Twenty Years Since 9/11, Revisiting Washington, DC, Part Two

We crossed over the Memorial Bridge into the Commonwealth of Virginia, and picked up the Metro to head to Alexandria and meet up with an old professor friend of mine. The Metro used to be the pride and joy of Washington, DC, but I was shocked at how far it had fallen. While it had once been spotless, civil and efficient, I found it dirty, lawless, anarchic and insufferably slow. I must have spent a total of two cumulative hours sitting around waiting around for trains that came late. We were relieved when we finally reached Alexandria, which is a gem of a preserved port city south of Washington. We even spotted several half flounders which are not unique to St. Louis.

After meeting up with my friend for lunch and enjoying the waterfront in Alexandria, we walked back up towards the Metro and discovered the original church where George Washington worshipped.

It’s still an active congregation, and in great shape. I was intrigued by the candlesticks that look like menorahs.

Unlike St. Louis, which ordered its cemeteries out to the countryside, there are still graveyards around historic churches in Alexandria.

We then swung by Chinatown! This says Anne Taylor Loft–no really. Remember, as Chinatown was gentrified, a law was passed that required that all signs had to be translated into Mandarin. I imagine a day where there are no longer any actual Chinese-owned businesses in Chinatown at the rate it’s going.

We stopped by the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, which was closed most of the time I lived in DC, but weirdly had not rotated much of their art on display in the last nine years since I had visited. That’s the Smithsonian for you–they count on you being a tourist from out of town and only coming to DC once so you won’t notice that they haven’t moved anything in twenty or more years. Look at this happy couple below!

Like an allegory for the federal government, the fluting on these Doric columns was never carved once the blocks of limestone were hauled into place around two hundred years ago. We got to see former President Donald Trump’s official portrait, which was being watched by three guards. I’ll have to admit, a lot of the museums were not as exciting as I remember them. They hadn’t changed in twenty years, in a bad way.

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