Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Sunday: Our festivities started with the All Souls Inaugural Ball.

Monday: I met up with some grad school friends downtown for further celebration. Nancy brought us all some inaugural headgear from San Francisco.

We headed to Dupont Circle, where there was a sage-burning ceremony to rid Washington, D.C. of evil spirits. People were throwing shoes at this large inflatable George Bush:
(note the shoes hanging off his ear for scale)

Then off to the Brickskellar for more revelry!

Tuesday: We get ready for many hours outside, below freezing temps. My outfit consisted of: ski mittens, two hats, a fleece neck tube thing, a scarf, two undershirts, two wool sweaters, a fleece jacket, my winter coat, two pairs of long johns, fleece pants, jeans, and four pairs of wool socks (under a pair of Matt's shoes)!

We left our house at 8 AM and biked the 7 miles downtown...

...to check our bikes at the Inaugural Bike Valet at 16th and K. They checked over 2,000 bikes -- the biggest bike valet operation ever.

Then we joined the masses streaming toward the Mall. That's me with Luke and Sarah and several hundred of our friends.

On the Mall we ended up near the Washington Monument, which is about 1.2 miles from the Capitol.

We passed time taking pictures and talking with friends and strangers. Matt entertained our immediate neighbors by announcing: "Only 45 more minutes of George Bush!...only 40 more minutes of George Bush!" etc.

Once things got underway, we had an excellent view of a big screen (except when the kid in front of us waved her flag in the wrong direction). The sound was also surprisingly good, but delayed from the video -- usually it was just randomly off, but when Joe Biden was sworn in there was something about the cadence that resulted in Joe Biden's lips moving when the Supreme Court guy was speaking, and vice versa. Which was pretty amusing. The announcer also got a big laugh from the crowd when she said (multiple times): "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats."
Two of the two million very happy people on the Mall:

After the ceremony, we came across a Haitian Rara band -- so we spent some time dancing while we waited for the crowds to thin out, before we made our way home.
A picture's worth a thousand words, but the band's video from the Mall is even better:

And then home again -- with an extremely slow-moving crowd back to the bike valet, then the 7 miles back uphill to Silver Spring. We were home by about 4:30. At which point I promptly got sick. But it was all worth it!