Tag Archives: travel

Our Nation’s Capital

Hey everybody! My name is Stephen and I fail miserably at keeping this blog going for long periods of time.

I took a trip this past weekend up to one of the COOLEST places that I have ever been, and that is Washington D.C. I’ve often wondered how this amazing place could not be in a state. It’s part of the United States of America, so shouldn’t belong somewhere in the states? No! Washington D.C. is it’s own little place where the federal government sits. I asked my mom when I was small what state Washington DC was in, and she told me simply, “It’s not in a state.” My perplexed little brain just couldn’t wrap around this fact so again I insisted, “Well, is it in Maryland?” To which she replied, “No, it’s just the District of Columbia.” Do what? What is that supposed to mean? Is it in Maryland or Virginia? I was so confused. I’m not as confused anymore because I’ve learned that it’s the seat of the federal government. It can’t be in a state or it would be required to abide by state laws, which it doesn’t. One thing I can ask is, why is there housing there? Where do they fall?

Anyway, none of that is what I actually wanted to talk about. I believe that EVERY American citizen should venture to our nation’s capital at some point in their lives. I was instilled with a sense of patriotism that I just don’t carry around on a daily basis. Between the memorials, monuments, and craptons of historical places, I was enthralled with our country. You actually get to see the history of the place we live and gain a respect for all the people who came together to make it what it is. The Vietnam Memorial wall was one of the most sobering sights that I have ever seen. There are SO many names of people lost during that war, and you just can’t understand it until you’ve seen it laid out like that. It really is unbelievable.

Seeing pictures of these places and watching videos will never do it the justice it deserves. I’ve seen Abraham Lincoln’s memorial I don’t know how many times, but it was ten times more amazing that I ever though it would be. This is a guy who pretty much held together our country when it was at it’s lowest point, and you feel that when you are in that memorial. It’s not something you walk up to and just nonchalantly look at and walk away form. I stood there and was completely amazed by what I was seeing. Whoever carved this thing was an amazing artist and took great pains to capture every detail. There are also a couple of Abe’s most famous speeches carved into the wall. It truly is an incredible site.

Everything in DC is so HUGE. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and everything else, but those pictures cannot capture the size. These buildings are massive, and it’s truly a sight to see. So, long story short, you should go visit as soon as you can. One thing I would advise is to stop OUTSIDE the city and ride the Metro in. That subway is the easiest thing to understand and I would take full advantage of it if you can. My feet are still killing me from walking for those 3 days, but it was worth every minute. Go see it!

Hangin’ In Nawlins – Part 3

So it’s been a couple weeks since we actually returned from Nawlins, but I wanted to at least post a little about our trip because we had so much fun! I had a blast down there and got to see so much cool stuff, and I definitely wasn’t ready to leave when we had to. I’ll summarize how some of our days were while we were down there.

The biggest, most awesome thing about being in Nawlins was that my parents and sister came to see us! I haven’t seen them since May and I was so happy when they decided they would make it to Nawlins to visit with Steph and I and kind of have a little mini vacation. They were set to get to the hotel a few hours after Steph and I would, so we decided to go wander around the town for a minute and see what was out there. We didn’t do much but go down canal street and both of us were absolutely amazed at all the lights, music, and everything else about the place. We ducked down a street for a minute so I could look at a sign for a “Hat Store” and see if it was a hat store for baseball caps, or an actual hat store for fedoras, cowboy hats, and the like. It was totally a fedora store! I put that on my list of things to see while there. More on that later.

We got back to the hotel and met up with my parents who I was ecstatic to see! It had been way too long and I was so excited they got to come over. We helped them get settled in their hotel room, and then took off for some food.  We decided on Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, because we all love shrimp and I LOVE Forrest Gump with every fiber of my being. It was a good miles or so away so we just walked to it and got to see a lot of the city because of that. Wandering through the French Quarter for the first time was really cool, but it was a tad unnerving walking through there at night. Especially when we didn’t yet know what streets were safe. After we got back from this vacation I learned that Nawlins has the highest amount of pickpockets per capita in the US. I really wish I had known that before.

Anyway, I’m not going to detail my entire dinner at Bubba Gump, but I will tell you that I won us a free dessert. They offered a challenge, of which I had to take part, where they ask three Forrest Gump related questions. I was all like, “Lets do this!” I have seen Forrest Gump a ton of times, and I hold that movie very close to my heart simply because I think it’s amazing and quite possibly the best movie ever made, in my humble opinion. I totally nailed all three questions without so much as a hesitation and won us a free Mud Pie. I absolutely loved that Mud Pie, which was big enough for 4 people, but I think I enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing those answers even more.

We went home after that, sufficiently stuffed, and got a bit of sleep. We were going to have another big day the next day and felt like it was probably a good idea just to get some rest.

And that’ s another story for another night. I swear I’ll finish this whole saga in a couple more posts so hang in there, readers! It’s just finding the time to tell it now 🙂

Hangin’ in Nawlins Part 2

Here I am to continue my story from yesterday. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to the part where we hang out in Nawlins and I tell you what we did, but for now we’ll just finish up the trip on the airplane.

One of the good parts about missing our first flight, which we were not seated together on, was that we were able to sit next to each other and enjoy the trip a little better. I guess our enjoyment was limited to just sitting together because both of us had a really tough time. It was impossible to get comfortable, and neither of us had slept more than 2 hours the night before. Our plan was to catch up on sleep while on the plane and feel a little more energized once we got to Nawlins. That did NOT happen at all.That was the toughest flight I’ve ever been on. It was the longest 3 hours ever. Continental Airlines has seats that are made out of cardboard and foam, or at least that’s what it felt like. I can be thankful however that we made it to Houston without any issues on a relatively smooth airplane.

We landed in Houston, TX around 9:50. That was about 20 minutes earlier than we were supposed to land but we weren’t going to complain. We wandered down to the gate to Nawlins that we were on standby for only to find that the original connecting flight we were supposed to be on was boarding! We could have totally made the flight. So we ran up to the gate and asked the lady, who spoke very poor english, if we could still get on or if our seats had been given away. She looked really confused and politely told us that we were still on standby for the next flight leaving at 11:45. We understood, and decided that we might as well go get a bite to eat and come back around 11 to sit down and wait to find out if we had seats or not.

We ate at Bubba’s Bayou Grill and had a delicious hamburger. I’m kind of glad we got to chill for a little bit and didn’t have to get directly on another plane. We were totally beat and needed some time to deflate. We went back to the gate and sat for a bit where I learned that Houston’s airport does NOT have free wifi. How do you do that?! What kind of sick airport makes you pay 10 bucks for internet access? George Bush International, that’s who!

I sat and talked to Steph and tried to figure out how much a rental car would be if we had to drive it. Turns out it’s not that expensive. Good news was that we didn’t have to drive! We ended up getting on the plane just fine. A group of 9 people coming from Philaelphia, PA had a delayed flight that was going to prevent them from making the connecting flight to Nawlins. So the 9 of us on standby got on the plan perfectly. Then it was off to Nawlins on a 1 hour flight instead of a 6 hour drive. I don’t think we’ve ever been so excited. We had to sit apart, but we made it just fine.

We landed in Nawlins, got our baggage (which arrived just fine), got in a cab and made our way to the hotel for a nice long well deserved nap. Then the fun started….and that’s a post for another day.

Hangin’ in Nawlins

Steph and I have officially made it to New Orleans, Louisiana! We never thought we would get here with all the issues we had yesterday trying to hop from plane to plane, but here we are in a sweet hotel room with a beautiful view and one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in.

We started out at 3am on Friday getting ready to leave, and we thought we would have plenty of time to get to the airport and be well on our way to Houston (our first hop). Unfortunately, we didn’t really get on the road until about 3:40, still thinking we would definitely make it. Well, our hopes were crushed as soon as we walked in the doors the airport. Security was backed up to the door and it looked like the wait time would be 25 minutes at the least. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 6am and it was 5:20. We ran up the stairs to try to check our bags and got in line. It took us a couple more minutes to get up to the kiosk, now 5:26, and then we had problems getting it to find our reservation. After we got it settled, thanks to the already stressed staff, we tried to check our bags: FAIL! The bags had to be checked at least 35 minutes before take off. It was now 5:28. The staff was able to check our bags and told us to go, but we probably weren’t going to make it.

We went all the way back downstairs to get in the line for security, only to hear the security guard tell everybody they were opening up the alternative security gate BACK UPSTAIRS! So we wandered back upstairs with the mob of all the other late people, when we could have just stayed upstairs and been at the front of the line. It figures it would happen that way. We managed to get through security without a problem, 5:50, and ran to the trains to head to the concourses. We jumped on those and rode it to the concourse we were supposed to be in, headed up the escalator, and started speed-walking to our gate. It was now 5:59. We arrived at the gate to see the jetway pulled back. Disaster!

We walked up to the gate and talked to a guy named Ed from Continental. Nicest guy I’ve ever dealt with at an aiport. He hooked us up with a flight to Houston at 8am, a mere 2 hours after our original flight was to leave. Not too shabby. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a single flight to New Orleans that wasn’t full. He didn’t think we would make the connecting flight we should be on, and we didn’t either, so he dropped us on standby for the next flight out. That one was scheduled to leave at 11:45. We can deal with that, just a slight setback. The only thing about being on standby is that you have no idea if you have tickets or not until you get there. So we went to grab a bite to eat and boarded our flight to Houston at 7:45. Things were starting to look up, and we figured if we could just get to Houston we could drive if we couldnt’ get on a plane.

More on this later. Gotta go meet my parents for breakfast. TO BE CONTINUED!