Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Real White House and More

Hi everyone.

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to write. I am having so much fun that I don’t have time to sit at the computer.

Keith and Kristin were very busy with meetings all day on Thursday. Kristin told me I would need my walking shoes before we left the hotel. She was right. We walked a TON today around parts of Washington. Kristin says sometimes it is faster to walk than to take a cab.

Our first stop of the day was Al Jazeera’s Washington DC office. It is an office of the same station I visited in Qatar. Remember the photo of me with Kristin near the TV? That was taken at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha. The office here is much smaller but Keith tells me it is growing fast. Al Jazeera is starting a news channel that will broadcast in English and one of the main offices for the new channel is here in Washington.

The Al Jazeera office is located on K Street. Yes, the street name is just the letter “K.” I noticed many streets today that were only named by letter. How simple! Anyway, Kristin tells me that K Street is very well known in Washington. Many people and organizations that work with the government have offices on K Street.

I wasn’t all that interested in hearing more about K Street but Kristin told me that it was very close to a famous location. Guess what? The Al Jazeera office is near the White House! That’s where the President of the United States lives. The White House has a very famous address. Do you know what it is? See if you can look it up.

It is a REALLY BIG house. Bigger than any house I have ever seen. Kristin says people can tour the White House but we didn’t have time. It's OK. Keith says the president wasn't at home today. But, Keith did was able to take a photo of me with Kristin in front of the White House.

Can you tell it is cold and VERY windy here? I am very glad Aunt Lynn bought me a new coat for Christmas. It keeps me dry and warm.

This afternoon, Keith and Kristin visited their friend Simon Marks. Simon owns a company called Feature Story News. He is a journalist like Keith and Kristin. He even has a TV studio in his office! He is helping Keith and Kristin work on their radio program. So while Keith and Kristin were talking with Simon, I pretended I was a journalist like Keith and Kristin. Here you can see me sitting in the chair Simon and his staff use when they are talking to stations around the world. The picture in the background is of the Capital Building here in Washington.

Keith says I am a "natural." I don't know what that means but I think I look pretty cool; don't you?

Just when I thought my exciting day was over, Keith and Kristin had one more surprise for me. We took a cab to our first meeting of the day but tonight we took something called the Metro back to the hotel. Guess what? The Metro is an underground train! It is really cool. Kristin says there are many stops and there are several different routes that help people get from one place to another. There is a major stop at Dupont Circle near our hotel. It is on the “Red Line.” All of the routes are named for colors; again, very simple and easy to understand.

I can tell that Keith and Kristin have been on the Metro many times. You have to buy a special ticket and put it through a ticket machine before you can enter the system. BUT….first you have to get to the ticket machine. Remember, the special trains are underground....WAY underground! To reach the train stop…or “platform” as Kristin calls it, you have to take a VERY long escalator. The one at Dupont Circle is very, very steep. I was worried that Kristin was going to fall over because the escalator is so steep that it makes it seem like you are falling forward. I was very scared but Kristin held on tight and didn’t fall. She told me later that it was OK to be afraid. She says the escalator scares her too.

The train itself runs on a schedule. It is very clean and fast. It runs through a tunnel dug deep under the city. Sometimes it goes so fast that my ears pop. Kristin told me that is a normal reaction and not to worry. I was scared the first time we took the Metro but now I can’t wait to ride it again. Kristin told me that if I was really, really good I might get to ride the train again.

I wanted Kristin to take my picture on the train but she told me it is not allowed. She says it is a security measure. I noticed there is a lot of security in Washington. Kristin says that is because this is America's capital and the president and other important people live and work here.

Whew! I am tired from my big adventures today. I am going to head to bed now.

Until next time.....