Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adventures with Alex

When I heard that the cast of my favorite show, Parks and Recreation, was going to be shooting on location in DC, I immediately knew that I had to stalk them. I decided to go down to the National Mall on my day off of work, and my wonderful friend—and fellow Parks enthusiast—Alex Kreger volunteered to join me. After a quick internet search, I found this link: It listed the shooting locations and times for the show, and since so many of them surrounded the National Mall, we figured we were golden.

We got to the Mall around noon, and as soon as we got out of the Metro station, we were surrounded by tents, trucks, equipment, and important-looking people with walkie-talkies. We thought we had struck gold, especially when we saw the trailers and the golf carts that we knew were for carrying movie stars across studio lots. We found someone with one of those exclusive walkie-talkies and asked them if there was an event going on today, to which he replied “no.” That sealed the deal for us—of course they wouldn’t want onlookers around during the shoot, so that “no” was actually a resounding “yes.” We snuck over to the nearest shady spot (I forgot to mention how beastly hot it was that day—at this point, we had probably already sweated out our body weight), sat down, and waited for the magic to happen. Two hours later, nothing changed. It didn’t stop us, however, from getting really excited any time someone talked on their walkie-talkie, or went over to the trailers, or got into a golf cart. 

At this point, we were hungry and disgusting (and I had to pee), and since Alex swore that the Museum of the American Indian had the best food on the Mall, we decided to hike over. Maybe Amy Poehler also knew that the museum had the best food, and would also be grabbing a quick bite there. On our way, however, we were distracted by the carousel that is stationed in the middle of the Mall. One glance at Alex told me that she also wanted to ride it, so we bought our tickets from the lady laughing at us through the ticket window and hopped on the carousel. I chose a stately golden horse; Alex stuck with a classic black one. We had a blast, waving at bemused passersby and practicing what we deemed “horse ballet” (which is basically moving your arms into various ballet postures while riding a horse). After the ride, we started off once again for the museum, only to be distracted by a frozen yogurt food truck! Figuring that you only live once, we grabbed some on our way to eat lunch.

We finally got to the (air-conditioned!!) museum, and made our way to the cafeteria which had, as Alex promised, a delicious selection of food (but no Amy Poehler). We finished quickly and headed back out, determined to go back to stalking (after stopping at a concession stand outside the museum to get lemonade, of course)…

But when we passed the Natural History Museum, we saw a giant banner advertising the Titanoboa, a forty-eight feet long, 2500 pound snake! We decided to head in and quickly check it out. It was insane! There was a full-scale model, which I was only too happy to get a picture with (I felt like I was right next to a basilisk!!), and a bunch of movies about the discovery and history of the Titanoboa. Who knew knowledge could be so awesome?

Then, because I had mentioned to Alex that throughout my childhood, whenever my mom brought my sister and I to DC to soak up some culture, we always ended up back at our favorite exhibit—the Gems and Minerals--we decided to take a quick stop in there. Thirty minutes later, we emerged, me with at least 25 new pictures of the same stuff that I already have about 100 sets of pictures of.

Our next stop was not, despite our best intentions, that tree that we had initially set out for, but the Imax movie theater, which was showing a film called “Flying Monsters 3D.” It was about these prehistoric animals called pterosaurs, which were basically flying reptiles. They have hands with four regular fingers, and the fifth extended into a giant wing that folded up when they walked around. Crazy, right? I’ve included pictures because my description is certainly not doing them justice.

But the movie was hardly the best part. While we were in line for tickets, we noticed a box sitting on the counter with the words “free posters” on it. As college students, Alex and I do love free things, so we starting rifling through the box of posters and found two Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One movie posters! It was by far the highlight of the day. Yes, Meredith—the poster will be hanging in our apartment in the fall. You cannot overrule this.
After the poster high and the movie, it was time for me to go (Alex was staying to meet up with friends). We glanced around at all the chaos on the National Mall once more, and we couldn’t figure out why Amy had never shown up! We saw a man with one of those all-important walkie-talkies, and decided to ask again what was going on. He told us that they were not, in fact, setting up for Amy’s arrival but for an AIDS memorial concert that was taking place the next day. Oops…

Poster in tow, I got back on the Metro, sad that I hadn’t seen Amy Poehler but knowing that I probably didn’t make the best stalker, and that I really shouldn’t be considering it as a career. Either way, we had a fun day—and we certainly didn’t walk away empty-handed!


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