Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Greatest Day in American History - Part 1

5:18 - We woke up, a bit later than we had hoped. Some friends were kind enough to take us in at their farm in Pennsylvania, and it was a bit closer to Washington than Richmond although it was still pretty far away. We left at 5:45 and listened to news reports as the sun rose. We heard news of parking lots filling up at Orange and Green Line stations and were worried that Shady Grove, the parking lot where we were headed, would fill up as well. Fortunately, there was no traffic on the way, although we had a bit of trouble finding the station.

7:15 - We arrived and paid for parking. The woman selling parking tickets was thrilled that we had a $5 bill; some people had tried to get change from $50 or $100 bills. Parking was still plentiful and we walked to the platform. A few representatives from liberty tax services were promoting their organization, dressed in Statue of Liberty garb. Others hawked Obama shirts and calendars, and copies of the Washington Post. Ticket lines were long but not unmanageable, fortunately we didn't have to wait in them at all and went straight to the platform. Security forces were ample, and Metro workers guided passengers onto train cars. We were instructed to board the front car which was less crowded. The train ride was relatively quick, despite reports of delays on the red line. A group of black women complained about how white people always told them they liiked like Tyra, Beyonce, or whichever black woman was most famous at that time. A man from Maine chatted with a local businessman, who was traveling in to work but relishing the opportunity to play the expert to a largely out-of-town crowd. We left the train at Farragut North; the station was crowded but people moved out quickly.

8:15 - The crowd was escorted toward the mall via a roundabout route due to parade closures. Streets were closed to regular cars, but police cars and ambulances periodically cut through the crowds. Vendors were everywhere, and lines for the bathroom were long. We made it to the mall, which was relatively empty west of the Washington Monument. As we crested the hill, we saw the crowds, which by then had filled the mall between there and the capitol.

1 comment:

  1. great part 1... can't wait for part 2.
    Maybe it's just me, but when I heard that traffic was moving smoothly I was a bit disappointed.
    But knowing the Mall was packed to near capacity made it all better. It's apparently a sign of mass-transit efficiency -in spite of the media's forecast of Inauguration Day chaos.