Sunday, July 23, 2006

More mails

(some mails may be repeated)

>> 2006072115.txt
Hi All!

I'm writing this mail on a Peter Pan bus from New York to Washington DC
(no internet connection here, writing it offline). This morning I woke up at
6:45 at the dorm in Boston University. I took the T (Mass. Transport) to
South Station, where I bought a ticket to Washington DC for $71. I arrived
there at about 7:45 and the bus left at 8:00, but I still managed to buy
breakfast at McDonald's in the station.
There is no direct bus line from Boston to DC, so I had to change busses at
New York. Upon arriving at New York the bus passed through the Bronx,
Harlem, 5th ave., Colombus st., and near Central Park. The bus terminal
itself is located near Lincoln tunnel. I don't exacly know what all these
names mean, but I guess you can search for them on the web.

I had a very short layover in NY, where I bought myself lunch at the diner
in the terminal. It was very strange. They spoke a language somewhat similar
to English, but not quite. I don't like New Yorkers. Anyway, after buying
lunch I rushed to board the bus to DC, which I am on now. There was a
beautiful view of the city from the bus (though I didn't film it because I
was eating my lunch). The bus passed by Newark airport, and I think we're
now in Pensilvania. The bus now went on a bridge over a broad lake or river.
I'm not sure where we are exactly, but it's about 2 hours from New York
(about halfway to DC). After the bridge, we just entered Delaware ("The
first state"). The bus has now parked. I think the driver has changed tapes
in the VCR that is inside the bus and went to take a break. During the ride
there was a lame movie on TV screens inside the bus, but thankfully it's now
over. The driver has now restarted the VCR, and I hope the next movie will
be better.

I hope I'll find free wireless access in DC so I can send you this mail
(if you're getting this - I guess I did). Oh, there are many photos from NY
and the bus ride, and some from Boston, that I will upload too (I think it's

See you all next week,

>> 2006072119.txt
Hi All!

I'm writing this mail at the Washington memorial at Washington, DC. I have
arrived safely to DC and took a cab to the hostel. The hostel is OK, though
there is no wireless internet there. I got a bed, linen and a locker, and
they will pay for the cab as well. I arrived at about 18:30, so I took a bus
to the white house (it's on the same street - 16th street) and am now
walking around "the mall", where all the important buildings are: Wash.
memorial, Lincoln memorial, US Capitol, White House, etc. Great place to
drop a bomb ;). [Note to NSA: i'm just kidding here]. Speaking of NSA, their
HQ is close by. I might go visit there as well later this week.

As I arrived quite late, all the buildings here are already closed. The
weather is fine, though a bit foggy. Temperature is good and no rain,
although there was rain on the bus ride here, and rain is forecasted for the
rest of the week.

In the hostel I met two German girls from Hamburg who share the room with
me, though they are leaving tomorrow. I guess I'll meet the others later.
There is no wireless internet access there, though I can use their machine
for $0.10/min. Also, there's no wireless nets here in the Wash. Memorial.
More correctly, there are nets but these are either encrypted or too weak.

There is currently a protest going on by the Washington Memorial by some
Falun Dafa people (Chinese people who stand in strange ways to protest
something). They're just sitting there with yellow shirts handing out
pamphlets. Very weird.

I hope I could actually send you these mails (if you get this, it means
I found a way).

Bye for now,

>> 2006072120.txt
Hi all again!
It's me, searching for wifi at the Lincoln Memorial (there is none). I
walked across the reflecting pool (it really is reflecting when you reach
the end), and arrived at the Lincoln Memorial, which includes a copy of the
Gettysburg address and other stuff from American history. The airport is
really closeby. Planes in almost full-size are flying around here all the
time. This is good, since I'm departing from this aiport as well.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you about what I did on the bus rides here. I
tried to see how many different states' license plates I can find on cars on
the road. I saw cars from Florida, New Jersey, New York, Penn., Mass., South
Caroilna, Tenesee, Michigan, Illinois, Maine, and even one from Rhode
Island. But, the funniest were the plates from Washington DC, which contain
the catch phrase "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION", and I thought I just
left a town where they made a tea party for that... (the catchphrase refers
to the fact that DC has no seats in the senate, where there are two per
state, as if I recall cannot participate in presidential elections).

More updates to come, mails will actually be sent only when I reach


>> 2006072211.txt
Hi all!
I'm writing this mail in front of the American History Museum of the
Smithsonian. I have just completed the highlights tour of the museum, and
plan to return back in for a more through visit.
Yesterday night I returned back to the place I know I could catch a bus to
the hostel. On the way, I searched for wifi, and even found a weak signal,
but enough to upload my previous mails, but I didn't manage to actually send
them. I will try to send these mails if/when I have a cafe or wifi
connection (if you get this mail, it means I found a wifi connection). A
small hint: the filenames of the mails I send you encode the date and time I
wrote the mail, in local time (add 7 hours for Israel time).
At the hostel I showered and went to sleep. There are no laundry machines
in the hostel but there are some closeby. I'll do the laundry tonight or
tomorrow morning.
It's quite hard to get reliable information in this city. From a short
login to the Internet yesterday night, I found out that there is a $11
weekly ticket for the busses (compare to $3 day ticket and $1.25 single
ticket). I decided I'll buy one, but it turns out its sold only in
supermarkets, and is valid Sun thru Sat. In conclusion, I bought a day
ticket for today (Sat) and a week pass for next week, so I'm done worrying
about bus tickets.
On the internet, I also printed a list of wifi hotspots. There should be
one near the library of Congress, and I plan going there later today and
send the mails.
Today, I went to the White House information center and got a map, and
list of attractions. It turns out that to visit the Wash. Memorial or
Congress you need to come very very early and get a free ticket. As I wake
up quite early here, I do plan to do so in one of the next days. Then, I
went along in the direction of the Congress, and saw the American Histroy
museum of the Smithsonian.
The tour in the American History museum just started as I came in and was
very interesting. I will now re-enter the museum and tour it myself more
throughly. One nice thing that I saw here is Stanley - the winning robot
vehicle from the DARPA grand challenge. It was really interesting to see it
now after hearing all the lectures about the technonogy behind it.
Tell me about the situation at home (if you haven't done so). I'm sorry
for not staying in touch. I will when I can.


>> 2006072219.txt
Hi all!
I've just finished my visit in the Natural History Museum of the
Smithsonian institute. Didn't take too much pictures though. One of the main
attractions in this museum is the Hope Diamond which is on display there,
and a beatiful exhibit on mamals.

I also bought 3 tickes to the IMAX (1 today, 2 tomorrow) - $7 per ticket.
They present brand new films in 3D (not the ancient ones they show in
Eilat). Today I've seen a film about marine biology, and tomorrow I'm going
to see one about Mars exploration rovers and one about the moon. The
space-related films are shown in the IMAX in the Air and Space museum, which
I intend to visit tomorrow.

Now I'm sitting on a bench in the National Mall (and no - it's not a real
mall, there are no shops here, just grass and some pathways). You can find
it on Google maps (it's just East of the Washington Monument).

All in all, today was a fun day. I hope tomorrow will be fun as well. You
didn't get any of these e-mails yet, as I haven't found good wifi yet. There
should be wifi at Capitol Hill, which I am heading for now.


>> 2006072307.txt
Hi all!
Another update from me in DC... After writing my last mail, I did go to
capitol hill, however I did not find a wireless network there. What did find
me was rain. A lot of rain. I hid under the roof of the Library of Congress,
until I finally went out (in the pouring rain) to search for a bus back to
the hostel. I do not have a map of bus lines, so I had to guess. I finally
catched a bus near the National Archives, and then changed busses at I&15th
I didn't have a chance to eat dinner, so I went out to find a grocery
store and bought chips there and coke (total $5). I have depleted all my
clothes reserves, so I went out this morning at 6:30 AM to a laundry center
a few blocks from the hostel, which is where I am now. Detergent cost 50c,
laundry machine use $2, and dryer use 75c for 30min.
Plan for later today: return to hostel, have breakfast, go to Air&Space
museum, visit, watch IMAX films, enjoy self.
Oh, by the way, the hostel breakfast consists of toast and butter, and you
need to make it yourself and wash your dishes.
I forgot to say: Yesterday I went online from the hostel, sent you the
mails I have already uploaded, printed a bus map of DC, and check my mail.
It turns out UMich will be happy to fund me lunch and a day at a hotel near
Ann Arbor. Many students have submitted the project early, but I cannot
start checking it without a good Internet connection.

That's all for now,

>> 2006072319.txt
Hi Again!
I'm writing you now sitting in front of the National Archives of the
United States of America. The archives contain an exhibit of the key
documents in American history - the declaration of independence, the
constitution, and the bill of rights.
But, let me restart in chronologial order. After finishing my laundry and
taking a shower, I went on to the National Air & Space Museum of the
Smithsonian institution. I arrived just in time for a Paper Planes demo and
then went on to watch the an IMAX 3D film about the Moon (from 2004). Then I
went on to see the very interesting galleries about the history aviation and
space flight. Particularly interesting, was the Wrights' original flying
machine, a real lunar lander, and Skylab - a real space station.
After a tour of part of the galleries, I went on to watch a second IMAX
film, this time about the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity (which, btw,
are still active. I met someone from JPL at AAAI who confirmed that). The
footage was beautiful, though I didn't learn much, as I've following the
news about these rovers. The movie was released in 2006, BTW.
I concluded my visit to the museum only when it closed at 17:30. I arrived
at 10:00, and still haven't seen a Planetarium show (though I think I'll
miss that) and a part of one exhibit. I guess I will not return to this
museum, but maybe I will - it's free.
After being kicked out of the museum, I went on to the National Archives
building, which to my astonishment was still open (until 21:00!). In the
national archives there was a special exhibit about eyewitness reports
(boring), the rotunda with all the important documents I mentioned above,
and a very interesting exhibition about archival works in general and the
scope of the national archives, including exhibits from the archives of
Now I'm heading back to the hostel, maybe I'll buy some food on the way.
I will also continue my quest for wifi. If I do find it, you'll be the first
to know (and will be reading this message).


This message was sent by Alon Altman ( ICQ:1366540
GPG public key at
Key fingerprint = A670 6C81 19D3 3773 3627 DE14 B44A 50A3 FE06 7F24
-=[ Random Fortune ]=-
BOFH excuse #283:

Lawn mower blade in your fan need sharpening

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