Tag Archives: Georgetown

Day 10 (Friday) in Washington DC

The weather cooled somewhat. I arrived at George Washington University by Circulator bus, then spent the morning in two GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) sessions, listening to presentations on a collaboration with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and a panel with various national GLAM project coordinators. I also met the editor who put up the first QRpedia code in Australia.

For a change from GLAM, the post-lunch session I chose to attend was about anther area of interest if mine, mobile access to Wikipedia, where I learned that Wikipedia’a Android app is already fully translated in Welsh, and the mobile website just a handful of phrases away from being so. My Welsh-speaking colleagues back home have already agreed to my suggestion that they close that gap. That will be important for our Geovation bid and other projects using the Welsh language.

My final conference session of the day was about mapping, including OpenStreetMap. Earlier, I’d added some features of the Congressional Cemetery (including the “restroom”!) to that project, and a mapping party on Sunday should finish the job.

A walk to historic Georgetown followed, for a fringe event, the Wiki in Education meetup, generously hosted by the Saylar Foundation, who fed and watered the unexpectedly large crowd at their riverside premises. It was great to meet so many people, including a lot of professors and other educators, who are passionate about using Wikipedia and sister projects in their teaching. I picked up a lot of tips for my plans to liaise with language educators in the UK, to get Wikipedia article translations set as homework for their students.

On leaving Georgetown, a screaming flock of (Chaetura pelagica) flew over us. Though I’d already seen individuals, this was the first time I’d heard them. They’re very different to the Swifts we get in the UK, being smaller and paler.

A group if us took the Circulator back across town to 6th Street for a couple of beers at the “Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar“, a pop-up venue created as part of a fringe festival. I enjoyed a Doggie Style (!) Classic Pale Ale by Flying Dog and a Pitch Black IPA by Widmer Brothers. For the first time here, I saw moths flitting about, but wasn’t able to get close enough to any to recognise, or photograph them. We also saw a couple of historic buildings, jacked up in mid-air, on Jenga-like piles of wood, as the area around them is redeveloped.

My second day in Washington DC

Following on from yesterdays post, in which I forgot to mention that I saw a clear though distant view of New York from the aeroplane on the way in…

Yesterday morning, I had a bit of a wander this found a lovely butterfly garden next to the Natural History Museum, but with only two species. I photographed both, so might be able to identify them later.

Next to that was an interesting sculpture garden, where I heard and saw a (aptly, Melospiza melodia). I then made a quick pop into the National Portrait Gallery & Museum of American Art, which deserved a longer stay. At least they had air conditioning and a faucet (I’m learning the language, see) from which I could top up my water bottle. Yesterday was again ridiculously hot — I drank more water in a day then I ever have before.

I covetously examined a Scottevest jacket in the nearby Spy Museum Shop, but I’m still deciding whether the use I’d get from one justifies the cost.

After that, I was off to the Smithsonian National Zoo. On the way there, an elderly local woman on the Metro — did I mention Washington’s efficient Metro? — enquired about my accent “Oh”, she said, “I from Birmingham too. Until the mid 1960s, when I married an American, I used to live off the Coventry Road at Small Heath”. So did I, in the mid 1960s.

Like all of the Smithsonian venues here, entrance to the zoo is free, which is excellent. I had time for a quick look at my first (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) — which was luckily, quite active — and to watch the wild Night Herons being fed. A (Buteo lineatus; a cousin of the buzzard I see at home) flew through to steal one of the dead mice they’re given. Wild Chipmunks (exact species not yet determined) were running about on the footpaths.

I then had a meeting with staff from the zoo, including a director, who seemed very keen to hear about .

Another Metro ride took me back to central Washington, from where walked to The White House, to see if President Bartlet was about. He wasn’t, but a very confiding (Turdus migratorius; actually not a Robin but a relative of our Blackbird) was entertaining. It was also interesting to see (Sciurus carolinensis) in their natural habitat, rather than as the feral pests which they are at home. Another walk brought me back to the hostel, stopping only for ice-cream.

After a rest and catching up on email and Twitter, I joined a group of people from my hostel for a bus ride to historic Georgetown, with a guided walk. Georgetown is the Handsworth Wood or Notting Hill of Washington, with fantastic private houses, including the one where John F Kennedy and Jackie lived and had their children immediately prior to his election as President. We wandered around Georgetown University, which could easily double for Hogwarts. It was frustrating to see swifts and martins hawking for insects, but not to be able to identify them. Afterwards, we walked down the steps which feature in the closing scene of the Exorcist. The evening ended with an obligatory bar stop and a bus ride home.

[Pictures to be added later]