The brochure said we would see most of the “important” things to see in Washington D.C. in 9 hours. Our Grayline bus rolled out of Union Station at 8am. That’s a decent hour except we had been at the National Mall for the concert and fireworks and then spent 2 ½ hours fighting huge crowds merging into two lines(pushing and shoving) to get on the Metro subway. It took another hour to finally arrive at our Alexandria station, a short drive to find food at midnight, and finally collapse into bed at 1:30am. Tired and a bit grouchy, we settled into our bus seats for a ride to the Capitol building…the same spot we had been for the concert 12 hours earlier.
On the bus I noticed an elderly bald Indian gentleman wrapped in white clothing who stared at me with deep set eyes that were kind. He had a gentle smile. He looked like Mahatma Gandhi. I have only seen pictures and old movie reels of Gandhi, but this could be his twin.There were three generations with him. His wife, son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter.
It seemed the bus was filled with every nationality on earth so I enjoyed watching all the different people we interacted with all day.
We did a few hours at the Capitol, a few hours at two different Smithsonians’(there are 19 Smithsonian Museums) and we pulled up a block or so away from the White House around 1:40 pm. Each time the bus driver would announce what time the bus would leave. If one was late, the bus went on without you. Sorry, Charlie.
We walked up to the North lawn of the White House, snapped some pictures, walked around the immense Executive building and around to the South Lawn of the White House. I took this picture of Amy outside the South Lawn.
We strolled back to the appointed bus stop around 2:20. Amy thought the bus driver said we would leave at 2:30. I thought he said 2:40. We sat there until 2:45 and knew we had missed the bus.
Sitting on some benches in the area was the Indian family…you know…with Mahatma Gandhi.
We strolled over to them and only the son spoke much English. We told him we all missed the bus. I had called the bus driver’s cell (he gave it out because there are always dumb people like us that miss the bus every day) and we found the bus was headed for another Smithsonian (Museum of American History) located on Constitution Avenue—about five long blocks away. We told the son it might be too long a walk for his elderly parents and they could catch a cab.
The Indian family went into a family conference and we waved a friendly good-bye and started walking.
One by one they started following us…Gandhi was bringing up the rear. They stayed about 10 feet back and walked directly behind us. Amy stopped and window shopped and they all stopped, turned and looked in the window.