Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Washington Wonders

I definitely get star-stuck. Not by celebrities (who cares about Brad Pitt's thoughts on Fathering or Nichole Richie's lastest blunder) but by places. For me, few places have the dazzle of Washington, DC.

Last night, driving into the city, with the lit-up monuments and glorious buildings that house our government, I find it overwhelming. This building, here, shelters the Congress while they debate and make deals. Over here the world impacting monetary policy gets decided.

Funny - I didn't have this same "oh my god!" feeling while walking around London. Not sure why. I did get to go into Parliament once. Back when I was 17, my mother and I were ogling the building and the nice guard told us we could go in and watch the meeting of the House of Lords. What fun! They heckled each other! Boo's rang out during while a well dressed man orated.

But there wasn't the same aura. London had a different glow. The "oh my god! I'm in London" feels different than, "oh my god! there is Obama's house!". The Awe tilted towards the strangeness and far away.

Some of it must come from the icons. The Washington Odalisque honors my 1st president. Trafalgar's column - um, Trafalgar - he lead the Navy, right? It is as if we both like the same sport, yet cheer different players.

I hope to eke out a few hours when I can see a sight or two.

1 comment:

Peoples said...

Where to start?

London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom, DC is just a District of North America - a place that was globally respected pre-2001, and the most populous municipality in the European Union, while the biggest urban area before Paris. An important settlement for two millennia, yes there were people alive that long ago, London's history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since its foundation, London has been part of many movements and phenomena throughout history, including the English Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Gothic Revival. The city's core, the ancient City of London, still retains its limited medieval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the whole metropolis that has developed around it. Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly.

London is the world's most important business, financial and cultural centre and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion and the arts contributes to its status as a major global city. Central London is the headquarters of more than half of the UK's top 100 listed companies (the FTSE 100) and over 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies. London's largest industry remains finance, and its financial exports make it a large contributor to the UK's balance of payments. Around 325,000 people were employed in financial services in London until mid-2007. London has over 480 overseas banks, more than any other city in the world. London is home to banks, brokers, insurers and legal and accounting firms which includes the global headquarters of HSBC, Reuters, Barclays and the Magic Circle, which includes Clifford Chance, the largest law firm in the world. London handled 31% of global currency transactions in 2005 — an average daily turnover of US$753 billion — with more US dollars traded in London than New York, and more euros traded than in every other city in Europe combined.

The city is a major tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors, with annual expenditure by tourists of around £15 billion. London hosted the 1908 and 1948 Summer Olympic Games and will host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; the historic settlement of Greenwich; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's Church.

London currently has a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and over 300 languages are spoken within the city. As of July 2007, it had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater Londonmaking it the most populous municipality in the European Union. As of 2001, the Greater London Urban Area is the second largest in the EU after Paris with a population of 8,278,251, and the metropolitan area is estimated to have a total population of between 12 and 14 million, the largest metropolitan area in the EU. The public transport network, administered by Transport for London, is one of the most extensive in the world, Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic and the air space is the busiest of any city in the world.

What was that about DC? :)

Thank you Wikipedia!