How could I miss the opportunity to visit the most famed house in the world
Quite like the Mughal Gardens of President’s House in New Delhi, White House opens up its premises to general public for 2 days every year, during the spring season (& at times in fall season too, depending upon security logistics). It was 13th April 2013 and I woke up at 4:30 AM to get ready, park my car at Vienna Metro Station & head towards Federal Triangle Metro Station on Orange Line. I was surprised to see such a huge crowd, waiting for ‘the passes’ that were to be distributed from 6:30 AM, only while the stock lasts. After waiting for about 45 minutes at The Ellipse Visitor Center, when I got one, there were no limits to my thrill. I wanted to be the first visitor to enter through the gates but there were far
too many enthusiasts were out there, to beat me in the race.
So instead, I waited for the last call for the day to be made at the gates & made sure I
was the last one to enter. Making sure that my hair is all set for a memorable picture I walked towards the gate with an incredible feeling inside. It was almost 4 PM when they slammed the doors, right behind me. When I turned around and saw something that took my breath away – the famous white façade. Embellished with Tulips and other spring flowers, the walkway to the Doorbell seemed too short. I slowed down my pace and paid attention to the orchestra playing music to welcome our visit. Ahhmm… yes it did make me feel special!
I looked at all other tourists & selected one with the biggest DSLR camera in hand, just to make sure that I don’t risk this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to have a brilliant click. It was a feeling filled with vanity at moments, when I saw hundreds of people taking pictures from the outside, who unfortunately couldn’t get in. The self-guided tour took me past the fountain to the President’s own croft surrounded by the children’s play area. It would be inapt to admit that for once I felt if I could be a child once again & get a chance to play in those gardens. Having spent a good 1 hour wandering in the premises, and reading through the material they gave us at the entrance, I walked out from the other gate, which was blown up in the 2013 Hollywood flick ‘White House Down’.
It was time to replenish the burnt calories & nothing could beat my favorite Falafel platter on H-street. I turned right, onto Pennsylvania Avenue to complete the ‘Parikrama’ (Vedic for: walking the circumference) around the building and paid gratitude to my camera with a smile – for keeping me company.