Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category

DC Fourth of July Travel Advisory

July 3, 2010

DC Fourth of July Travel Advisory

The Fourth of July will be celebrated in the District of Columbia with the traditional street closings and detours. Travel into and around Washington DC will be slow tomorrow as tourists jam the District to watch fireworks on the National Mall. Be careful who you cut off on the Wilson and Memorial bridges on your way in, though, because no one likes pyrotechnics more than the pistol-packing patrons of Champps sports bars in Northern Virginia.

Virginia’s new law permitting concealed weapons in saloons went into effect Thursday, and patrons of Champps celebrated with Glocks and iced tea. There are good reasons to pack heat in Virginia’s sports bars. You certainly need a semiautomatic firearm at Champps to defend your family against those dangerous Loaded Chips appetizers (cheddar, pepperjack, mozzarella, Asiago cream sauce, bacon, green onions, sour cream).

Have a safe and sane Independence Day.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Just Another DC Weekend

April 10, 2010

 

Just Another DC Weekend

It’s just another DC Weekend. Security forces are locking down the town and disrupting transit and traffic in advance of next week’s Nuclear Security Summit.

Expect dozens of weekend motorcades, a parade with huge balloons and marching bands, the Blessing of the Fleets Ceremony, a Japanese Street Festival, one White House demonstration in support of Togo’s president, another against the leader of Vietnam, and an event against anti-Semitism on the National Mall.

There are performances, fun runs, river clean-ups, blossom-peeping tourists, weekend subway repairs, high school bus tours, and marches of Mothers Against Bad Stuff.

Expect delays.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Just Another DC Weekend

March 21, 2010

Just Another DC Weekend

This was the first weekend of spring in the Nation’s Capital, and natives spotted the usual signs of seasonal change. Streets were blockaded for:  a marathon, a Tea Party (with clever conversation), rallies for health care legislation, a march and demonstration for immigration reform, a symbolic protest against the Iraq war and an anti-war march. There was an Environmental Film Festival, a Senior Expo in Chevy Chase (and a Bach Marathon just across the Maryland line), several block parties and the rolling roadblocks that accompany motorcades.

Each weekend, groups come to Washington, DC  in the mystical belief that gathering crowds near monuments and marble buildings will somehow alter the cosmos or change the votes of their duly elected weasels. These political pilgrims invariably leave DC disappointed, only to be replaced by next weekend’s hopeful hordes.

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Early Cherry Blossom Season

March 16, 2010

Early Cherry Blossom Season

Washington’s National Cherry Blossom Festival® begins next weekend, but this Friday is the start of “The Pinkest Party on Earth,” the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia. Unlike the crass commercialism of DC’s event (“Brought to You by Target“), the spring observance in Macon preserves the serene, graceful, and contemplative customs of traditional Japanese hanami (花見 lit. “flower viewing”):  the Bed Race, the Sea Lion SplashPink Pancake Breakfast, Lawnmower Races, Pink Tutu Ballet, Amazing Animal Athletes, and that ancient Asian delicacy, pink grits.

Macon also has poodles. Pink poodles

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Rust Belt Recovery Plan?

August 4, 2009

Rust Belt Recovery Plan?

In times of economic hardship, it looks bad to hold a government convention in Las Vegas, Orlando, or Reno. Government meeting coordinators got the word to pass up resort destinations for less luxurious, low-cost travel travel hubs like Chicago, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, Washington DC, Milwaukee, or Phoenix.

Attention Rust Belt cities. Got big, empty factories, folding chairs, an airport, and no beaches or golf to speak of? Get your Convention and Visitors Bureau on the phone to the Feds now!

 

 Hat tip: OhMyGov!

 Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Festival Time Again. And Again and Again and Again ….

June 30, 2009

Festival Time again. And Again and Again and Again and .... 

Summertime is festival time. If you missed the ones last weekend, don’t fret. There are plenty more next weekend — and for weekends to come — and they’re all the same.

The plain truth: these so-called “Special Events” are no longer very special. There are just too many of them (one promoter calls it “festival saturation“), tens of thousands in the USA alone, and festivals are much too similar.  

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New Manga Museum … Maybe

June 14, 2009

New Manga Museum ... Maybe

The government of Japan is on the verge of establishing a national “Manga Museum” celebrating manga (comicbooks or “graphic novels”), anime (animated films and videos), video games and technology art. The proposed new National Center for Media Arts would be built in Tokyo by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁, bunkachō).

There are indications that Tokyo’s prestigious Meiji University plans to open an amine/manga museum, but it is unclear whether the new government effort is in aid of the Meiji U project or would supplant or compete with it.

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Capitol Visitor Center Floods

June 5, 2009

Capitol Visitor Center Floods

Above: Flooded dance floor, Al Gore Ballroom, U.S. Capital Visitors Center

The brand-new United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), 50 feet underneath the plaza and East Front of the Capitol building, flooded yesterday. As blogger FamousDC observes, “bailout actually needed this time.”  The carpeting of the Tom DeLay Pitch n’ Putt Golf Course is thought to be badly mildewed, though the Larry Craig Public Baths fared better.

The 580,000 square foot underground CVC, which includes the Sonny Bono Memorial Dinner Theatre, Wilbur Mills Exotic Dance Academy, and Interns Gone Wild Lounge, also has some provisions for tourists.

Congressmen were scandalized by the $621 million cost of the facility, $300 million over budget, and may hold hearings on the matter as soon as the CVC’s duplex Sauna and Hearing Room is back in operation.

 

Tourists interested in the full CVC Simulated Capitol Theme Park Xtreme Experience should consult this website; for plain visitor information, look here. 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Rolling Thunder 2009

May 23, 2009

Rolling Thunder 2009

Rolling Thunder is back. The annual motorcycle event, originally conceived to draw attention to the plight of Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs (“Operation Rolling Thunder” was the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam) but it has grown into a roaring tribute to all of America’s military veterans.

Contingents of cyclists come from across the country, and salutes roar past armed service monuments. The largest tribute starts at Noon Sunday at Arlington Cemetery, crosses the Potomac over the beautiful Memorial Bridge, circles the National Mall, and stops near the Vietnam Memorial, where many riders will dismount, then quietly look for the names of fallen comrades and loved ones on The Wall. Music and oratory will complete the afternoon.

Many Washingtonians bring cameras to the DC end of Memorial Bridge to shoot “The Ride for Freedom,” but many hesitate to photograph dismounted riders at the Vietnam Memorial — it feels emotionally wrong, an invasion of privacy. But do go to The Wall. Unlike the triumphal military monuments spread across the Capital City, it does not glorify war, but memorializes sacrifice in a profoundly human way.

 

For more on the meaning of the National Vietnam Memorial, read The Last Firebase, by Lydia Fish.

Image by Mike Licht.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

¡Salud!

May 5, 2009

¡Salud!

Today commemorates the invention of the margarita cocktail the defeat of French expeditionary forces led by Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Comte de Lorencez, by outnumbered Mexican forces under Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico owed Napoleon III money, so the French invaded Vera Cruz and unsuccessfully tried to foreclose on the city of La Puebla de Los Ángeles.

May 5th is not an official holiday in Mexico because people there know that the French went on to capture Mexico City, install Austrian Archduke Maximilian as Emperor, and inflict the polka on their helpless conquered nation.  Many U.S. citizens celebrate Cinco de Mayo, though, perhaps because General Zaragoza was born in Texas.

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