Sunday, May 27, 2012

A day at George and Martha's

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. It was one of my favorite places to visit so far. So much of it is original to the time period after General Washington returned from the presidency. Seeing the house and grounds where they lived and worked is very cool we even got to meet Martha Washington, visiting the tomb is very solemn and spiritual, and the museum and learning center help you to learn about their lives. We even got to see the famous wooden dentures (but you are not allowed to take pictures). I went with my good friends Ben and Jeff, and Jeff's friends Margarita and AJ, so it was all a really good time.
Unfortunately my camera didn't end up taking any of the group photos and much what you see you can't photograph but here are a few I did get.
Me and the Washingtons

View of the Potomac from Mount Vernon's back porch

The Washingtons' tomb

Memorial to the slaves at the slave burial plot

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Back to Pennsylvania

This Saturday I returned to Pennsylvania for the first time since leaving my mission. As a class all of us BYU students went up to Gettysburg, which was one of my favorite places to visit on my mission. In preparation for the trip I had been reading Killer Angels which tells the story of the battle in detail. Loaded up on the bus at 8 o'clock in the morning, we thought we might run into delays because of security checks they were doing around camp david, but we never got stopped. When we got to Gettysburg we first went the cyclorama and museum and the visitor center, and then we went to General Pickett's buffet for lunch. After lunch we picked up out guide, Bob, and he got on the bus's microphone and told us all about Gettysburg as we drove around, we were able to get out and walk around in several places. It is one of those places where I think you can feel that the hand of God has been there. Horrible things took place there and its not necessarily a fun place, but it is a spiritual one if you choose to view the events of history as being orchestrated by a divine creator.
Here are some pictures:

A couple other things of note happened this weekend. On Friday we had no class because of the trip, so in the morning I ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and read the Gettysburg Address because we were suppose to before the trip, and I went through the small museum in the basement. After that I went with Stephen, Nate, and Michael-Sean to Arlington, where we watched the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. We then met up with Peter and Preston and looked around the cemetery some more. When we were done we headed out to Old Town Alexandria to see the water front on the Potomac, that was fun. We also saw the house where Lee grew up, and church that George Washington went to. Here are the pics from that:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Around the world in 6 hours

May 5th was the embassy tour in DC for the non-European embassies, and yesterday was the tours of the EU embassies. I went to several embassies both days (there was no way to go to all of them) and it was a lot of fun. The embassies give out information, food, and promotional items from their country; they display artwork, music, dance, and traditional dress. It was a really great and unique opportunity to see quick snippets of other people and cultures. Here are some pictures, unfortunately there are some I don't have because they are on other people's cameras (like me and Michael-Sean holding a giant Australian snake).
Dijjery Do from Australia 

Blue Tongued Skank Australia

Bearded dragons Australia

Some other lizard from Australia

Art from Kazakhstan 

Kazakhstan's independence statue 

Peruvian playing panpipes 

Playing steel drums at Trinidad and Tabago 

Japanese Boken

Me with the Japanese ambassador

Me an the Samurai 

Traditional dancing at Bolivia 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You leave the Pennsylvania station...

The Pennsylvania Station

For those of you who are familiar with the song Chattanooga Choo-Choo you will know that the next line says "you're in Baltimore" which just happens to be where I ended up this Thursday. I headed down to the old city on an Amtrak commuter line Thursday morning, which I almost missed, luckily I had a good taxi driver. Turns out there are several Pennsylvania stations on the east coast and one of them is in Baltimore, although it is commonly referred to as Penn station. I had to go pick up some document for the law firm I am working with and that is why I ended up here. It is a much less busy city than Washington and was interesting to see. Here are some pictures, I also saw the statue of Edgar Alan Poe, but I have no picture because a bunch of University of Baltimore students were sitting on him. Sorry for the the low quality, I didn't have my camera with me and had to use my iPod.
Just for the record this is a Baltimore pay phone

Apparently Baltimore likes works of art in there subway stations.

...and out side their symphonic halls

This may explain it, it is the Mount Royal Art Institute.

A military memorial from the revolution

A Provo bilboard in Baltimore, it says: Smyth's, where Baltimore gets engaged