Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cherry Blossom Festival

We've said it before and we'll say it again. Be a tourist in your home town.

Look, we understand all of the annoyances of touristy places. For us, living around the corner from a place called "Souvenir City" is certainly a constant reminder. But if something is so great that it attracts hundreds of thousands to your city every year, it seems that you should just bite the bullet and see it for yourself. Otherwise you're wasting your time and should move to a place that no one wants to visit...

For most Washington attractions, locals have the opportunity to see them when the crowds are the lowest. Not so with the annual 2 week bloom of the cherry blossoms. So to all the DC residents out there, congratulations, you survived the Cherry Blossom Festival. At no time is it harder to throw yourself among the masses than these past two weeks. But in case you missed the previous rant, it's worth the trouble.

We recently wrote about the Kite Festival. Now on to the main event, where people from every corner of the Earth jostle for position along the Tidal Basin to take the same perfectly framed picture... Or hope to show off their artistic prowess (and a thousand pounds of photography equipment) with a legion of other dreary eyed paparazzi wannabes.

Whatever your stlye, get out to see the cherry blossoms. Yes it is crowded and annoying and too hot or too cold or whatever. But the fact of the matter is that this is a truly unique event that causes people to plan vacations just to experience it. We lucky few that are just a Metro ride away would be foolish not to enjoy it.

But for all the lecturing, I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I grew up in LA. I even dabbled in modeling and acting as a child, and later, worked in the film industry for 4 years. You would think that I've seen all the famous sets and locations at the very least. You would be wrong. Why? Because that's something that tourists do. It's overcrowded and overpriced. Sound familiar? Lousy excuse if you ask me...

Now that we are living in DC, we have vowed not to miss the opportunities at our doorstep. So with that in mind, we dragged our butts out of bed at 6am on a Saturday morning to see the famous Japanese cherry blossoms at dawn. Sure we'd seen them before. In fact, we've seen them every year that we've lived here and often times, on multiple occasions. Still, we never attended the tidal basin's sunrise service.

We soon learned that this was not a unique idea. And you know why? Because it is a great idea. A great idea. The soft morning light on the pink-white blossoms is gorgeous. But nothing I can say will do it justice. All I can do is encourage you to see it for yourself.

J Says

I can't say I was completely thrilled with the idea of waking up at 6am on Saturday to see the cherry blossoms that I've seen tons of times. But, not wanting to be the party pooper, I rolled out of bed and tagged along as B tested out his new camera.

I have to admit that sunrise over the blossoms was completely incredible. It was beautiful in a way that I can't describe. I even managed to find my own peaceful spot on a rock near the FDR memorial where I just sat with the sun on my face and soaked it all in.

One of my favorite parts of this experience was the people watching. Before we arrived, I made a little bet with B that we'd spot at least 4 couples taking engagement photos. I saw 4 couples in the first 10 minutes! I giggled as they all struggled to get into the classic engagement photo poses while hoardes of giant-camera toting cherry blossom viewers struggled to get the perfect sunrise shot. It was hilarious and endearing at the same time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: DC is the BEST for people watching. Get out there!

1 comment:

Karena said...

Did you guys get a chance to wander around the Sakura Matsuri Street Festival? I missed it this year b/c I was working but there's always fun street food. The main strip along Pennsylvania is kinda lame (really, lo mein at a Japanese festival?), but the side streets are legit with food from Matuba and there's a place that serves takoyaki. *sigh* I miss DC already!