Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Other NASM III

This is the last installment in our series covering the National Air & Space Museum - Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Keep up, people, we have so much more to see after this!

For instance, today I went to the National Gallery of Art and need to blog about that soon. (Before I forget all the interesting things I thought while I was there.)


So after the SR-71 Blackbird, and the Shuttle Enterprise, what else is there to see?

Well, the Concorde...and some other shiny birds.

The camera can barely capture it and certainly doesn't do it justice. My attempts from ground level were even worse.

How do they fit them all in? Do they have a Gulliver to remove the roof and shuffle the little planes around like a child arranging a jigsaw puzzle? No, unfortunately they probably have to open the hangar doors and move everything out one by one in an interminably tedious and risky process. The poor guys who had to plan the layout, eh?

This is very cute and looks almost like a desktop model with perhaps a remote control!

The Shuttle Enterprise mockup from a second story viewing platform.

This battered old thing has seen a lot of action, a North American P-61C Black Widow with radar turret. It began combat operations after D-Day 1944, at night and in bad weather, in German airspace and over the Pacific. After the war it was used extensively in weather research, altitude testing, and in the National Thunderstorm Project.

The back end fell off this one. Or, it's a frog with wings. No, it's a Waterman Aerobile.

My favorite in today's post, the Pan American Airlines Boeing 307 Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud. They covered everything in
that name!

I love this shot from above...gorgeous machine. I love unpainted planes.

Dulles International Airport as seen from the Observation Tower


No rest for the wicked. Chris, N and I went back to Washington, met up with her cousin A, and had dinner at Rosa Mexicana where the best guacamole I've ever had is made at the table. It being the last day of Restaurant Week the others had their $35 menus but I settled for a single item which was fine because Chris practically begged me to eat half his starter, some delicious and spicy chicken chimichangas (I think).

They ended up taking their dessert home because we were running late - Chris had to drive back to NYC and wanted to leave before 8pm, and we girls wanted to be at our event by 7.30. He made his deadline, but we were half an hour late to ours.

Frustratingly, our restaurant was across the street from the Verizon Center Arena, but we had to go back to my place so Chris could pack his car and N could pick up hers to drive us back into town for the game.

"The game?" you ask. Yes, the game...

Still haven't guessed?
Well, those of you on Facebook would know.

BASKETBALL! Yes, Olivia went to a GAME.

The Washington Wizards were playing the San Antonio Spurs. Go Texas! They won by a long shot, 98 to 67. Washingtonians were leaving half an hour before the end it was such a lost cause.
San Antonio has won 14 of the last 17 meetings with Washington. Hehe! You don't mess with Texas. (Even as I type, the Houston Rockets lost a close 102 to 105 against the Chicago Bulls after long maintaining a 17 point lead.)

Half of the fun was the game, and the other half was the audience participation. At half time there was a contortionist who arrived in a small box, wrapped himself in knots and passed through a toilet seat and a tennis racket, making us all squirm in our seats. There were the Wizards cheerleaders who came out a couple of times in all their out of sync glory. (Nobody beats the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, again don't mess with....) There were the team mascots who came out and danced, and others who shot free T-shirts and golden balls into the stands.

Best part, though, was the Kissing Cam during halftime, which had the fans in stitches. The cameras (which I never spotted) would zoom in on a couple who would have to kiss, though a couple hid their faces giggling. We all wondered "What if they choose a pair on a first date?"

There was a live DJ during timeouts, and the cameras mostly focused on the cute dancing children, and some adults. Then they spotted a really old white guy who was really getting his groove on! He was so good, they stayed on him, and we all cheered him on, he had so much energy and some proper moves! He was down with the kids ;) Yes he was...

...Stop now Olivia.

Neither of the girls are avid fans - it was A's first and N's second time. Alright, I may never have the opportunity to go to another game and it was an expense I could have bypassed, BUT it was fun and I am glad I had the experience.


MattJ said...

No one does entertainment at sports events like the Americans :-p Our weak-ass imitations at things like rugby matches are just embarrassing.

I went to a Penguins hockey game while I was out there and had a similar experience to you. I think it is something to do with the way 60 minutes games last for 3+ hours that made them develop this gifty for keeping the crowd entertained!

There was kissing cam at my game, but my favourite was 'Cotten-eye Joe cam' :p

Flighty said...

I love the shiny aeroplanes! The small one is a Globe Swift.
The second Concorde photo shows several other iconic aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and the Aero Commander.
Thanks for this post, and the other ones, about this wonderful aerospace collection. xx

michelle G said...

I am eagerly awaiting the post about the National Gallery, you know how I love art, galleries and all that jazz.

Boeing 307 Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud, wow. Stunning

Olivia said...

Matt - what's the Cotton-Eye Joe cam????


Flighty - Indeed, I was completely overwhelmed by the quality and number of planes at this facility. On the map, they are plotted in three layers. No space for anything new, and if they did acquire something, imagine the reshuffle. Yikes.


Mich - I know girlie! Be patient, it will be up soon!

MattJ said...

they play cotton eye joe, and whoever the camera lands on has to get up and do a little dance :D

Anonymous said...

Hi, Olivia! First of all I must say I love the new name of your blog! And I am amazed to see how many things you do, and the wonderful posts you your days have 24 hours, like mine?? ;)

Selba said...

I wish I could be at both places... NASM and the game! :D

The Moody Minstrel said...

So you can't look inside any of those planes, eh? That's too bad...but I guess being able to see them at all is something.

Olivia said...

Matt - SO glad they didn't pick me.


MJ - my days do indeed have that many hours. I am active in short intense bursts, followed by long periods of quiet.


Selby - that's why you read my blog, to experience these things vicariously :)


Minstrel - that's true. There were more open cockpits at the NASM on the Mall. But yes, just seeing them is the experience du jour.

Guyana-Gyal said...

That sounds like cricket audience in the Windies!

steve on the slow train said...

You're making me give up my Midwestern prejudice against Texas and Texans! Mike Royko, the late Chicago columnist, once wrote that even though the Dallas Cowboys were America's Team, there were only six people outside Texas who didn't hate the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, most of the people he knew were Chicagoans. Next thing I know, I'll be rooting for the Spurs (though not against the Bulls or the Pacers).

Great shots of the Boeing 307. There's a rather strange mystery by C. Daly King called "Obelists Fly High," which features a Boeing prop airliner. It's got to be an earlier model than the 307, though, as it was written in 1935.

Glo said...

Wow, Liv ~ another fantastic post. Those aircraft are amazing ~ and your photos are super clear and bright. Very informative! Glad you enjoyed the game. It must have been so much fun. Sounds like you are making great new friends ~ it certainly didn't take you long to fit right into your new environment!