By Julianne Klampe, Nate Erickson, Larissa Wurm, Noelle Smith, and Josh Schoenblatt
When in Rome talk to the Romans, yet the first person we ran into was a Canadian. He was a very polite gentleman, but he was not much help with directions because he mainly went from his home to his office at the Canadian Embassy.
We quickly moved on and found a cabbie, who knew the city a little better. He approached our apparently helpless group to point us in the right direction. While giving us directions, he gave us a short lesson on the orientation of the city, explaining the layout of lettered and numbered streets. It was a lot to take in at once, but even at least we absorbed some of it. He also told us he’d avoid the crowds on Inauguration Day, spending the day on his couch. We assume he’s been in the city long enough to see an inauguration or two.
After a small dose of caffeine we moved onto our first destination. There, we established ourselves as “The Vana White Group.”
We perfected our hand motions and you can see them throughout our pictures. We wandered along the national mall and found “The Castle.” That was just a quick stop considering we were more entertained by Inauguration Day set-up, construction, and selfies in front of The Washington Monument. As we walked towards the Einstein Statue, cars whizzed past us. We observed that local Washingtonians do plenty of j-walking. So we did too.
When we arrived at the statue, we heard chanting voices nearby that drew our attention. We quickly realized it was a protest of some kind in front of the State Department building. The people were wearing brightly colored native clothing and waving flags. We were given a pamphlet that explained these were Burmesee people protesting terrorism in their home country. They were here because they are asking the State Department to intervene.
After pulling ourselves away from the protest, we walked up to the “Church of the Presidents.” We “Vana Whited” the sign that said the church was closed in our photo. We stopped for a quick bite before taking the metro to DuPont Circle. We looked the part of tourists, pulling out our maps several times. We tried not to feel self conscious about it, but the cameras around our necks probably gave us away anyway.
On the way to our final destination, we felt like we were contestants on “The Amazing Race,” literally running so that we wouldn’t be late. However, being “Iowa nice” we made time to actually give someone else directions in our hurry. No worries, we made it with seconds to spare.