In gentler times i remember driving around white house perimeter and was totally pleased and surprised to see that how easy access and visible house of people of America for the president (white house) was. Now there are all these barricades and many streets are closed to the traffic for safety reason.
Other thing i clearly remember is that I had seen Mona Lisa the unimpressive famous picture of a smirking beauty at the Louve( french national museum in Paris).I remember paying equal to $8 for the privilege.For a 20 year old with no sense of history of art it was torture.Again how anybody could visit the Paris and not visit the Louve.Without proper guidance i was lost like a kid in a library and missed all the classics and only saw the pictures may be looked at the picture and was surprised that full frontal nudity could be shown in the national museum.Now i know that old temples of Khujrao depict complete scenes of human copulation.
Let me go back to my original thought Yes i was Talking about Mona Lisa .In Paris it was set quite back(25feet) and may be about 10 feet above the eye level.So one had to look up to it.In Smithsonian(United states of America's national Museum initially built by generous donation of Mr Smithson,an Englishman, gift to people of America) it was set about 10 feet away from the viewer and the bottom of the frame was in line with eye of the viewer.I was impressed .It was even more impressive that whole thing(Smithsonian and all exhibits except special shows and 3d or special effect films)is free to the public.Sorry it is paid for by tax payer dollars and donations.Another thing i noticed was that food in the mueum was quite inexpensive.
Other difference was i could take what ever time i needed at the Louve and there was a line at Smithsonian for viewing of Mona Lisa and had may be couple of minutes to view it close and personal way.
other thing I noticed was ghettos of DC which were almost of in shadow of the white house .For a kid who was not yet American it did not make any sense and today as a almost 60 year old American it does not make any sense either.