Friday, January 23, 2009
Bill Maher was right when he said: "Take that Canada! Your head of state is a boring white dude named Stephen Harper and mine is a kick-ass black ninja named Barack Hussein Obama!!" It's true. For once in my life, I kind of envy Americans. With Barack as their president, they now have hope for change. They're headed in the right direction while we're stuck with the Canadian version of George "dubya" Bush as our PM.
I just got back from a ladies' roadtrip to DC to be a part of history. We left toronto at 630 am on january 19th packed up the white escalade with sleeping bags, snacks, canada goose parkas and duffle bags. We were planning on "roughin' it".
Coco drove the whole way and eva & I took turns navigating. Kiki slept pretty much the whole way. The drive was pretty smooth. We chatted, sang songs, played the alphabet game, stopped to pee 10 times and stopped to eat 3 times. We had a little bit of traffic in maryland where there was a major accident. Other than that, it was an easy drive. Oh ya...we got lost twice.
13 hours later, we get to our destination in New Carrolton, just outside of DC. Coco's cousin Michael has a house there & kindly offered his home as a place for us to stay. So much for roughing it...this place was really nice & big.
We were exhausted and went to bed around midnight. Our friend Keith who lives in Virginia said we had to be on the metro by 4am if we wanted to avoid the long lineups etc. So we set the alarm for 330 and got to the station by 430. There were already hundreds of cars & people there. But we were able to squeeze into the first train that got there.
We met with Keith who was going to lead us to the National Mall where we were going to witness the inauguration of Obama. (Not a shopping mall. Lol. The park between the lincoln memorial and the Capitol). There were swarms of people. It was dark, cold & windy but the energy of the crowds were so powerful it made me forget about the fact that I was tired & it was below zero temperature.
We walked about 8 blocks to 7th street and stood in line with hundreds of other people to wait for the gates to open at 7am. It was ridiculously cold. Our toes and fingers became icicles after the first hour. We were in layers of clothes and Canada goose parkas and we were in pain from the cold. Luckily Lowe brought some heat packs. Thank the Lawd!
After 6 hours of freezing in line, we only moved 10 feet closer to the gate!! There was a point where I thought people were going to try to rush the gate and lil me was gonna get trampled. I'm 5'1". I couldn't see anything in front of me..just backs and feet. If I were claustrophobic, I would've died. People were passing out, passing gas and having anxiety attacks left right and center. There was no communication from cops or security at the gate letting people know what was happening. It was kind of ridiculous. All they needed was a few more police, a medic and a megaphone and things could've run a lot smoother. Instead, they had 1 gate for every 400,000 people and the gate that we were at happen to be letting 1 person in every half hour. The whole time we waited, they let in 10 people. At 10:30am and after waiting 6 hours, we decided to give up and walk to the closest pub with a big screen TV.
We ended up at a nice bar/restaurant that had huge TVs around the bar. About 500 people stood around and watched the president get sworn in. There were all kinds of people from all over the world. It seemed like there was a moment in time where nothing could've broken the spirits of these people. We were all gathered together for the same reason and it didn't feel like we were strangers to each other. Everyone's eyes were glued to the TV. Even the servers stopped serving and taking orders.
Everytime they showed even a glimpse of Barack Obama, the whole place would cheer O-BA-MA or YES WE CAN! This man is truly loved. He has brought hope to a nation that has been failed by their government for years. It was AWESOME to be around these people...you could really FEEL their genuine happiness.
When Barack Obama was sworn in and during his speech, the place stood still in silence. People were crying, hugging, praying, smiling and just in awe. Right after, people cheered and strangers were hugging strangers. It was as if someone just told the whole place they had all won the lottery. It was truly moving and inspiring.
Even though we didn't make it to capitol hill, it was still an experience I'll never forget. I'm glad I drove 13 hours, I'm glad I waited in line for 6 hours and I'm glad I got to be a part of the biggest, greatest event to happen in my lifetime.
To quote the president: "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them". What a statement! Oh yes....A Change 'gon come...