Nat, Christmas and one nasty woman
Favorite thing: Well, as I already stated, I didn't visit typical for a visitor points of interest in Fairfax. I was only doing shopping in huge Fair Oaks Mall and I ate at 29 Diner.
Fondest memory: So, my foundest memory from Fairfax is surely Nat's (b1bob) company and our talks :-) as well as impressive Christmas decorations with large Christmas tree in Fair Oaks Mall. I was surprised to see tropical animals under the Christmas tree. Well, add one a rather unpleasant event which happened to me in Fair Oaks Mall.
Both Nat and I were taking pictures inside the mall. Suddenly, I heard loud voice of a woman working in Harry and David store. She run off the store and was yelling at me, "Why do you take pictures here?" or something along those lines. Well, I was a bit embarrassed and replied that for leisure/memory or something like this. I don't know what Nat said to her, but she finally, without a word, went back to work. I don't think that the woman was Southern, or something was eating her that day.
I don't know if there are any rules against taking pictures in Fair Oaks Mall, or U.S. shopping malls in general. In Polish malls it's clearly stated that it's forbidden without prior permission from the owner. In the USA I took pictures in corridors and halls and I usually asked about taking a picture inside any store. I was never stopped by any security guards. Only once I was shortly asked about it by a security guard who after my explanations laughing at or with me allowed me to take pictures from the outside of stores and wished me great time :-). Imagine, he had never heard about Virtual Tourist but promised to check the VT website :-).
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
- Women's Travel
Student Union Building 1
Favorite thing: Student Union 1 is where many of the university's administrative offices were. Many were in the top floor and some (mainly student government and newspaper) offices were on the first floor. The ground floor had a mini market and a restaurant that was an adequate alternative to the dining hall.
Statue of George Mason
Favorite thing: George Mason (for whom the university was named) was one of the lesser-known founding fathers of the United States of America. His "Fairfax Resolves" outlined the colonists' constitutional objections to the Boston Port Act. His Declarations of Rights were a prelude to the first part of the Declaration of Independence and was the basis of the federal Constitution's Bill of Rights. One reason why George Mason is lesser known is that while he attended and spoke frequently at the 1787 Constitutional convention, he never signed it because it did not contain the Bill of Rights straightaway and he feared the House of Representatives was not truly representative, the Senate and judiciary too powerful, and that the government would either become a monarchy or ruled by a corrupt aristocracy. In many ways, some would say Mason was spot on.
George Mason University
Favorite thing: Some might say this place made me a more educated individual and others might wonder what went wrong. For better or worse, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this is my alma mater. I majored in Spanish and minored in French. In the summers of 1989 and 1990, I studied abroad in Nice and Madrid (I have individual pages on each trip). With one or two exceptions, I had good and competent professors. Dorm life was mixed throughout my time there. Because this campus has more commuters than most, from Friday afternoon through to Monday morning, the campus was a ghost town, reminiscent of the Johnny Cash song "Sunday Morning Coming Down." I made quite a number of good friends, many of whom I still maintain contact today and some are mentioned throughout these pages.
Favorite thing: Since I graduated, they added a state of the art fitness and aquatic centre. Before this, the swimming pool used to be in the Field House on the other side of the campus from either University Commons or President's Park.
Fondest memory: Most of the time spent here was in classes that were too big for a traditional classroom. In either class, Astronomy 101 or Spanish 325 on the works of Carlos Fuentes, I didn't get as much out of it on account of the class size. There were 2 rooms separated by a lobby with vending machines. The smaller room seated about 75 people- still too big for a class. The larger one seats about 300 and was styled like a movie house with rows of folding seats descending to the bottom where the lecturer would teach the class. When I wasn't attending oversized classes there, they did occasionally open the big lecture hall at the weekends for dollar (movie) night where I saw "Home Alone", my favourite movie overall, for the first time just before I graduated.
All under one roof
Favorite thing: Who needs Fair Oaks Mall when you have the Johnson Centre? The book store has about everything a student could need. Besides books, they have all kinds of art supplies and whatnots with the university logo. Also in the mall is a library annex, a food court and a drug store. Most folks snap their pictures from the front. I figured I would be different and do it from the back.
Fondest memory: I lived in Dickenson Hall my freshman year and Essex Hall (perpendicular to Dickenson) my sophomore year. I liked this area for its proximity to the dining hall and classes. The first year was right much fun. It helped that I made good grades, particularly the first semester. I had a good room mate and good neighbours. However, my room mate's friends were not as considerate as he was when they came to visit. My room mate didn't want to tell them to go even when they lingered past 3 a.m. (when we had an 8.30 class). That was the only reason I moved to Essex Hall. I had a good room mate and he had a better class of friends, but many of my neighbours weren't anything to write home about.
More new buildings at GMU
Favorite thing: In this picture, almost none of these buildings were built when I was there. The Centre for the Arts (the white building in the foreground on the left) opened just before I graduated, the other art building, and the Johnson Centre opened well after I left. The antenna rising prominently into the sky is a top the older science building (not in view here).
Creative ways to have fun
Fondest memory: You have seen the picture I took from the vantage point of the skateboard on my belly during my senior year. However, I had even more creative fun than that earlier on. Pictured is the pathway behind Franklin & Grayson Hall. The winter of my sophomore year, it came up a bad ice storm. The allocated desk chairs for the University Commons area had metal runners at that time. Folks would take their chairs to the top of the hill, turn them around back first and use them as makeshift sleds. With each snowstorm, dorm life wouldn't be the same without a snowball fight. Inside the dorm, there was this traditional pillow fight. One time, one of my neighbours from down the hall named Thad took the show on the road. He chased me all over campus and even into the library. At that time, I was more aerodynamically suited to all that running.
Favorite thing: From seeing some of my other pages, some of y'all might not be too surprised to see me snap the clock tower at my alma mater. It wasn't there at the time I attended here. They put it up to spruce the place up right about the same time the Johnson Centre was built. It is at a crossroads between the Johnson Centre and 3 academic buildings. Behind the clock tower is the path which dips into a "V" shape from the academic buildings to the University Commons. Oftentimes, folks would go up and down that sidewalk on their skateboards.
Colvin Run Mill
Favorite thing: Open to the public since 1972, this historic grist mill has four buildings. Guided tours of the mill and the miller's house are offered daily except Tuesday.
Fondest memory: Colvin Run Mill is located at 10017 Colvin Run Road, Great Falls. Phone: 703-759-2771
- Family Travel
Earthworm's Eye View of President's Park
Fondest memory: This picture was taken atop the hill between Madison and Jefferson Halls in March, 1991. On a dare, I skateboarded down the hill clear behind Eisenhower Hall (the central building) on what little there was (at that time) of my belly. Fortunately, I kept the thing on course so I didn't eat concrete (though it would have been tastier and better for me than what they routinely served at the dining hall).
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
Favorite thing: This living museum is a reconstructed Revolutionary War farm.
Staff and volunteers dress in period clothing, work the farm and answer visitors' questions.
Fondest memory: The farm is located at 6319 Georgetown Pike, McLean. Phone: 703-442-7557
- Family Travel
Fondest memory: President's Park is the dormitory complex I lived in my last two years at G.M.U. (1989-'91). Washington Hall is the building, appropraiately enough, on the far right of the photo. Here, I had the best of all worlds- a single room (so I could kick anybody out when I got tired of them) and great neighbours. It was a little farther out from classes and the dining hall, but I didn't mind trading off extra time to get to class for the peace of mind that I wouldn't be penny locked in my room or have someone slide a pear with an M-80 under the loo stall.