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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

That wonderful weekend in DC!

My friends and I had been planning to visit DC from the year we came to the US. That was in 2008. And each time, something or the other spoiled the party. So, I didn't want to believe we were going to DC, until we really were, and even this time, after booking a rental car and two hotel rooms, my fears were justified. On June 11th, an hour before we were planning to leave, an Enterprise agent called us telling that no seven-seaters were available. Why couldn't the agent have called us after we left to pick up the car? We desperately asked the agent if she could help us with looking for a car in any of the Enterprise branches nearby. I mean, she works there, it should be a cinch for her to help us, right? Wrong! Sad to say that the agent was horribly rude and insisted that she didn't have to worry about getting us a car at all! Uh? We asked for help, we didn't order you! I'm wondering if this agent was just an exception. I sure hope so! We made tons of calls during the next hour and finally got one in the Salem-Roanoke area. Great! We hurried there, got into the car and were well on our way to Fairfax, where we would be staying!

That's coffee I'm drinking, from that big bowl! When I got my order, I thought I mistakenly ordered soup.

The next day, we left early at 7 am, to catch the metro in Fairfax. Almost an hour later, we reached Capitol, desperately hungry. Although the Capitol was only a few steps away, for some reason, none of us saw it. We went in a totally opposite direction, trusting the iPhone maps application, which took us in circles. Finally, we ended up going all around the Capitol, realizing this only much later. So much for an early arrival. After having breakfast, we went in for our tour.

Capitol Hill

Standing in the Rotunda and staring at the Apotheosis was a great experience! It was quite fascinating to hear about some of the history behind each statue. And have you seen the Library of Congress? Oh my! That was a feast to my bookish eyes! That huge library room, where cams weren't allowed and silence was to be maintained, was simply .. amazing! I wish I could have walked into the library and just looked around.

 The Apotheosis of George Washington in the Capitol Rotunda

After the Capitol tour, we decided to walk all the way towards the museums. The sun was very unforgiving, and it was quite a sore to walk in the heat. We were so glad to reach the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, where we had a quick snack and then spent the next two hours checking out the exhibits. I've always loved museums, and it was even more exciting to check out the WW1 and WW2 exhibits. We then headed to the Natural History museum, which was one of the best we have ever seen. The HOPE diamond had a huge crowd around it, and the live Butterfly experience was amazing.

Washington monument: First picture is from the Lincoln memorial. The second picture was taken right from the base - yeah, those are rain clouds. It rained a minute after this photo was taken, and I wish I had a picture to show you of how we all huddled under it to stay away from the rains.

We then walked towards the Washington monument. As many would agree, it is quite a majestic experience to stand beside this monument. One huge tower that looked so simple, but wasn't. I was sad that we couldn't get tickets to go inside. That was what I really wanted to do the most. Oh well, a reason to come back another time! We then walked down to the Lincoln memorial, which also had the WW2 and the Korean memorials in the vicinity. I wanted to see the Washington monument at night, but we were all too tired and hungry. We had been walking all day and our legs were all sore. After a delightful North Indian lunch, we went home and passed out, intending to leave by 10 the next day.

White House: I definitely took this with my cam, and not pasted from the internet.

Yeah, we ended up sleeping past 10. We went straight for lunch at a South Indian restaurant this time, and then to see the White House. I was quite amazed to see kids playing ball in front of the White House. I imagined more security. I didn't really feel that I was standing in front of the power center, but the area around it was quite serene. We then walked to the Washington monument, hoping for a ticket, but no luck. After resting a while, we left DC for Fairfax (unexpectedly passing by the Pentagon), to be at the A.R. Rahman (Jai ho! fame) concert, which we enjoyed tremendously.

We returned back the same night, but we were really sad to. It was one of the best weekends we had, and the prospect of returning back to graduate work is never pleasing. There are still so many places in DC I want to go to - The Folger Shakespeare library, the National Archives, more museums, top of the Washington monument. I doubt a few days is really enough to see the whole city.


Anonymous said…
Great pictures! It sounds like you had an awesome time :) I'm jealous--my parents have been talking about a weekend trip to D.C. for a few years, but we've never made definite plans. I went on a school trip in 6th grade, but that was 9 years ago!
bermudaonion said…
It looks like you had a fantastic time! There is so much to do in DC - you could spend weeks up there and not do it all.
Venus said…
Oh, looks lovely... :)
Tales of Whimsy said…
Oh DC. I love it there. We had so much fun. It's the kind of city you can visit a zillion times and never see everything. Thank you for sharing such cool pics :)
Aw, that sounds like such a good time! Glad you had fun. I'd love to visit DC.
Marce said…
That coffee is ridiculous, lol, thanks for sharing your pictures.
Unknown said…
I went to DC for the first time a few years ago and absolutely loved it. What an amazing place. Everyone should go there at least once. And you're right, a few days there is not enough.

Soooo glad you got to finally go, Aths!
Ash said…
I still have never been to DC but would love to go someday. I loved that you thought you accidentally ordered soup, sounds like something I would come up with! Glad you had a good time!
Michelle said…
DC is one of my favorite vacation spots, but I agree that you need several days to properly see it all. It looks like you hit the main spots though and can look forward to the lesser-known museums the next time you visit. Great pictures!
Piyush Garyali said…
I did not realize that you have removed your cartoon self. Nice profile picture. My compliments to the photographer (ahem ahem)'

Glad you had fun. I missed you :(
I love DC as well. We were there last summer and did a White House tour as well as visiting the Library of Congress (SO beautiful). I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself after the nightmare of the rental car.
J.G. said…
So glad you had a good time and saw some real highlights. I loved the Library of Congress, too. (Not to mention setting a personal walking record in just a couple of days.)
Athira said…
Jess, you SHOULD go! DC was so much more than I expected. I knew I would enjoy, but I didn't expect to fall in love!

Kathy, ditto that! Almost every hour, I came up with more places I wanted to see.

Nithin, when you come to the US, you should visit DC! :)

Juju, it is one place you can never see everything of, no matter how many times you visit.

Emidy, I sure hope you do visit DC! That place is worth it!

Marce, that coffee was ridiculous, lol! I felt stupid drinking out of it, with all my friends laughing their butts off!

Lynne, I'm so glad I finally managed to go to DC! You are right, everyone should go there at least once.

Ash, I sure hope you get to go to DC. That coffee definitely had me laughing!

Piyush, I wish you could have come too! In the end, you fixed the research issue too!

Helen, I want to do a White House tour! That's one more thing I missed out on.

J.G., the personal walking record is right! I was scared to rest for even a minute, just in case, I don't get up again. :shudder:
It looks like you had a great time! I really want to get up there to see the WWII memorial--it hadn't been built the last time I was there. Actually, I want to see most of what you wrote about! I've been there twice, but there really is a lot to see! We've mostly hung out at the museums.
Athira said…
Jen, everytime I read about someone's visit to DC, I feel like I want to see that too. There's so much to see. The WW2 memorial is really good. I loved how they did it. But I have to look it up because I do have some doubts too.
Valerie said…
Seems like you had a great experience, including having to drink coffee from a soup bowl :-). I'd love to visit DC someday!
Lisa said…
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip--after you got a vehicle, that is! There are some mornings I could definitely use a coffee that big!