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Tourist! Tourist!

WASHINGTON, DC -- Okay, armed with cameras, we definitely looked like tourists today in Washington... I actually really like the Washington Metro subway system. It's clean and fast, and cool-looking with subdued lighting in all the stations. With parking impossible in DC, that's how we are getting around.

This morning we had booked a tour at the Capitol through the office of my US representative, Rahm Emanuel. These days, the Capitol seems more inaccessible than ever, since it resembles a giant construction site, with the new visitors center (planned after the 9/11 attacks) that will open in 2005 being built. Thus, it was hard to find the right place to go. We wound up on the Senate side of the Capitol, where a very polite (!) Senate police officer told us how to get to Rahm's office, at which time two very enthusiastic young members of his staff gave us the tour. Actually, it was nicer that way, since it was more personal. There are many areas in the Capitol now sealed to the public, sadly, after 9/11, but we did see the Rotunda, many of the offices and did sit in the gallery of the House chamber and heard a couple of droning speeches about prescription drug reform (one of them, predictably by a Republican, was filled with errors).

Then we had lunch at the House cafeteria -- which has got to be one of the best-kept secrets in DC. The food is good, the lines short, and the prices ridiculously cheap (lunch for four: $19).

After lunch we headed over to another don't-miss site: the International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, not far from Ford's Theater. This cleverly arranged museum has tons of spy gadgets from the Cold War era, but also traces the history of spying, shows some actually interesting bits of videos (unlike many museum videos which are dull and old) -- one of which was a patriotic Donald Duck cartoon from World War II that I had never seen before; Donald promotes paying your taxes, so we could have "Taxes to beat the Axis". It also has some cool interactive exhibits which are good for adults as well as kids. The only downside to this museum is that it's a bit pricey ($13 for adults and $10 for kids), but I still think it was worth it.

I'm just kind of hanging out now at our B&B, The Inn at Dupont Circle, and in an hour or so it's off on the MARC commuter train to Baltimore for tonight's game.

Go Cubs! Will write about the game probably tomorrow morning.