What is Olympia

September 23, 2009

That would be the Jeopardy answer to “The Capital of the State of Washington.” I have to say, I’m not captivated by politics (but I have big place in my heart for Mr. O) or history in general. So when driving back from Lake Quinault recently my boyfriend asked how I felt about touring the Capital, and I (while distracted) said, “sure, why not?” we dove across 4 lanes of traffic to make the exit and landed smack in the middle of factoid land. I was nervous.

My family could tell you never ending stories about how much I despise tourist traps and crowds. That is my least favorite part of traveling. All those people with fanny packs, stopping to stare at nothing in particular in the middle of pedestrian walkways… don’t get me started. Luckily we went on a Monday so the place was pretty empty.

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Sean is a bit of a nerd (an adorable nerd) and he absolutely loves factoids. So at the capital when we walked in the legislative building and a sweet little lady asked if we wanted to join the tour that was just starting, he was grinning ear to ear. I was scared we wouldn’t be able to leave or that they were going to put some sort of tracking device on us (this stems from a tour of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City with my family when I was a teenager… a funny story that I can tell you some other time).

The interior of these buildings is very grand. I became the tourist stopping to stare with my mouth agape. Things I heard: 35 tons of marble from Italy , Germany, France and Alaska. The largest collection of Tiffany lamps in the world. Sean telling the sweet little tour guide that George Washington’s bronze bust had a shiny nose because he was in fact Ruldolph. Par for the course…

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I saw conservatory buildings in the distance and as we closed in, I saw a sign saying they were closed indefinitely. My mood soured. How can the Capital not have a conservatory or formal garden? I think we need to get that added to the next ballot.

Did you know you are allowed to sit in on Supreme Court hearings? Did you also know that when you open the door during a hearing and every head in the room (attached to a body in a suit) turns to look at you when you are dressed every bit the part of a tourist (sans fanny pack) that it is kind of embarrassing? I ran away and left Sean standing there and he, of course, smiled and waved. He’s so nice.

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All in all, it was fun to walk around the Capital. I picked up a few facts to throw around at dinner parties and a better understanding of how the people I help elect work. They have assigned seats like in grade school with slightly more formal desks. Cute.

hori hori dig dig!

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