Apart from the very lucky or socially well connected who sit in ticketed areas, it's a question of standing for hours on end in the company of around a million other people in near freezing conditions, watching the proceedings on one of the many giant tv screens. There's always a moment when it crosses my mind it might be a lot more comfortable to be watching at home with a glass of wine. The atmosphere is fantastic though, it's like a big multicultural citywide party. Even if, as we experienced this time, the audio and visuals waver and fluctuate in the high wind like an old am radio connection. It could have caused an angry crowd response under the circumstances but everyone behaved impeccably, straining to see, straining to hear and cheering wildly at the sight of Obama, Biden, Clinton, Beyonce, James Taylor.... anyone, really. After all, we knew it would be on CNN ad nauseam when we got back to our hotel rooms so we could find out later what they actually said. For now it was just enough to stand shoulder to shivering shoulder, being there.
A glimpse of the White House from where we were standing
After the ceremony there's quite a long break while the President and co have a beautiful lunch before the other main event, the parade. The masses who have staked out their places on the parade route since the early morning presumably eat a sandwich as they stoically wait it out. I just don't know how they endure it, I know I couldn't. No photo of them as the whole area is barricaded off. There are only a few streets open to pedestrians and a larger area is closed to traffic. It makes you think how nice it would be if the whole downtown was pedestrianized.
Buses barricading the roads. How very practical!
We walked back into the city along with a few thousand others, heading for our hotel.
Got enough buttons?
This guy was bouncing along on springy stilts.
Our cups runneth over. There was quite an orderly air about everything, even the insufficient trash cans
Now this is how I like to watch a parade......
....... while David gets back down to business as usual.
The turn-down service treat at the hotel, instead of the usual chocolate
Back outside..... Pennsylvania Ave still a car free zone
Did I mention it was cold?!
I haven't commented on the content of Barack Obama's speech, Michelle baring arms, or any of the serious content. Plenty of others will. This was just our rather low key but thoroughly enjoyable experience of an unforgettable day.