Gary Tuchman | BIO
The lack of panic, or even concern when people started getting squeezed tightly by throngs of other people on narrow streets as they tried to get closer to the Capitol to view the Inauguration.
The immense number of children, the elderly, and the disabled dealing with the mass crowds and the cold to be part of history. (How many more people would attend inaugurations if they were held in May?!)
The respectful, utter quiet during portions of the ceremony. Hearing nothing from 1.8 million or so people is awe inspiring.
4. Hearing some inaugural attendees start singing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye" when they saw George Bush on the Jumbotron. Pretty uncool, whatever your political feelings.
The plethora of pitiful Presidential potpourri sold on the streets; from questionably edible Obama candy bars to Obama condoms.
If you think the fur industry is suffering, you would have thought differently after hanging out in Washington the last few days. Democrats may think they're more environmentally aware than Republicans, but the huge number of fur coats among women and men was notable. Some of the coats were so extravagant that if the people wearing them wandered into the woods, they might have been at risk of being shot by a hunter.
Inaugural balls are often a bit cheesy. But the youth ball was one of the most hopping parties I've ever seen. Kanye West, Kid Rock, and of course, Barack Obama were among the attendees. But even when they were all gone, the party kept growing. Fire marshals had to stop more people from coming into the Washington Hilton ballroom because it was too crowded with more than 2,200 revelers. When the DJ played Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" to end the night at 1:30am, the 18-35 year olds wanted to keep partying.
The lack of taxis at Washington's hotels. People waited for up to 90 minutes when balls ended to get into cabs. Two hotel executives told me that because many taxi drivers are illegal immigrants, they felt uncomfortable waiting in hotel taxi lines with so many government officials present. (The taxis were plentiful the day after the inauguration.)
The exorbitant prices at Washington hotels. We know there is a lot of demand. But in this economy, gouging tourists is not exactly a goodwill gesture that encourages return visits.
The amazingly good spirits among the Republicans attending the inauguration. After months of covering intensely competitive and often venomous campaign rallies on both sides, it was a remarkably different kind of political gathering.
Written on blackberry during cab ride from Washington to Baltimore airport.
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