The White House

Through some connections made at Arlington National Cemetery in my time there, we were invited to the White House today to visit the West4Wing where the president, vice-president, and senior officials have their offices as well as the location of the infamous Navy Mess and the press room that is the most commonly viewed room in the White House on television. We also visited and signed out names on the walls of the old swimming pool below the press room not far from where Laura Bush signed her name in 2007. After leaving the White House we explored some of the executive office building next door including the very ornate Indian Treaty Room. Quite a number of the offices are undergoing renovation for the new staff. And they are doing considerable work on the outside of the building as well as evidenced by the scaffolding in place around the entire exterior. The press room in the White House has already been re-done and is quite cozy if small. Saw the infamous large teleprompters in their storage space.

Some things surprised me. It was very quiet. Not much going on on the weekend, though there were a few folks around.

The walls of the West4Wing are covered in pictures and paintings. Some are quite old and famous from well known authors, some from lesser known. Many of the walls are covered in large pictures of the current president and many of the tables have digital frames flashing various pictures of the current president. Outside the oval office was my favorite decoration - two live and very productive red pepper plants in decorative planters. The oval office still boasts President Bush's decor with blue gold stripped chairs and his oval office rug, though I was informed new rugs and furniture have been ordered. It was special to see the Roosevelt room has TR's medal of honor and his nobel peace prize.

The rose garden was very nice and well cultivated though smaller than I expected. We also saw the place on the patio where the "beer summit" was held last week. Again I was surprised at how humble the patio furniture was. But it is a very beautiful and peaceful area. Very little street noise there nor can you see the pedestrians that walk the perimeter outside the grounds due to the heavy vegetation. The garden would provide a nice get away or place to gather one's thoughts.

All in all it was a special treat to wrap up my DC tour in this last weekend for me to be with my family before I depart to Korea with a visit to the people's house.