The drive from Jersey City to the Washington D.C. area was not nearly as chaotic. As soon as I hit that Maryland border I noticed that "objects" kept falling to the ground. My immediate thought was that all of the surrounding trees were dropping leaves onto the highway. I came to the realization that, no, it is not fall, and leaves are not falling to the ground. Instead, what I was seeing (by the hundreds, if not thousands) were cicadas that were awkwardly flying/floating around.
I had heard of cicadas from TikTok and a family that I met in Cleveland. From my limited knowledge of cicadas, I was under the impression that they were mostly in the South. This year, cicadas are MOSTLY in Maryland. From my own experience I can honestly say that they are not harmful, but they're still creepy due to their large size. Cicadas don't follow humans around like bees or flies, but because they are awkward, they bump into you while they fly around. Additionally, cicadas are really loud. They are the only thing you can hear walking around the D.C. area right now. I wish that I had taken a picture of them because they were literally EVERYWHERE in Maryland/D.C. I figured that I would have other opportunities to, but unfortunately I only saw them in Maryland. I did continue to hear them in other parts of the East Coast and South, though.
Maryland was the first day that I really experienced the heat and humidity. I was not prepared. I planned on spending the whole day exploring and sight seeing in D.C., but had to cut it extremely short because I had heat exhaustion.
What I was able to experience was brunch at a really good restaurant called The Smith. The Smith's original location is in New York City, they have since expanded with several locations in the City, a few in D.C. and one in Chicago. I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. Even though it wasn't as spicy as I would like, all of the ingredients tasted fresh and it was super filling. Which was great because I needed the protein for my walk.
Next on my agenda was to find a museum that was open (my hope was to stay inside and away from the heat as much as possible). I quickly learned that most of the museums were closed due to COVID including the Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. Of the few galleries that were opened, I was most interested in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Because much of my trip was spontaneous, I did not book tickets in advance. Unfortunately, you can only obtain tickets online and in advance. When I checked for tickets the day of there were none available until July! So, moral of the story is don't be like me! If you ever go to Washington D.C. make sure to plan out your trip 30 days beforehand.
I did walk around the National Mall and took as many pictures as I could before I got ill from the heat. I never made it to the White House and I only saw the Capitol/Supreme Court from my car, but I still feel fulfilled from my short time in D.C. I also don't have much interest in visiting again in the future.
One of the first things I saw was the Washington Monument. Which, again, you need to book tickets online in order to go inside and view National Mall from the top. The outside of the monument is pretty boring.
The monument did make appearances in more of my pictures including one view that I took from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at a protest in solidarity with Colombia's protesters. For those that don't know, citizens across Colombia have been protesting since April 28th of this year. The civil unrest began because of economic struggles and inadequate healthcare (does this sound familiar?). Protesters have been met with police brutality: more than 60 citizens have been killed and there are around 100 protesters missing.
The Washington Monument made an appearance again when I was taking pictures at the World War II memorial. My grandpa was a WWII veteran who fought in the war in the Pacific.
Here are some of the pictures that I took of the Lincoln Memorial. When I first saw the Lincoln memorial from far away I said "ew" out loud because I was not expecting the water in front of it to be so green and swampy. I couldn't believe that there were so many ducks swimming in it. In this case, my picture makes it look better than it did in person!
Here is the actual monument! It was definitely my favorite thing I saw in D.C.
And yes, I took a close up of Lincoln's face just so I could make a fun PRIDE collage.