Our East Coast trip began the day after the last day of school. School has imposed a rather unpleasant sleeping schedule upon me, where I held high grace and blessed the spirits if I managed to get any more than five hours of sleep. For this reason, my East Coast experience was vastly different from everyone else. While five to six hours is a blessing for me, it’s a curse for others. During last year’s trip to Seattle and Vancouver, I longed for sleep hours. With the same amount of sleep hours this year, I feel strangely
energetic. I’m aware that people who boast about sleep in any shape or form are rather unappealing, so let me make this clear. I’m not boasting about the amount of sleep hours that I don’t need, I’m shrouding my unhealthy sleep habits in a layer of optimism.
Our day began with a visit to the Georgetown University campus. The complex, archaic architecture of the campus buildings is nothing short of fascinating. Fortunate for us, a majority of the classrooms and offices were left open for public access. The university school cycle is definitely over, so either Georgetown U leaves its facilities open the entire year, or we were unbelievably lucky (highly unlikely based on past occurrences with the group). While I love Georgetown U’s architecture, the fact remains that it is one of the most expensive colleges in terms of tuition. Its range of majors is also relatively shallow, being political science and literature heavy, with little engineering programs. For those with interests within these fields, I highly recommend making, at the very least a visit to the Georgetown campus. Personally, this school is out of my reach. For now, I’m okay with that.
Next stop, D.C.’s Chinatown. I’m proud to say that I recognized the Chinatown neighborhood as soon as I saw Chipotle and McDonald’s—wait, what? It didn’t take me too long to realize that D.C’s Chinatown, much like many other historic Chinatowns faced massive gentrification over the years. Ironically, D.C’s Chinatown holds the record for the “largest single-span archway in the world,” when the only thing Chinese about is two Chinese restaurants with one that barely qualifies as a Chinese restaurant, and Chinese words labeled under the English among store plaques. When we asked local residents about D.C’s Chinatown, their response was very much similar to ours: “It’s barely a Chinatown anymore.”
To end our day, we headed towards the National Mall for a tour by Free Tours by Foot. As soon as our tour guide began to speak, I began to profusely thank my AP United States history teacher. Without an adequate base of knowledge of both United States and World history, I truly believe that it is almost impossible to appreciate historic tours and museums. Perhaps you’d enjoy the artistic presentation of the speaker in his own right, but not the actual content itself. The tour guide was, in fact amazing in his own right. His tour was a near imitation of John Green’s Crash Course videos, with the loud and fast
speech, deadpan sarcasm, and undying enthusiasm. I won’t go too in-depth about the tour itself, since much of the content can probably be found online anyway. The World War II memorial though, that one left me in awe.