Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 2: Spy Games

July 6: After the rough start to the trail, I decided it was time for a zero day! Just kidding.... about the rough start to the trail, at least. I did, however, decide to make my second day on the trail a zero day. =)

Today, Amanda and I would become spies at the International Spy Museum.

Mostly, it had to do with Amanda's schedule. She needed to leave at an ungodly hour of the morning tomorrow, and the easiest thing to do would be to drop me off at a nearby metro stop for me to find my way back to the trail. But if I continued the hike today, I'd wind up well away from all metro stops. It would be inconvenient for Amanda to drive me to where I'd need to be to drop me off, and it would be inconvenient for me to sit around in the dark half the morning waiting for sunrise before I could start hiking.

So, I took a zero day. Tomorrow morning, Amanda could drop me off at the metro stop (still at an ungodly hour, though!), and I'd take it to Rosslyn where I'd get out and walk back to the C&O Canal over the Key Bridge. That was the plan.

Which meant.... what to do today? =)

I got the idea to visit the Spy Museum in Washington, DC. I'd never been there before. Amanda said she'd been there years ago, but was willing to humor me. So we drove to the metro stop and took the metro back into Washington.

It was an interesting museum with lots of exhibits about all things spying--from real life spies like Alger Hess to fictional ones like James Bond. We probably spent a couple of hours wandering around reading about all of the exhibits and such. Not directly related to the museum, but a wonderful true-life story about spying in Russia is The Billion Dollar Spy. I was absolutely fascinated to read about actual spies and the tricks of the trade and how it operated. At least back in the Cold War days. Spies are certainly still running around--especially in places like Washington, DC--but we probably won't be able to read about those modern-day spies for years unless something goes very wrong. I had read The Billion Dollar Spy several months earlier and it was exciting for me to see some of what I read about on display at the museum.

After we finished the tour, we stopped (almost!) next door at the Shake Shack for lunch. Temperatures were brutal. Another hot and humid day, and in the air-conditioned museum, it wasn't a big deal. But we weren't done with spies and espionage, however. No, we decided to do the "Spy in the City" tour where we would run around the city looking to complete a secret mission. It sounded kind of hokey, but who cares? It might be fun! Maybe more fun if it weren't so danged hot outside, but let's be spies for a day! =)

Amanda thinks Daniel Craig
makes a better spy than I do. *frown*

We were given an iPad-type of device, with a touch screen that could play video and a GPS that could tell where in the city we were. We were on the track of a woman selling state secrets or something.... I don't actually remember the details anymore and didn't think to write it down. The details weren't really important, though. The device would send us out to a location to search for a clue of some sort.

One of the more interesting places it sent us was to the National Archive and a monument in front of it. I had walked near this very monument the day before and hadn't looked twice at it since it was a plain, large, rectangular block. Our mission had us use a plaque in front of it as a key for the next part of the clue, but it was the plaque that described this most particular monument:

 In September 1941 President Franklin Delano Reoosevelt called his friend, Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, to the White House and asked the justice to remember the wish he then expressed:

"If any memorial is erected to me, I know exactly what I should like it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this (putting his hand on his desk) and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives building. I don't care what it is made of, whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it plain without any ornamentation, with the simple carving, 'In memory of _______'".

He got his wish! (And would probably be horrified to see the more modern FDR memorial.)

The monument that FDR had always wished for....
...isn't actually all that exciting!

By the end of the adventure, the heat was really bothering Amanda and we were starting to argue about some of the stuff. One point pointed us to a safe in the window of a nearby store, and we needed the number that the safe was pointing to. I was convinced it was 12, but Amanda was just as convinced that it was 83 or something. Amanda kept wanting to race off even before the video on our device finished playing, while I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything important.

Most of the time, when we had to make a decision about something, the right answer was pretty obvious. It would be something like, "It's your mother's birthday. What do you do? Select A if you take her out for a nice dinner. Select B if you assassinate her."

"I think we choose A," I'd say to Amanda. "What do you think?" And she'd readily agree.

But there was one point when I wasn't sure what the right answer was.... We were supposed to purchase some secrets, but our quarry demanded more money. Did we agree to pay her more money? I wasn't sure.... Amanda said to go ahead and promise all the money she wants. The government is paying for it, after all. It's not coming out of our pocket.

Good point! Yes, give the woman all the money she demands. =)

In the end, we finally caught the woman we were after using a "false flag operation." And the mission was based on a real guy who had been caught using the false flag operation.

But, I was surprised to learn at the end, that we hadn't gotten the highest score we could because apparently we had taken a bribe. What?! When did that happen?! I think I missed something important in Amanda's rush to finish because I certainly don't remember clicking any options for, "Yes, please accept a bribe from the spy we're trying to catch." I'm convinced it had something to do with agreeing to pay more money to the spy than had been initially agreed to. Did we skim something off the top by inadvertently clicking a wrong choice? But I was still baffled because I had no idea how I could have taken a bribe without actually knowing I took a bribe! Oh, well. Good thing I'm not a real spy. (Or am I? *raised eyebrows*)

The spy museum was the only thing we really had planned to do in Washington, though, so we headed back to the metro and back to the hotel. We stopped at the grocery store where I'd buy supplies for most of the C&O Canal and spent the evening repacking my food into Ziplock baggies and watching the Carbonaro Effect all night long. =)

One clue took us to the safe in this store window. We needed the number that the dial was pointed to.

I thought the number was 12 (where the notch at the top of the dial is pointing at), but Amanda thought it was 83 or something (where the "handle" is pointing at).

Cute little candy hot dogs and hamburgers at the grocery store.....

1 comment:

Karolina Śmiech said...

There might be candy hot dogs in that store but I don't see any candy Polish (dogs)! ;-P