Monday, September 10, 2012
So, we did end up touring the White House, something I don't recall ever doing before. (Even though I lived right here in DC for three years). It's not an easy thing - you have to contact your Congressperson, tell them your available dates no later than three weeks in advance, and be ready to jump whenever they contact you. We were lucky that we were contacted for a Saturday when the kids weren't in school, and Greg only had to do minimal re-arranging of his training schedule.
You're not allowed to bring anything into the White House. No purses or bags. I was able to stick a cell phone, an ID and a credit card in my pocket, and that was it. Usually, when I leave the house with the kids, I pack like we're going on an Arctic expedition, so this alone was stressful for me! But, after spending the morning dealing with complicated transportation, lunch, and restroom arrangements, we finally arrived, excited, on time.
To enter the White House you walk through an elaborate maze of pathways, being stopped and checked by Secret Service agents at multiple stops along the way. When you actually get inside the building, you have a "self-guided tour", which I assumed meant an audio tour. No - you actually just get to walk around the ground-floor reception rooms and look at the furniture and paintings. There is minimal signage. There are Secret Service agents posted in every room, however, who end-up serving as quasi-information guides, as people are always asking them questions. During the tour there are no glimpses of any more exciting parts of the White House (like the personal areas, the work areas or the grounds). The whole thing couldn't have taken more than 20 minutes and was a bit anti-climactic.
Posted by Shana at 11:44 AM