Monday, April 6, 2009

Cherry Blossom Crowds Over the Top

If its possible to feel claustrophobia in a wide open space, I had it last weekend. Just looking at the gridlocked car (and baby stroller) traffic around me was enough to cause anxiety. Sidewalks were jammed. We moved at more of a shuffle than a walk. And there was no way out. Once you decided to go with the flow, well, you were there for the long run. All par for the course for a beautiful Saturday at the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The crowds downtown were amazingly dense and somewhat daunting. Being around so many people reminded me of the inauguration in a way. But less organized. Seeing the cherry blossoms wasn't even the ultimate objective. I wanted to use the Festival as an excuse to venture onto the National Mall and get back in touch with those parts of DC which I really appreciate, but rarely see. It's nice to be reminded that we ARE the nation's capital. And we are occasionally treated as such by the millions of visitors who make the trek here yearly. It's exciting to be around that. And I enjoy seeing everyone else get excited about being in DC, many for the first time.

After checking out the post-parade street festival on Penn Avenue, I barely made it down to the Tidal Basin. And no where close to the Jefferson Memorial, or any other memorial. I gave up after a couple of hours and lots of walking; very slow, walking. Maybe reconnecting with the National Mall and Federal DC can wait for a less popular holiday.