Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration 2009, Part 2: Getting There

By Sunday night, I was starting to wonder if we were going to be able to make it to D.C. It had snowed most of the day, and was snowing all night. We left at 4 in the morning to pretty treacherous roads. My older sister, Tanjour, who had flown in from Houston, said she nearly had a heart attack in the van. We finally made it Maryland at 11 a.m. and Robert dropped me and my sister off at the Metro to go straight into D.C. to get our tickets. While the metro stop was pretty crowded, our train was not, so I was pretty optimistic in thinking that we could head into D.C., get our tickets, and be back before we knew it. But as soon as we stepped out of the metro and arrived at the Capitol Complex, I knew we were in a world of trouble. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person picking up my ticket on Monday. So was every other person who had been allotted one of the 240,000 tickets! When we arrived at the building that I was supposed to go to, the line was wrapped all the way around the building. Although there were a couple of entrances, each line was just as long, covering at least two sides of the building. And as you can see from the picture, this building (Canon Building, House of Representatives) is as large as a city block! All those people are waiting in line, and that was such as small portion of it. When we finally found the end of the line, my sister stood in that line while I ran down the street to the Dirksen Senate Building, where I had to pick up the other set of tickets. The line was just as long, and I couldn’t see how I would be able to pick up both sets of tickets by 5 pm. Even worse, we had not planned on being in line for so long, and we had brought nothing to eat. All I had was a bottle of water. My sister called her brother-in-law, whom she was staying with, and he came to help stand in line so that I could go back and forth if I needed to. Meanwhile, I tried to come up with another plan. That’s when I remembered that I had put the phone numbers of the Senator and Representative in my cell phone. When I called Rep. Courtney’s office, a nice young lady there informed me that all the buildings in the Capitol Complex were interconnected through underground tunnels, and that if I could find a shorter line through the back door of another building, then I could make my way to the right building. And that’s exactly what I did! Within 30 minutes, I was walking underground through the basements of the House of Representatives buildings. I made my way to Congressman Courtney’s office, where they presented me with my tickets. This is what the ticket looks like. I think it’s funny that I got an invitation when really I was asking them if I could come. Anyhoo.

While I down there, I did a little sightseeing as you can see. This is a replica of the Capitol building that they have down there in an area that is called the Rotunda (which is unusual because it is underground). They also have a plaster replica of the design that is on the east central pediment of the Capitol.

Unfortunately, I was not able to make my way underground to the Senate buildings because I had to go through the Capitol building or the Library of Congress, and that wasn’t allowed. Luckily, I was able to go another building on the other side of the Capitol complex, and make my way through the tunnels again. By 2:30, I had all four tickets in hand. However, my Senator’s office had told us that if any tickets weren’t picked up by 5, then they would be willing to give them to any Connecticut resident. And because my sister’s brother-in-law (confusing, I know) wanted tickets for his family, we waited around in the Senate building until 5. By 5:15, we had a total of six tickets to the swearing-in ceremony!

No comments: