Where better to spend Independence day than in our nation’s capitol! I was ridiculously excited when planning the trip that we would be in D.C. on the fourth of July. It is definitely an unforgettable experience, one I am glad I had, but one that I do not necessarily care to repeat. It turns out that around the Fourth, D.C. gets flooded with people…tourists from absolutely everywhere. As someone who had been overwhelmed by the big city the Fourth of July was a bit weighty. I spent it with my newfound friend, Rainey, from the hostel and Meleah. We explored and wondered. Certain museums were packed while others seemed unaffected by the masses of people moving along the streets. A line had formed at the space and science museum, winding down the wall of the building. People stood in the heat…waiting. Still, I definitely found certain things exciting. The streets were alive with the parade—a mass of decorated people and glinting metal—lying in a great mass upon the streets waiting to be woken. Groups of all nationalities dressed in garbs, that I assume are derived of wherever they or their ancestors originated from. Colorful decorous floats could be seen waiting further down the street. Bands practiced, dancers stretched. Painted faces, giant feathers, flags! And the sidewalks filled with strangers to a foreign city; walking, staring, and jostling in an inadvertent parade of their own.
The fireworks were beautifully picturesque. It was about 14 minutes of what seemed to belong on a magazine or a postcard. The lawn in front of the Washington was one great swath of sitting people. It was kind of magical that we actually found a spot. One should never watch the Fourth of July fireworks in this popular area in D.C. (if they plan to ride the metro) if they are either claustrophobic or have any degree of mysophobia. When the fireworks ended, people headed straight for the metro. The line for the metro was not a line; it was a giant crowd that sort of acted like a line. We were herded slowly to the metro entrance like so many unruly, bawling cattle. Meleah, Rainey and I stood in the very middle. Body heat from the surrounding crowd coupled with hot July air created a sweat soaked oven. One gets really up close and personal with those around him or her. I was touched by an untold number of people. A curious Asian baby tried to steal the trash I held in my hand. I’m pretty sure I stepped on someone’s foot and I almost got kicked in the face by a kid whose parent had decided to place it on their shoulders. It was a slow horrendous shuffle toward those blessed steps. Leaving the crowd felt like freedom. Wooo Independence Day!