We had to get up early morning to begin our USA East Coast tour (with Chinese tour operators, which in itself is an experience). We left at 7: 10am I still remember seeing the morning sun rising from the bus window, chilly weather but with promise of warmth. We headed off from New Jersey to Philadelphia; we reached in time for breakfast. We got an hour to see the Independence Square, visit the surrounding gardens and halls.
With the little time we had, I managed to gather about the freedom struggle American people had to go through for their independence. One story that I particularly remember was seeing a video where a black woman spoke of her life. It goes something like this - when she was 20 something and she was being gifted by Mrs. Washington to her daughter as though she were a solid furniture or chair which can be used in household. That was the kind of slavery Black American were going through. It was in 17th Century that white Americans got freedom from British & Spanish rule but not until 18th Century that Black Americans got their due as citizens.
Moving on, fruits, coffee & cake was a good breakfast we managed to get at a shopping mall food court of Philly and we were on our way to the capital of US. We reached our next stop by around 11 AM at Washington DC - we first went to Smithsonian Institute – Air & Space Museum. I enjoyed the visit, which was about earth & space exploration about Aircrafts, space exploration, Apollo landing on moon. The highlight I think was the moon rock – you could see & touch a Rock from the Moon. (Interesting han.. u wish it had some magical powers but it felt like any other rock on earth!)
Lunch was at McDonalds (US McD does not have veg burger options so some French fries and pizza came as rescue which was good). Smithsonian has more museums and if we had time I would like to visit more of them. But we were with a group tour and had to follow a plan. The next stop was US Capitol Hill (just a picture stop from a distance) Anyways it was huge and beautiful. There was a large water body where I found a lot people just sitting a relaxing and tourist taking pictures.
But I was more keen of the view on the opposite side, where one could see the Obelisk (the guide explained that it was inspired from Egyptian architecture and it is around 555 feet long built with white marble). Interestingly the structure was built and then left half done only later it was commissioned again for completion and so you can clearly see the two different sets of white marble on the pillar. Next we went to see the famous White House. Due to security reasons, the tourists are allowed only to visit the rear side of the White house overlooking beautiful lawns.
Next stop was DC Cruise ride. It was pleasant & relaxing cruise ride with good weather and simple views of the city. After which we saw Jefferson memorial from a distance.
Then we made a stop at famous Lincoln memorial. First impression is – ‘it’s a huge temple’. It has a imposing figure of Abraham Lincoln sitting on huge chair and looking at you, almost imposing something down to you. The temple is huge structure with high elevations and high pillars. On the inside walls are the scriptures mentioning the human rights and equality of all men. On the stairs are inscriptions of the words of Martin Luther King. It is interesting to see recent Hero’s being immortalized like the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The temple is facing the Obelisk with a large water body in between. The whole view is very serene and it was bright beautiful evening with chilly winds.