Friday, April 2, 2010
Soooo Many People...
The Cherry Blossom Festival is here, in full force with all the thousands of visitors filling the mall and surrounding area, and making it quite challenging to get around. There are people everywhere! I would guess that there were more than 200,000 people in the park today alone. The crowd never stopped the entire day. I spent a good portion of it attempting to educate visitors about why they needed to not climb in trees and pick cherry blossoms, pulling people out of trees, and confiscating blossoms again and again. Very tiring! It was a longggg day! And it is going to pale in comparison to what will be coming tomorrow! This has already been a long week for me, as I worked 11 official extra hours of overtime and spent more of my own time remaining on the mall.
It began a week ago when I spent the day as Paddles the beaver, posing for pictures and receiving hugs all day long! I was the recipient of more hugs from cute girls that one day than in the rest of my life combined. Too bad none of them knew it was me in the beaver suit!
When I worked overtime on Tuesday it was actually fairly quiet so I was able to walk along the tidal basin, talking to visitors and taking some pictures of the blossoms myself.
On my one day off I joined friends in traversing the Maryland side of Great Falls on the Billy Goat Trail, enjoying the beauty of the raging Potomac River and surrounding woods. On Thursday I worked at the Jefferson Memorial and saw more visitors in that single day than every other time I have worked there added together. These visitors included a supreme court justice, which was somewhat exciting, though I only saw her from a distance. I gave four official talks that day, each 30-40 minutes long, to groups of 25-30 every time, which is highly unusual for that location!
I received numerous compliments after these talks, which always feels validating and makes me want to do the best I can to represent these sites to the visitors. One comment in particular made my day. An Australian family stuck with me for the entire 35 minute talk, thanked me, and walked out of the chamber. I remained, speaking to other visitors, and about five minutes later the father came back in and asked me if I had written that talk myself, or if it was something that I had only given. When I told him that I had, in fact, come up with the talk on my own, he preceded to tell me that it was the best talk/presentation that he had ever heard. Now that's a good way to keep me motivated!
Now I enter into Easter weekend. I will be working eleven hours each of the next four days including Easter Sunday. Even so I plan to attend a sunrise service at the Lincoln Memorial in celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Hopefully I will survive the rest of the festival and make it to next Saturday (April 10) when I will, once again, portray Paddles, this time in the Cherry Blossom Parade!