Our Travel Diaries… Washington DC

Washington DC

When you visit the US you it dawns on you just how much Americans value their nationality, culture and heritage. You then understand and relate the visa process we as Kenyans go through, It’s just the American way of doing things nothing personal.

capitalThe immigration process at the Dulles airport was quite smooth and fast. Once done bags were already waiting at the conveyor belt and at arrivals our guide for the city was waiting… Every time am in the US my greatest admiration is their intentional effort to acknowledge and appreciate those that have contributed and made America what it is today.

Washington my arrival city is a museum city, at every turn there is a statue of someone, a monument named after someone, a memorials of someone artfully done with all you need to know, museums. Just so much to do and see… It’s one of the cities I enjoy, it was no different this time.

Washington, DC offers attractions and activities for everyone, few cities in the world provide the same access to incredible museums, one-of-a-kind events and incredible displays as Washington, DC for free or nearly free. The National Mall, a two-mile green expanse from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial.

Along the way, visitors see the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. One of the things one must do is visit the Smithsonian. Collectively called the Smithsonian Institution, this world-renowned museum and research complex in the District consists of 17 museums, galleries and a zoo.

Explore and learn about everything from the origins of man and the future of flight to the history of art across multiple continents with nearly 140 million objects, works of art and specimens to discover. The Smithsonian’s collection of knowledge centers serve as a treasure chest for visitors and a guide to the most fascinating aspects of our world and the best part; you won’t have to pay a penny to experience it as admission is free at every location.

My most memorable moments of this trip that really stood out for me;

Visit to the bureau of engraving and printing:
engravingAlso known as the Money factory, this where the US currency is printed. They have tours!!! You actually watch the process making real US money. Previously Currency production at the BEP consisted of a handful of people separating notes with a hand-cranked machine in the basement of the Treasury building.

Now the production of U.S. currency is not an easy or simple task, but one that involves highly trained and skilled craftspeople, specialized equipment, and a combination of traditional old world printing techniques merged with sophisticated, cutting edge technology.  There are numerous, distinctive steps required in the production process. Coins are usually made of copper and another element, such as zinc or nickel.

Currency paper is composed of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Before World War I these fibers were made of silk.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $541 million. That doesn’t mean there is $541 million more money circulating today than there was yesterday, though, because 95% of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in circulation.

That depends on the denomination of the note. A $1 bill lasts 18 months; $5 bill, two years; $10 bill, three years; $20 bill, four years; and $50 and $100 bills, nine years. Bills that get worn out from everyday use are taken out of circulation and replaced. No paper goes to waste as they shred the waste and use it to make gift items.

This was extremely fascinating for me considering in Kenya this is not a process for public consumption.

Visit to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial:
The 32nd president of the united states fondly know as FDR is one of the most beloved presidents and there is a memorial in his honor. He holds the record of the longest serving president. In honor of President Roosevelt’s four terms in office, the monument is divided into four outdoor “rooms,” where visitors are able to view myriad statues and murals representing issues from the Great Depression to World War II.

When visiting the memorial, visitors have the opportunity to learn about and reflect on some of the most significant events in this country’s history, while enjoying some of the best views of the Tidal Basin and iconic cherry blossom trees that surround it.

Roosevelt had a strong connection to the National Park Service. During a speech in 1936, President Roosevelt noted “there is nothing so American” as our national parks. The memorial dedicated to our 32nd president embodies the values of the National Mall: that it belongs to the people and it is for all to share and enjoy.

FDR appointed the 1st woman ever in his cabinet, Frances Perkins. He is also the one who introduced the social security act. He got America out of its greatest depression there by restoring liberty to the American people.

He was also the first president to fly a plane! FDR was handicapped waist down from a bout of polio, very few Americans knew this as he concealed it very well…

When at the memorial one is transported the America of that time.. whether a citizen or not you feel the pride of the American people.

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