Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 6, July 6

I know I am a little behind in my vacation updates, things are a little busy for me as I have been getting ready for a week long trip with my girlfriends Denise and Marissa for a scrapbooking week at the cottage. Lots of photo editing, sorting through supplies and packing as light as I a possibly can. Which is actually a massive feat for me, since I am NOT a light packer. We will be leaving first thing tomorrow morning, and I am not sure if there is internet up there or not. Probably not. So I will probably be offline for a week, which is probably a good thing, so I can focus on getting as many pages done as possible.

Back to our vacation. This day was Spy Museum day. Unfortunately no pictures were allowed inside the museum, so what pictures I have here are some stock photos I found online.

If you ever get to D.C. I highly recommend the Spy Museum. From the outside it didn't look too big, and there was restaurant attached as well as a large gift shop. The museum can hold so many people at a time so we were given tickets for a certain time block. We thought we would poke around for a couple of hours and go explore some more of the area. We ended up staying there the whole day. There was so much to see and do.

After an elevator ride up , they started us in a "briefing room" where on different placards around the room are secret identities. We were to pick one, and memorize the information on that particular identity. After about 5 minutes we were "released" into the main part of the museum. It was impressive and very interactive. There was a computer station where we went with our memorized secret identity information to get our missions. It was to give the visitors a feel of what it is like to be a spy.

The museum itself was fairly interactive. We learned the various techniques about how they "bug" places. Makes you wonder how private conversations in your home really are. Learned about the different spies throughout history. One station had us looking at radar images and we had to find objects such as fighter jets etc in China, and in Afghanistan looking for encampments and caves.

The museum was filled with hundreds of artifacts such as this car from one of the James Bond movies, it was part of the exhibit on some of the ways agencies tweak vehicles and boats etc. for their purposes.

I loved this, a one shot gun disguised as a lipstick. I want one.

This was in the cold war area, describing what was going on in espionage in the 50's and 60's, especially Berlin. They had a replica of the tunnel that the West built under the Berlin wall to spy on east Berlin, apparently East Berlin knew about it, but let them dig anyway. And then used it as a media attack on how evil the west was.

There brief articles on the many different spies from the era, such as various husband and wife teams who were parents and spies. Including one poor woman who was living with her husband in East Germany, she was a spy for the west, and someone turned her in and she was imprisoned for a number of years. She was eventually released, the Berlin Wall fell, and she was elected to political office. One of the first things she did was have her and other files unsealed, to see what East Germany had on her. Turns out her husband was the one who turned in her. She filed for divorce the day after finding out. Unfortunately I don't remember her name and I can't find anything in Google about it.

And here is one of the "spy pigeons" trained to carry cameras.

The exhibits were amazing, and so much to take in. Learned about how a double agent in Spain by the name of Joan Pujol Garcia code name: Garbo; misled the Nazis in regards to D-day. Fed them false information saying the allies were landing at another set of beaches further south. The allies hired Hollywood to make inflatable tanks, house etc. so it look like a mass invasion was happening, which caused the Nazis to divert most of their troops further south and thus allowing the true location of the allied landings to have minimal opposition from Nazi troops.

At the end, was another computer station to complete our secret identities "missions". Unfortunately for me, my middle aged brain, mixed in with information overload and the burger from the cafe wasn't sitting well in my stomach, I bombed my mission. Basically I would make a terrible spy. Laura on the other hand, passed with flying colors. I wonder if I should be concerned.

So much to see and do, and not enough time. The down side of visiting the spy museum is the thought that this is information that we were allowed to know. What else is out there that we don't know. Freaky!!!

Afterwards, Daniel bought some mustaches to help him with his disguise. Do you think it worked?

After visiting the museum, we decided to head to the capital building first before heading to dinner. On the way we stumbled up the Naval Memorial. It was not one we had heard of in our research of what to see and do in D.C. The outdoor memorial has a sea map of the world as the centre surrounded by various bronze statutes and reliefs, fountain pools, and waterfalls. It was a hidden gem.

Loved this one statue, called "The Lone Sailor".

A close up of some of the reliefs surrounding the plaza.

We had to take a picture of the Canadian Embassy. Dared the kids to run up to the embassy like someone was chasing them, saying "you will never catch me, never!!!" They didn't go for it. LOL

The Capital building.

Memorial to General Grant. Its funny, all these statues as memorials to great individuals in history, and they all have pigeons sitting on their heads pooping on them. I don't think this is what they had in mind. LOL

On either side of General Grant are statues commemorating both the Union and Confederate side of the civil war.

Dinner at the Elephant and Castle, yummy. And back to our hotel to rest up for the next day's adventure. Another Smithsonian museum. Stayed tuned, and be patient. :)

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