Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010 Homework Day and Dad's Day at Capitol Hill


(Karannina) At 8am in the morning, the dogs bark, 'Wake up'. Poor Onkel Klaus, he needs to wear ear plugs. We have another wonderful Fruhstuck. We do our homework of paragraph writing. Fish and salad for lunch! We do more homework of paragraph writing. Olympics watching: Canada gets 3rd place in figure skating! Way to go Canada! Keep it up! We do more homework of journal writing. Sabrina and Oliver come over with supper. We show Sabrina and Oliver how to play Dutch Blitz, laughing and learning at the same time! We then watch a Star Trek/Star Wars spoof which was completely hilarious! I watch Olympics with Alex and Onkel Klaus. Go, Canada! Go!

(Dad - in Washington DC) Who said you can do 5 museums in one day? Well, when they are all within walking distance, why not - especially when they are free. After I got all organized and finished my last detail preparations for tomorrow's ADEA (American Dental Education Association) conference presentation, I took a bus to the nearest Metro station, took the Metro to Capitol Hill and the Mall. At the Mall, I saw the Washington Monument - seems that people all around Europe and USA have this need to build high towers. Opposite and about 1.6 kms (that is what the map says) stands the Capitol. I headed for the Smithsonian Castle to discover the sarcophagus of none other than James Smithson, the illegitimate son of Hugh Smithson, who later became the first Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth Keate Hungerford Macie, a widow of royal blood. James inherited a large sum of money from his mother and used his money to study the sciences and spent considerable amount of time visiting the notable scientists in Europe at the time. Given that he was illegitimate, he was unable to use the family name in England, so on he bequeathed over 100,000 gold pieces to US for purposes of advancing the study of science. And hence, the Smithsonian institute was established. After the Castle visit, I headed for the Hirshhorn Museum of Art and captured one of Andy Warhall's self-portraits. Then off to the Air and Space Museum to discover that, yes, US was the first to fly the plane through the Wright brothers. Interesting that Smithson's idea of ensuring the truth of science is not upheld, as there is no mention of Alberto Santos Dumunt, the first Brazilian to fly his plane two weeks prior to that of the Wright Brothers (from our trip to Brazil in 2006) - who does one believe? Also, one of the German captured V-1 missiles was taken from Germany after WWII and used to build the missiles for military as well as the rockets used in NASA space. And the first simulator - something that is finally catching on in the field of dentistry. Amazing how ideas are borrowed and built upon (so what about plagiarism in these case???). Next, I headed for the National Art Gallery and was invited to take pictures of Leonardo de Vinci's paintings (I think this model is much prettier than Mona Lisa, check out her beautiful cheeks) as well as many other works of art. Amazing, whereas in Europe, this is strictly forbidden, esp. with flash camera. Take a look at the ceiling - look familiar - borrowed from the Pantheon in Rome and get a load of the painting - one of the inside of the Pantheon painted in the 1500's. And nothing like a great copy of an original. Next a visit to the National History Museum to see the Hope Diamond and other interesting items, such as the precious gem collections. Oh, did I mention that I saw one of my forefathers - the Austrian Iceman - or maybe replica. And the CSI lab with lessons on how to identify different people from 1600's, those who first settled in the US and what they died from - amazing stuff. And of course, the mummified Golden Bull and some mummies from Egypt - strangely out of place here in the US. Oh, did I mention the Smithsonian photo of the year - wow - what cool pics. Then finally, the National Geographic Society - wow - talk about cool photos on display. (Hey Sandra, Alex and Nina - what do you think about a trip to Washington DC in the future?). Back to my hotel and off to a much need sleep.

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