Sunday, January 18, 2009

I got it!
I picked up my press ticket!
I'm in the second green section, the green part closest to the bottom of the picture. I don't know if that means I have a seat or what, but at least I now know where I need to go and what I need to do. And it looks like I'm pretty close, so I'm happy.
Today was a good day. It got started at about 1 p.m. - because I slept for a long time and then got lazy.
I had to pick up my ticket before 3 p.m. from the Russell Senate Office Building, at Deleware and Constitution avenues, near the U.S. Capitol. Dave dropped me off at the Takoma station and I caught the red line metro to Union Station. You know, just seeing the Capitol is awesome in itself. I guess it's the idea of being so close to so may important buildings.
They got all these portapotties all over the place - like droves of them! I'm not complaining, just being overwhelmed.
And the cops! Every few feet I'd see a grouping of them - in cars, walking on the streets, on bikes. I definitely felt safe - in the daytime, that is.
Now the Senate building is like two or three blocks away. So of course I passed it up by about four blocks! Someone pointed me back in the right direction (people are nice and patient here).
I made it to the building, but getting inside was a challenge. All the main doors were locked! So I and five other journalists and two other people picking up tickets wandered around the building, pulling on doors. Two of the journalists was from Tanzania. The lady talked about how excited she was to see this inauguration, because it shows that anyone can be anything, even in her country. She also said that this helps with America's image, as well. That's what I think too.
The door we had to go in was a side door so far back no one would have seen it. One of journalists saw someone come out and followed where they came from.
We get inside, and by now it's 2:35 p.m. And we had to go through metal detectors - taking off our shoes and everything. By the time I got to the room to pick up my ticket, I had about five minutes to spare. But I got it.
After that, I went to find the Newseum - a newish museum that's totally about the media. I know it's geeky of me, but I really wanted to check this place out. As I was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, I could hear music in the distance. I figured that was the free concert with Bouncy (translation: Beyonce) and the lot down at Lincoln Memorial. I decided to skip that - wasn't in the mood for that big of a crowd.
I got the Newseum about 90 minutes before they closed. The guard there said it take about three hours to go through. And since it cost $20 to get in, I decided to go back Monday - maybe.
I bought some souvenirs for my mom and myself and then caught the yellow line north to go see the African-American Civil War Memorial. It was closed and wasn't opening again until the day after the inauguration. But the black neighborhood I ended up in was nice. And while I was up there, I happened across Ben Chili Bowl. My friend Maurniece told me to go see it - it's been on the travel channel, she said. Well, as you can see in the picture, it was crowded. I was not in the mood to stand in line, so I left.
There is excitement in the air - a lot of anticipation. It's like people are full of excitement and are waiting to let it all out on Tuesday. It's going to be maddening.
Catching the metro back to Takoma was the first time I actually encountered a crowded metro. I had to stand the whole time. It's a good thing my dogs weren't barking, ya' know? When I got back, it was dark. And I didn't want to walk the mile back to the house. So I called Dave and he came and got me. He really is a sweetheart.
I talked to some of the Dubois County people here and I'm writing my story for The Herald. After I e-mail it, it will be time for beddy-bye.
Tomorrow, I meet up with a friend and then head back to DC to, hopefully, actually go into the Newseum. Bob Pfister, of Jasper, is having a get together at his son's place tomorrow evening that I'm planning to go to. After that, I'll catch the orange line with Jarrod back to Virginia and spend the night over there, because I don't want to walk back to the house in the dark by myself. And I don't think Dave will be around.
I have to make sure I remember to take my inauguration ticket and clothes with me, since I'll be coming to it from that direction now.
I'll try to do an update tomorrow while I'm in VA, if I can Internet service.

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