That Time the Pentagon Helped Me

DAY THREE // And on the third day of being in the Capital city, things took a turn for the worst. First, it started off with missing our first subway train exit of the day. We decided to just continue on to the next train stop that just happened to be the Pentagon. Then, when we got off and resurfaced to the upper grounds, the wiiiiinds were super strong. Our hair whipped back and forth savagely, and our ears and noses got super cold that Rachell started to develop a slight headache from it all. That wasn’t the worst of it.

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The Pentagon Memorial was a beautiful and peaceful part of the Pentagon. Streaming water ran underneath the benches, which they themselves were inscribed with names of those who were killed during the attack on the Pentagon.

It was there, when I was taking detail photos of the names on the structures, that I had put my Sony NEX camera down and began using my Nikon dslr.

We left the memorial shortly, because the winds proved to be too much for us. We were sitting in the train, halfway to our next destination, when I felt around my pockets and couldn’t find my Sony NEX camera. In panic, I searched my backpack and still no sign of it. My first thought was that the camera was pick pocketed. I always have the camera in my cardigan pocket, and I’m sure when we were standing on the crowded train, someone saw it (as it’s clearly exposed) and just.. took it without me noticing! Or what if I left it at the Pentagon Memorial?

I tell Rachell, and we immediately get off the train, and head back to the Pentagon. I ran over to the Pentagon memorial and found nothing. We were only gone for maybe half an hour, and there were hardly anyone there, so I was sure no one took it. So where could it have gone?

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At this point, I admit defeat. The camera is lost; so be it. These things happen. I’m just sad that I lost all those photos. I text Joseph the bad news, and he immediately replies with “file a report with the Police”. A flood of thoughts go through my mind – is it worth it? Should I spend more time on something that is lost forever? But then, if I do file the report, what harm could that do? I might at least get reimbursed for the cost of the camera.

And so, I asked one of the Metro attendees if I could file a police report, she called the police department, and twenty minutes later, two police officers came and helped us out. They were really skeptical when I was telling them I got pickpocketed (which I can understand, as I told them that’s how it might’ve happened, with no definitive  reason) and ended up not being able to file the report. SIGH.

But then, they seemed to have felt sorry for me (or maybe it was a slow day, haha) that they walked us over to meet a Pentagon security guard to see if those guys can be of help. When we met with the Pentagon security guy, he was in his car patrolling the grounds. He explained that there wasn’t much he could do, and no one has returned any cameras, so I thought all was lost again.

It was then that he made a phone call to somebody, and turns out, somebody HAD called in to report a lost camera. However, the Pentagon’s Lost and Found was closed since it was the weekend, so this guy had nowhere to return it to. He was currently already on his way to the airport with the camera and there would have been no way for me to get it at that point.

BUT THE GUY WHO FOUND THE CAMERA PROMISED TO MAIL IT OUT THAT NEXT MONDAY!

What is this world?!

One minute, I’m cursing the locals for pickpocketing happy tourists on their dream vacation. The next minute, I’m being helped by complete strangers!

So many people went out of their way to help me find something that, in the grander scheme of things, is so minute, and I cannot be more thankful. They turned a sour morning into something that just made my heart warm and fuzzy. My faith in humanity has been restored!

After about an hour of that fiasco, we said goodbye to everyone and went on our merry way. Thankfully, I brought my Nikon dslr on the trip as well, and didn’t have to miss out on taking travel photos.

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We met up with Rachell’s friend, Itzel, in front of the U.S. Capitol, who was working for a non-profit organization at Washington, D.C. She was super nice, and super fun to hang out with. Plus, hearing her first-hand experience of what it’s like being a transplant in Washington, D.C. helped shape my view of the city.

Anyway, the line to the U.S. Capitol is pretty long, so be sure to get there early in the morning.

We got this really cool elderly guy as our tour guide. The reason he was cool – he was funny, and his hobby is to learn languages! So, to every person that looked that like were from another country, he’d ask where they were from, and greet them / have a conversation with them in their native tongue. Some folks were from more uncommon places too! And here I am, complaining that French is hard. HAH!

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The dome of the building was/has been under renovations so .. yeah T_T

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I thought the tour was actually just okay. I was hoping to see some action, like representatives actually talking about electing a new bill, or what-have-you. But we ended up touring more about the actual architecture than what’s really going on in the Capitol.

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When we finished the tour, we headed out to grab some grub. I absolutely loved walking around the suburban area of the city, too, and admiring all their brick townhouses <3

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We finally made it to the Eastern Market! I had heard about this place in a City Guide. It’s a Farmer’s Market on the outside, and a place for different vendors on the inside.

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And yet, even with the handful of restaurant vendors inside the Market, we ended up wandering across the street to a Peruvian restaurant. I’m so glad we made this choice, because their food was SO GOOD

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The last thing on our itinerary for the day was heading to the Cherry Blossom Festival out near the water.

It was a really crowded festival, and I’m sorry I didn’t take more photos of it. Truth was, there was a ton of people, but not really a ton of things to do. The majority of the activity was in the food vendors.

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Although the day started off in such a bad place, the rest of the day was so much better. I’m amazed that people can be so nice and go out of their way to help strangers. I’m happy Rachell’s friend was able to meet up and give us a rough tour of her neighborhood, and I’m thrilled the day ended with a bang (as you can see from the last photo, haha).

By the way, my camera is back in my possession without a scratch on it and with all the photos intact. Ah, ever so grateful!

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