Day 9: Rest Day in Washington DC

Yesterday, after checking out the Smithsonian website, I learned that I had to reserve a ticket for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which I did for a 1 PM entrance. I couldn’t reserve a ticket for the special Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum since that had to be reserved a day in advance. Around 9:30, I headed out of Nick’s apartment and got on the metro into DC.

After I arrived at the mall, I went to the Hirshhorn first. I asked the museum attendant if I can see the Kusama exhibit. She actually allowed me to go inside the exhibit without reservation. The power of asking!

I went into the Kusama special exhibit and saw the pumpkin sculpture and her two mirror rooms. I realized that I’ve been to one of her mirror rooms before back in 2003, when I was touring the country on Greyhound buses. I was at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis when I walked into her mirror room.

Kusama's pumpkin

Infinite Mirror Room

I also went upstairs in the museum to see some contemporary Chinese photography. If I had stayed in China I would probably be among those photographers. In total, I spent about two hours inside the Hirshhorn.

Photograph from China

I had about 30 minutes to eat lunch before getting to the African American museum. Luckily, I made it in time after grabbing a quick bibimbap at the Rice Bar.

The African American museum has a total of seven floors. The bottom three are dedicated to African American history. I spent about two hours there. The entire experience made me appreciate more of my current upbringing. From what I know, I didn’t get to choose my race, the time period, the place of my birth, nor my parents when I was born. It’s imperative to learn from history and see from other’s perspectives.

I ended up visiting the top three floors of the museum in less than an hour since they are smaller exhibits. I especially liked the exhibit about African American music since I love music.

Inside the African American History Museum

I love this quote!

National Museum of African American History and Culture

After seeing the museum around 4 PM I was tired. I was trying to find a coffee shop to get something to drink and wait for Nick's arrival, but most of them close at 5 PM. I ended up at a McDonald's and had a McDouble and a mocha frappe.

To pass away some time, I partially wrote this blog post there. Nick arrived around 5:30 at the Farragut West station. I met him there and we went to the Western Market food hall for dinner. We ate arepas. They were kind of messy to eat.

We wanted to see the sunset over Lincoln Memorial around 7:30 PM and see the cherry blossoms at Tidal Basin before that, so we walked all the way to those places. There were so many people taking photographs of the cherry blossoms on the banks of the Tidal Basin. Right now, it's the peak season to see cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms

On the way to the Lincoln Memorial, I saw the Martin Luther King, Jr sculpture for the first time. It's so big that I wondered how they get it here? We finished our walking tour at the Lincoln Memorial. I went up the stairs to see the Lincoln sculpture and again I wondered how they got the sculpture up the stairs. Unfortunately, the reflection pond was drained so the opportunity for good photographs was limited.

Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Nick and I then walked back up to Western Market so he can get an ice cream sandwich. He told me it's subpar. I had a can of Coke since I was thirsty.

After this break, it was dark outside already, so we took the subway back home to Pentagon City. I did some research about my eyes being fatigued when I was riding my bicycle. As it turned out, it's due to low blood pressure. I need to eat a full breakfast before I start biking in the morning.

For the next two nights, I'll be camping. Tonight, I will camp at Prince William Forest Park, then the day after I will most likely stealth camp in Fredericksburg. After that, in Doswell, I will stay with my Warmshowers hosts Kathleen and Dave from 2018 when I was there last time. 

I slept from 10 PM to 6:30 AM last night. I feel good right now. I just need to eat a good breakfast before I start my ride.