Monday, January 5, 2009

Inauguration countdown

                                A new bric-a-Barack shop
                              An ad in a yoga shop window
                               The White House grandstand 

Major excitement in DC this weekend with the Obamas arriving in town. There are still 16 days until I-day (you can count them down on a special Obama advent calender that doubles up as an Inauguration countdown if you like) but the First Family had to get here early because term time starts on Monday for Malia and Sasha. Now there are two girls who are going to have their pick of the school cafeteria come lunchtime tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, Daddy O will have his head down preparing for the big day, much like the rest of the city, which has gone into overdrive readying itself for the presidential swearing-in. Entrepreneurial types are grabbing every opportunity to cash in on Obamamania. Inauguration souvenir shops have sprung up all over the city selling various bits of bric-a-Barack and today we spotted some guys flogging red, white and blue "change" wristbands at a local flea market. Check out the "Ombama" ad that the yoga-to-athletics store Lululemon had hanging in its window. 

On 20 January, the place to be is Pennsylvania Avenue, which connects the Capitol to the White House. The route is symbolic as it will be Obama's first trip as President. Grandstands already line most of the wide road although all the bigwigs will have prime viewing from special stands being built outside the back of the White House itself, pictured above. 

It's less clear how Louis and I will manage to catch a glimpse of the action. I hardly fancy camping out the night before, plus strollers practically top a list of banned items (along with firearms, rucksacks and, if you're sitting in a ticketed area, umbrellas. I'm guessing diaper bags will also be unpopular). Still, we're determined to soak it all up somehow (literally if it's anything like as wet as it was on election day). No sign of a special babies' inaugural ball, although there is a children's one on the Sunday before at the Washington Historical Society featuring, among other things, a special display of how earlier presidents helped the DC kiddies. We'll have to check it out.  

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