Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Comments and Museums

I just now got a fast enough dial-up connection (26 kbps) to allow the comments section to load on my page. Sorry for not acknowledging your replies before this, but thanks! It's flattering to know someone, besides myself, is interested in my monologues and diatribes.

The Capitol was cool. We had a private tour arranged through our local representative. Well, actually our old rep from our past life in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywoood, but he's still my parents'. We traveled from his office, underground to the Capitol, and after an awe-inspiring look at the interior spaces, were treated to a ride back on the mini rail system used by the representatives.

Did you know every state is allowed two statues to represent itself in the Capitol's National Statuary Hall? Florida chose Edmund Kirby Smith, the last general of the Confederacy to surrender, (that choice speaks volumes, no?), and also Dr. John Gorrie, the man who invented airconditioning. I always hoped that if Y2K came to be, all those snowbirds would finally go back up north, unable to take the heat. Damn.

If you take a look at the Hall's link, be sure and check out the very different sculpture of Father Damien from Hawaii.

After that, S, G, and I went to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, while G kept L and took care of some banking and other payroll duties. We raced in, narrowly beating five or so busloads of obnoxious, disinterested middle schoolers. Four imposing statues, each marked with a quote, frame the two entrances of the archive building. I liked the line from The Tempest best:

All that is past is prologue.

We met back up with G and L, and had fun wandering around the sculpture garden and fountain of the the National Gallery of Art. With little time before closing, we still managed to see, inside the National Gallery, some very famous paintings by Copley, Stuart, Degas, Monet, Manet, Rembrandt, Cassat, Lautrec, and Renoir, as well as tons of magnificent statuary.

On the way back to the hotel, S chatted it up with the cabbie, as she has been doing with practically everybody she's come across since we began this trip, asking him where he was from. He promised us a free cab ride if she could guess. She couldn't figure it out by the accent so he began listing possibilities. South African? No way. Guatemalan? Noooo. Lebanese? Hmmmm... He finally told us that he was from Iran, and that he was always so happy to meet intelligent people -- people who ask questions -- he would give us a free ride anyway. Don't you know he got a big, fat tip.

G and I had a nice, grown-up dinner out in Georgetown. We talked, again, about living in Australia for the two years required to complete our citizenship there. You know though, those plans could change in the blink of an eye. If we do go however, I've decided that rather than live up in the rainforest for those two years, I'd like to try Sydney, or maybe Melbourne. Definitely somewhere where you could enjoy world class museums and a variety of great dining.

Sweet G learned a lesson about old hotels last night when the elevator, which has been barely functioning during our stay, delivered him to the wrong floor, nine instead of eight, and he used his key in someone else's door, and it opened. He walked in on a half-dressed couple, a police officer and his wife, preparing to go out for a memorial related affair. G was thankful he wasn't a big steroid cop and exited, mumbling some hasty sort of apology. Later, the elevator again stopped at nine when he pushed eight, and when the doors opened this time, he panicked and ran down the adjacent stairwell, lest he be suspected of being some prowling pervert. Always use your deadbolt AND slide chain when you're in your room.

Today we began our survey of the Smithsonian, first enjoying the bugs, mummies, dinosaurs, gems, minerals and mammal skeletons of the National Museum of Natural History, and then The First Ladies dress collection, dollhouse, Star Spangled Banner and Dorothy's Ruby Slippers at the National Museum of American History.

George left mid-day to fly back home and the girls and I continued on. Back to the National Gallery of Art to see their special exhibit, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya. We used to have a farm in Belize, 100 gorgeous, rainforested mountain acres, with Mayan burial mounds and a well on the property, so we have an affinity for Mayan artifacts.

After that, we poked around the modern art displays where we saw works by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Rothko, Pollack, and my personal favorite, Calder. Calder has a whole room housing paintings, drawings, wire sculpture, animal metal sculptures, and mobiles that were so perfectly lit the shadows cast became as much art as the wire and string. One of my favorite books is an edition of Aesop's fables, illustrated with wonderful wiry line drawings by Calder, that belonged to my grandparents.

Nana and Papa took S and G out to dinner tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe for a small dose of pop culture. Balance, perhaps.

No comments: