As we walked up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it was very obvious that gone are the days of White House tours (still offered during my last trip in 1996, although we didn’t take one) and people being able to protest just outside the gates. Instead, Pennsylvania Avenue was completely blockaded off, so the closest we could get was the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. This didn’t particularly bother me, since I just wanted a snap of us in front of the building, but James wasn’t so happy. Being a cheeky foreigner, he wanted to hurl a small, harmless object over the gates just to test whether the White House really did keep snipers on the roof. So, to rephrase my sentiments, I was extremely happy it was blocked off so my boyfriend didn’t get killed/banned from America permanently/thrown in jail indefinitely.
It was just our luck that the rain started easing off (although it was definitely still raining) as soon as we bought an umbrella, but that meant that we didn’t get quite as soaked and we were able to take pictures without worrying about damaging my camera (didn’t need that, since James had broken when he attempted to take a picture of the Capitol building. Shows what it thinks about American politics!)
The rain had all but completely dampened all of the protesters’ spirits by the time we made it to the Washington Monument; the few people still there were filing out. Fortunately, the clouds had receded slightly, so we were once again able to see the top of the Monument pretty clearly. This meant I was able to take a picture from right underneath to add to my collection of “pictures taken staring straight up at large, man made structures.” The Monument, like the Capitol, was not nearly as striking as on a nice day, so the picture was far from the best in that collection, but at least we could see the top!
We decided that of all days, today would possibly be the worst to ever bother paying admission, waiting in line (even if it was quite short), riding an elevator, and taking in the view, so for the second time, I missed that view (on my first trip to D.C., protesters surrounded the monument yelling something about Taiwan, so our teachers very quickly herded us away). As the afternoon only got colder as it wore on, and the rain was still steadily working the chill into our bones, we didn’t spend long looking at the Monument, instead leaving to work our way west along the Reflecting Pool to Abe.