June 13: Drive around Washington DC


This is National air port. I was once confused by the name: when I made a reservation of air ticket, it was "National air port", but when I arrived at Washington, the name has been officially, but not familiar yet, changed to "Donald Reagan air port." We will fly out from here to Chicago. Today, we have come here for taking a look at in advance and reconfirmation of our air tickets. The air port looks like clean and easy to understand. The control tower is visible from downtown DC.
We left the air port and headed to Tyson shopping center to which we were guided by my friends. But we failed to get on the right track to there and returned to the air port. American roads are very good to drive but once when we missed a road sign, we may get a hard time. There are so many one way as well. They sometimes make us sweat.
Tyson shopping center has four department store at each wing. They sell everything man can imagine. Colorful shop and exclusively white colored shop are everywhere. They are very attractive but make my legs very tired.
Not only children but also many adults enjoy at such a shop. Actual parrots make noise and such big realistic alligator moves and roars with its mouth open wide.
We have been very tired. We took lunch at a Chinese fast food restaurant. On the opposite side of the mall was a Sushi bar like this. One piece of sushi canape was priced $1. I wonder what the taste is, but many people look like enjoying Japanese food.
This is a buckwheat hull pillow. The shape is rectangle, circle, U, and others. They are covered with smooth cotton flannel. The price is about $35 apiece. They look like very popular, some senior people were eagerly checking them.

When we were wandering around the shopping center, the weather turned stormy. We waited for a while and got on the car. As the sky was getting clear, we ventured to drive to Great Falls Park to which we have scheduled tomorrow. Potomac river becomes fall and gorge here. At the gate, we paid $4 a car to a ranger. I asked him the closing time of the gate. He said "Closes at sunset." When is the sunset? He replied "At 8:30p.m." The width of the river becomes so narrow and runs roaring down the gorge. The scenery from seeing spot is really great. One guy was trying to shoot up the rapids in a canoe.
Potomac river was once an important waterway of trading. But the gorge like this was a place to pass. A canal was du to detour the gorge. In 1870s, George Washington presided over the construction of five canals. This canal(Great Fall canal) was completed in 1802 and used for 26 years.
This is a water level record. Potomac river gathers water from hillsides of Virginia. In spring when snow melts away, the water level suddenly swells up to give such record high mark and flooding all around the valley. Recent record is in 1996, about the height of my wrist. The highest record is in 1936.
Today's water level seems to be higher than that of picture in the center of the illustration board, this is because we had a heavy rainfall this afternoon. The picture on the left is of a dry season and on the right is the high level. The scene turns quickly from left to right before we know. Today, people enjoy picnic, but in a snow melting season, we must be very careful. Anyway, just 30 minutes drive from downtown DC brings us into such a wonderful natural scenery.
During our two weeks stay in Washington DC, we could see many facets of Potomac river: filled with people under cherry blossoms, filling the appetite of people by supplying fish at the fish market wharf, sea-like open waterfront in Colonial Beach, gave birth and raised George Washington, a primitive form of the river, and raging and flooding Grate Falls Park gorge. Potomac river has taught me that it has a deep relationship with people's life in various form.
We left Great Falls Park and got back home without loosing our way. As it was still dusk, we drove through Georgetown for taking a look around of the street. I parked the car at the backyard of the apartment. The sky is still bright but the time is already past nine. I am going to prepare a supper from now. We have entirely become "staying-up-late-type" people.

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