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Unread 27 Aug 18, 06:16 PM  
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CrispyA
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Expedition East Coast: Day 5 Dentist drama, Washington Mall, The White House and Margaritas

23 July 2018

Today was a touch dramatic - to begin with anyway!

Hannah had been saying that her throat was sore and we had assumed it was a something she must have picked up and gave her paracetamol. It wasn't getting any better though and she was now having trouble swallowing and told us that she'd been up in the night crying with pain. She had realised that the pain was coming from her back teeth and we started to realise it was a tooth problem rather than a bit of a cold.

As it wasn't getting any better and the painkillers weren't working, I was starting to get worried. After Washington, we were going to be doing some long drives and one night stops, followed by 4 days in a cabin in the woods in Maine and none of these places sounded ideal for dental issues, particularly if it suddenly got worse.

So after another bad night for Hannah, I gave our insurers a ring and they told me that it was okay to find our own dentist and that they would cover emergency treatment and pain relief up to 350. I didn't really know where to start but google found a dentist very near to the hotel and I messaged them as I couldn't see a phone in the room. We messaged back and forth and they told me they would see if they could help and get back to me.

In the meantime, Paul was breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of US dental bills but we also realised that we couldn't just leave Hannah in pain for weeks, especially as it might get worse and lead to infections etc.

We got dressed and then the room phone rang - I found it by following the sound (!) and it was the dentist, telling us we could be seen in about 20 minutes. Hurrah!

So we left the boys in the room and walked to the Alexandria Old Town dentist which was only about 10 minutes away. They were very nice but the amount of paperwork was eye opening, especially as most of it covered insurance details. Makes you appreciate the NHS so much more! We explained that we were only covered for emergency treatment/pain relief and they were very understanding.

The dentist, who was very lovely and reminded us of the farmer from Babe, had a good look at Hannah and took an x-ray before explaining that the problem was wisdom teeth. One was stuck and this was causing the gum above it become inflamed and with the tooth above it being quite jagged, every time she closed her mouth, the gum was getting stabbed by the tooth. No wonder she was in pain. He said that the tooth would have to come out but for now he would file the top tooth to stop the damage.

It was all done quite quickly and I settled up ($400) before we headed back to the hotel. It wasn't how anybody wanted to start their day but it was the only thing we could do and fortunately, the treatment did the trick and Hannah was a lot more comfortable for the rest of the trip. (Insurance claim is in and we are waiting . . .)

We were later than we had planned in setting off but at least everyone was now fully fit. We got coffees from the lobby and walked to the metro station which took about 20 minutes, keeping an eye out for somewhere to get breakfast.

There was a Dunkin Donuts so Evan and I called in for breakfast sandwiches which turned out to be a real mistake. The sandwich preparers seemed never to have done such a thing before and made a complete mess of them and dropped items on the floor before proceeding to remake them all. I have never known such ineptitude! It must have taken about 15 minutes for something that you usually get straight away in somewhere like McDonalds - it wasn't fun and although they tasted okay, they really weren't worth the wait!

We finally got to the Metro station and mindful of the shenanigans in New York, made straight for the attendant to ask him to help us with the tickets. He was really helpful, taking us over the machines and making sure we had the right tickets, loaded with with the right amount of money.

We were quite impressed with the Washington system - the trains were much more comfortable and the tickets much easier to use and the maps were very straightforward. Plus the stations were much nicer - reminding us of a Disney ride as we got off the train at the Washington Mall.

The rain had eased off and it was quite warm when we got there. We had thought about the museums but decided to make the most of the lack of rain and explore the monuments as they are mostly outside.

The Mall was such a contrast to New York - open air and space! We immediately knew we were going to like it here much better.



Unfortunately the Washington Monument was closed for refurbishment but everywhere else was open. We headed for the Lincoln memorial which was at the far end of the Mall, calling at the various monuments on the way.

The Second World War memorial is huge, with a lovely pool and fountain in the middle. It is sombre and very peaceful and although there were quite a few people there, it didn't feel too crowded.



We looked towards the Lincoln Memorial across the reflecting pool, remembering the scene from Forrest Gump where Forrest and Jenny wade towards each other.





We spent some time at the Martin Luther King memorial which is really well done. We had visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis last year and so we had learned a lot about him. There are some really powerful quotations on the walls around and then a huge statue - the Stone of Hope, based on the "I have a dream" speech: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."





The Korean War memorial is also very well done, with the soldiers walking through the foliage.



Then we got to the Lincoln memorial which is quite imposing. I don't know a huge amount about Lincoln (guess we really should watch the movie) but we were fascinated by the speech extracts on the wall.



After Lincoln we walked to the Vietnam memorial - the sheer number of names on the walls is quite sobering.

By this time, we were pretty hungry, so headed away from the Mall to find something to eat, eventually finding a Panera Bread which was just what we needed. It was nice to have a change from fast food and to eat some vegetables!

We headed back towards the White House and were just about to get a good look at it, when a load of cops appeared and started ordering everyone to get across the road. They set up a cordon and cleared the whole road of people. We assumed that Donald was on his way back and thought we may as well hang around for a little while.

We had a good look at the building from across the road, noting the sniper on the roof and the protesters with camp set up opposite.



We waited for a while, then decided we couldn't really be bothered to wait any longer. We think the man is a complete idiot and took this picture to demonstrate how we feel about the current White House incumbent.



Having had enough of waiting for Donald, we had a nice walk back to the Mall before catching the Metro back to Alexandria and managing to time it right to catch the free trolley which dropped us by our hotel.

The Alexandrian has a pool so we all made the most of an opportunity to swim before getting ready to meet Alex. She had come over in an Uber so we headed to Don Tacos where we had eaten the day before, in order to make the most of half price margaritas!

We had a really lovely evening, drinking bargain margaritas and eating really lovely food. I wish we'd taken some pictures but I guess we were enjoying ourselves too much! It was great to chat with Alex and to set the world to rights. We were talking about gun control and the server joined in and it was refreshing to chat to people with a much more liberal outlook on life than we were used to in the US. It was such a contrast to being in Tennessee the year before - there are lots of things to love about the South but politically, I couldn't live there.
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Unread 27 Aug 18, 08:29 PM  
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Melbatb
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Poor Hannah! Glad at least you got it fixed in the short term (and I hope she has managed to get it definitively fixed now - tooth pain is no fun )

Looks like you had a great day! I always think of Forrest Gump when I see the Washington monuments!
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Unread 28 Aug 18, 07:33 AM  
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katiebaz
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Poor Hannah and glad you got her tooth sorted and fingers crossed the insurance company pay up quickly.

We loved Washington too, and really enjoyed the seeing the iconic monuments and the sense of space when walking around. The metro is also so much easier to use than New York. Also, bargain margaritas sound awesome too.

Edited at 06:57 AM.
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Unread 29 Aug 18, 10:48 PM  
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disney owl
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glad the dentist sorted out Hannah's pain
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Unread 31 Aug 18, 10:51 AM  
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jocat
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After a bad start for Hannah, it looks like the rest of the day was lovely.
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Unread 13 Sep 18, 08:32 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Poor Hannah! Glad at least you got it fixed in the short term (and I hope she has managed to get it definitively fixed now - tooth pain is no fun )

Looks like you had a great day! I always think of Forrest Gump when I see the Washington monuments!
The offending tooth has now been removed and nobody was sad to see the back of it! It was a great day and the Mall was fab.

Originally Posted by katiebaz View Post
Poor Hannah and glad you got her tooth sorted and fingers crossed the insurance company pay up quickly.

We loved Washington too, and really enjoyed the seeing the iconic monuments and the sense of space when walking around. The metro is also so much easier to use than New York. Also, bargain margaritas sound awesome too.
Tooth is now gone but we're still waiting on the insurance . .

The sense of space was one of the best things about it.

Originally Posted by disney owl View Post
glad the dentist sorted out Hannah's pain
Such a relief!

Originally Posted by jocat View Post
After a bad start for Hannah, it looks like the rest of the day was lovely.
It really was, thanks
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Unread 30 Sep 18, 05:15 PM  
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i love jack
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$400 yikes! But best to get it sorted.
Looks an interesting day and a lovely end
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Time to start planning
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Unread 30 Sep 18, 06:31 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by i love jack View Post
$400 yikes! But best to get it sorted.
Looks an interesting day and a lovely end
It was quite eye-watering but for the insurance have now paid up which was a relief
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