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» Thursday, November 09, 2006Return to the Sky
We "chose wisely," as the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade intones; we picked today to go to the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is subtitled "America's Hangar," where the big aircraft, and more aircraft, are now displayed rather than being shown cheek-by-jowl in the Air and Space building downtown on the Mall. Air and Space is still crowded, but compared to the way it looked before the new building was opened, it looks downright bare. Anyway, it was a beautiful day, cloudless, the sky that "blue bowl overhead." The wind was blowing briskly, but that lessened as the day progressed.
I pretty much described the Udvar-Hazy Center in my blog entry two years ago, so for details on the place, just follow the link. More aircraft have been added; the vertical flight gallery is now there, but there is still space where they used to have the tables and the Subway stand. (There is now a McDonald's restaurant and a "McCafe" permanently installed, so Subway is no longer needed.) James says some airplanes have been moved, but I couldn't really tell. And there were some additional airplanes added, including one that he told me used to ferry spies into occupied France (so that ties back to the Spy Museum from Sunday; cool).
James goes through these places taking photos of the airplanes, the rockets, the missiles, and occasionally the satellites. I like to look at the airplanes and the space equipment (like the Gemini capsules), but mostly I want to see the memorabilia: the flyers' outfits, the things they carried, the gadgets they used, their journals. There is a wonderful display case filled with space toys from the 1950s and 1960s, for example. Another has dishes and plates, furniture, and other things influenced in style by the balloon craze that occurred after the Montgolfier brothers flew their first hot-air balloon in the 1700s. (I was amused by the timeline that talks about the first American to fly in a balloon being a 13-year-old boy. Timmy mentions this fact in an episode of Lassie.)
There were two new historical displays this year. One was an assortment of memorabilia having to do with zeppelins. Two struts from the crashed Hindenburg were here, along with a surviving cup and saucer. There was also a tank used in an exploration vessel, Norge, which was lost. Roald Admunsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, and a partner disappeared while looking for the Norge.
The second display was three big multi-shelf glass cabinets holding items to do with Charles Lindbergh. Some were items Lindbergh (and his wife Anne in a couple of cases) had used, but the majority of them, over 90 percent, were items that had been issued to celebrateand capitalizeon Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic. If you think merchandising over movies and celebrities is something new, think again. There were games, drinking glasses, statues, toys, inkwells, watches, bracelets, photos, frames, and other things too numerous to list.
After we'd walked the main level we had lunch. I tried the McDonald's Asian salad, which wasn't bad, except they were out of the sesame ginger dressing. I had balsamic vinegarette instead, which gave me roaring indigestion despite two Prilosec.
We then visited the Gift Shop (it's a State Law) and I bought a book about World War II homefront propaganda posters and also a postcard book of them. I'm going to frame a few of them and dot them around the house. Afterwards we walked the second and third floor catwalks so James could get more photos, then went up to the tower, which overlooks the landing path for Dulles Airport. Last time James had gotten rather foggy pics because of the weather; tonight he snapped photo after photo while I just sat and enjoyed the view. It was so clear you could see the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 23 miles away.
We left about four o'clock.
Well, a couple of nights ago I discovered there was an A.C. Moore about seven miles away from us. I asked James if we could make a stop there before visiting Rodney tomorrow and he had agreed, but since we had time tonight we went tonight instead. I found some inexpensive (less than $3.00 in most cases) decorations for the front porch for Christmas and for the winter, got some iron-ons for my new sweatshirts, and a couple of other things. Not worth trucking up to Chattanooga for, but nice since the store was nearby. We also stopped at Borders in the vain hope that this one might still stock Best of British, but, alas, no. I did get a couple of cross-stitch magazines, the new Yankeegad, they're going to magazine-size format in January, after seventy years!, the Ideal Home Christmas volume, the December Early American Life, and from the remainder rack, Life's Christmas Around the World, which was $25 last year. Borders remainder price: three bucks. I love Borders' remainder tables.
We also had a great meal at the Golden Corral near the Borders. The breakfast bar here at the hotel is heavily starches, I had salad at lunch, so I did an Atkins thing at supper. :-) I did have a small slice of apple pie and was very surprised: most commercially served apple pie is overly sweet, but this was just sweet enough and very strongly spices, and my favorite part, the crust, was terrific!
So it was a lovely day, except for the toilet doing its thing again when we got back. [eyes roll] Need to let James have a turn at the laptop and go have a game of "peck" with Pidgie. Ta!