had in mind to see the Declaration of Independence, but there was a really long line, so we opted to get pretzels instead. After that we went to the art museum. Highlights were the self-portrait of VanGogh, and works by Edward Degas and a Leonardo which we also got to see the back of and which was painted all retro-like (weird!). We took the bus to the spy museum were we went on an “intense interactive experience” where we were basically put into a play and had to stop a nuclear device from going on- which involved surveillance cameras, searching an apartment, riding in the back of a fake truck, decoding messages, fake names and turning off surveillance cameras and stuff. It was good fun. We took the metro back and met up with Tanya, her cousin Micheal and his parents and we went to Applebees for dinner. After that Tanya and us drove back to Stuart’s Draft. Tonight I stayed up late packing (I always tend to do that the night before I go anywhere).
July 8th- This morning, Tanya drove us to the bus-stop in Charlottesville, and we rode the bus to DC. We waited at the terminal for a while and ate some food and then got on another bus bound of New York. When we arrived we wandered somewhat dazed and confused around the terminal for a while before taking a cab to our hostel (and letting him figure out the directions). We dropped off our stuff, got changed, and then headed to the subway where we bought passes (which we would use the whole week) and took the subway to our first Broadway Show. It was Mary Poppins and it was at the New Amsterdam theatre. It was such a lot of fun. The singing was fantastic, they had a sweet set that was a house (like a doll house) so you could see all the rooms. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t the “I love to laugh” and the tea party scene, but the Chimney Sweep dance was amazing. At one point, Burt walked up the walls and tap danced on the roof while he was singing. Mary Poppins flew over the audience too which was rad.
July 9th- Today we went right away to the tourist information centre in Time Square after some Jumba Juice smoothies (oh, they were good!). There, we bought tickets to The Little Mermaid, and also New York Passes which allowed us access to “40 of New Yorks top attractions plus discounts and special offers at one low price”. Our first attraction of the day was Madam Toussaud’s Wax Museum. It was more fun than the Victoria one because the figures are meant to take pictures with. We had a really good time there. I was really scared in their chamber of horrors too- because there were actors dressed up which followed us. After that we headed to the Empire State Building which involved long line-ups, but it’s one of those things that you have to do. Even though the sky was very overcast we were still able to get some pictures. After that we did something called the Skyride which is like a virtual reality tour of NY. It was a bit borring— but it was free (like everything we did before-hand because of our pass). We had lunch at Wendy’s and then we went back to the hotel to plan and cool off. We were really hot!! We had giant pieces of pizza in Times Square for dinner, and in the evening we went to the Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre which was fantastic. The costumes were amazing! Great stuff with silk fabric and puppets. There were giraffes on stilts, and an elephant where there was a person in every leg. Young Simba was an excellent dancer, ok singer, and not an amazing actor… but he’s on Broadway and I’m not, so I can’t really say anything. When Mufassa died they used strobe lights when he fell and it looked awesome, and the stampeding buffalo scene was really great. The sets were cool too- pride rock and the elephant grave yard especially.
July 11th- This morning we went on an NBC studio Tour. That was cool because we got to see the set for Saturday Night Live. I also volunteered and got to try and do a weather forecast- except I had to read a screen, watch another screen (which was backwards) and show what was going on. That was too much thinking for me, and it turned into a good comedy show.
After that we went on a radio city tour and got to see the biggest stage in the world and meet one of the Rockettes. We also learned that the movie screen there was made out of silver (hence—Silver Screen).
After that we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) where we were allowed to take pictures. It was cool to see some Dali, VanGogh and Picasso. A lot of the art was very sexual (and random- like this lady drinking milk from a green milk-jug with a hole in it in a really sexual way), and our feet were hurting so we didn’t stay there long.
Kylie and I got dressed up this evening and we went to the Hard Rock Café in Times Square for dinner and after that went to the Little Mermaid. Their costumes were awesome too. Lots of the sea creatures were in heely shoes so they were able to glide everywhere. The ship that the prince was on was awesome because it came up (with all the characters on it), and then the light turned blue and all the sea creatures came out underneath. I really liked the part when the little mermaid rescued the prince and when she changes into a person. Now I really want to do a show where there are strings and I fly.
July 12th- Today we started out the morning with what has become a little tradition- Jumba Juice. Then we went to go on a backstage tour of Wicked. We didn’t actually go backstage, but we were able to see lots of costumes and props up close, watch a movie and learn about Broadway and talk with some chorus actors. We had lunch at subway and then went back to the hostel.
We had tickets to go on a tour of the Rockefeller center which we started. There was some cool commentary on art, and I learned a bit about the family, but mostly it was really boring and we weren’t sad to leave early. Then we headed to another theatre (not on Broadway) for the second time that day to try and get student rush tickets to the Blue Man Group. We were second in the line to get our tickets and there was a fire alarm and we all had to be evacuated and six fire trucks showed up. The Blue Man Group is fun. Totally different. They did a lot of stuff with black lights and strobe lights, drumming with pipes and paint and tricks with food (like catching marshmallows and gum balls in their mouths). There was also a lot of funny social commentary—like how rock musicians now only have to worry about dancing because they all lip sink anyways, how ‘modern art’ is an excuse for people with no artistic talent, how internet cafes are a way for us to ignore the people around us to communicate with people far away from us… it was good. At one point the whole audience got covered in tissue paper and there were black lights and strobe lights going. We went to Mac D’s after the show and then went back to the hostel and watched some TV and chillaxed.
July 13th- Today we packed up our stuff and moved to Penington House. We took a taxi there in the morning and then realised that it was actually really close our old hostel (the Sea Farers Lodge), but we wouldn’t have figured that out on our own. Then we went on a three hour boat cruise around the island. It was nice to sit and rest and take pictures of bridges. At the port there were people protesting China in Tibet. That was interesting. After that we were able to meet up with Senait (our dear old friend from way back who we think of as a big sister). With her, we went to a little French festival and enjoyed some crepes and French music before heading to Central Park. We walked around the park, listened to musicians and watched these roller-skate dancers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many roller-skates before. In the evening we went out for Ethiopian Food which was very filling and delicious.
July 15th- Today we woke up at 4.30 and packed, made the bed and left our hostel. We took a cab to the airport (where we got in the wrong line—we were confused about what airline we were traveling on, and then had to take an air train to the right place—seriously, it’s amazing this trip has turned out so well with some of the embarrassing mistakes we’ve made.) We got through security which was easy and then had some Starbucks, and then there was a gate switch, so we had to make our way to the new gate. We were on the same plane this time, but sitting at exact opposite ends. Watched “21”, ate some crackers, tried to sleep (the usual). Then we got to Seattle, got the bags, got on a bus, went through customs (easy) and then met mom and dad at the Campbell Valley Store.