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The Lincoln Memorial at dusk on the eve of July 4th

One thing people often forget about D.C. is that we are part of the South, and on top of that we are built on top of a swamp, which basically means that by mid-June the weather is sticky, humid, and unbearably hot. This Fourth of July week with the heat index well over 100 degrees, we had the unlucky situation to have a severe thunderstorm that knocked out the power in the area. The District only had power outages for a day, but many of suburbs had power out for several.

So this Fourth of July was especially filled with kiddie pools, outdoor grilling, and couch crashing. What would you do without AC in temperatures like this? People opened their homes to their friends and shared. It felt very appropriate to have a small disaster strike right before D.C.’s biggest day of the year, forcing us to make the best of what we have and rely on friends for the rest.

As my “pay off my car trouble” extra summer job, I’ve been giving tours of D.C. part time, which has allowed me to see both the local and tourist sides of the District as it prepares for Independence Day. Many of my friends went to the National Mall to see the fireworks. Personally I think they are crazy; besides the fact that we have record-breaking heat, this year the National Mall is under construction, leaving less room than normal to cram everyone in. Plus, I happened to be giving a tour the evening before and saw a portion of the dress-rehearsal concert at the Captiol. Here’s a few things I saw on my tour:

The steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Cannons in front of the Capitol getting in some practice fire before the big show

EEOB (Veep’s office building), all decked out for the holiday

On the Fourth, I opted to hang out at a barbeque and watch the fireworks from a neighborhood park in Columbia Heights with the locals.

The best part of the night was when I got back to my neighborhood. Every block had its own set of local dudes setting off fireworks. As I biked from block to block, it really was like bombs exploding on every side of me for about two hours straight. I parked my bike in front of my place and watched as bottle rockets flew out of the alley beside me. In my roommate’s words, “That’s what the ‘hood do.”

Happy Holidays D.C.

Outside my house in Bloomingdale/Shaw