“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” Made Inauguration Week Funny

With all the hype, hoopla and Obama-mania of last week’s Inauguration 2009 coverage, it is nice to know that someone found a way to poke fun at it all. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart takes us through a quick recap of the Inauguration events which include calling out former Vice President Dick Cheney’s wheelchair ride, Obama’s shut-up face and a hint that America has been in The Matrix for the last 8 years. Check it out!




Inauguration 2009 Pics

My Inauguration 2009 coverage would be incomplete without my pictures from the trip. So, here they are. Enjoy!

xoxo,
The Caramel Bella





Inauguration Day: The Wrap-Up

Here I am giving a fun and quick wrap-up of my Inauguration Day experience. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Smooches,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. I’d love to hear how your Inauguration day experience went. Please post comments.




Inauguration Day: Let Us In!

After hours of standing in the cold among thousands of people, the blue ticket crowd begins to get frustrated. As the clock ticks closer to 11:30 a.m. and the beginning of the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony, the crowd begins to chant: “Let Us In. Yes, You Can. Let Us In.” The disappointment and desperation mount as people realize that they probably aren’t getting pass the security screening point. See for yourself below.

-The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: And We Waited & Waited…..

As you may have gathered, I waited for about 4 hours in the blue ticket section and didn’t get into the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony for President Barack Obama. It was cold especially for a person acclimated to Southern California weather. Here are some videos that I took while waiting, and waiting…. and waiting….! Well, you get the drift.

Line Not Moving

Still Waiting

xxoo,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. How long was your wait? Talk back. :-)




Inauguration Day: Yes, The Crowds Were Singing

If you’ve been following my story, you know that I was one of the blue ticket holders that did not reach the goal line. (Meaning, I didn’t get past security for the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony.) However, I’ve got some great footage of the spirit of the moment. Although the blue group (as I like to call them) was smashed together like sardines in the freezing cold (about 25 or 30 degrees), we were all pretty happy to be there. People started singing songs like “America the Beautiful.” Check out the video below to get a view of what it was like in the “blue crowd.” (Be sure to notice how the line (read: mass of people) doesn’t move forward.)

Smiling,
The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: Metro Train Ride to the Swearing-In Ceremony

I’ve decided to post the videos from my trip to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. Here is a video of my Metro (subway) train ride. There were thousands of people on the crowded trains. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authorities (WMATA) closed several train stops (including the one I needed based on my swearing-in ceremony ticket — Federal Center S.W.).

Although I wasn’t able to capture it in the video below, the subway personnel instructed us (in a very loud voice) to “keep it moving” to help the crowds exit through the train doors, to put our tickets through the reader, to ride the escalator up and out onto the streets. These instructions became a fun chant for the upbeat Inauguration train riders.

xxoo,

The Caramel Bella




Inauguration Day: Blue Ticket Blues

blue-gate

Although I feel extremely lucky to be in the nation’s capitol during the 56th Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I was one of the unfortunate few that never made it past the security screening for the swearing-in event.

Crowd at Metro Station
Crowd at Metro Station

My morning began with heading down to the Mall area around 7 a.m. After facing massive crowds on the subway (Metro) and the closure of the designated Metro stop for my “blue” ticket, I reached the line for the blue ticket holders (before 8 a.m. and the opening of the gates). The blue area was full of people and completely disorganized. There weren’t any police, security, guides or Inauguration staff in the vicinity to ensure order.

After standing in the line for over an hour, the mass of ticket holders began encircling the line. People were shouting, “stop cutting” in hopes of preventing the disarray. However, no amount of chanting or “tsking” could prevent the confusion and chaos that erupted.

Crowd of Blue Ticket Holders
Crowd of Blue Ticket Holders

While standing in line (around 10-10:30 a.m.), an off-duty police officer who happened to be at the event told us that a generator had gone down. As a result, several blue gate security screening stations weren’t working, which affected the amount of people able to pass through the gate. However, the officer said we would all be admitted. (This unauthorized communication was the only information we received during this entire process.)

The people in the crowd began to amuse themselves by singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and other patriotic songs. (Oh, they also sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”) And after desperation set in as the clock inched closer to 11:30 a.m., the crowd began chanting: “Let us in. Let us in.”

My friends and I stood in this line for about 4 hours before finally realizing that we weren’t going to get through the security gate and screening. There were still thousands of people in front (and around) us. After hearing “Hail to the Chief” around 11:30 a.m., we realized we definitely weren’t getting in and headed back.

Outside the Blue Gate
Outside the Blue Gate

We were pretty disappointed with the lack of organization in the blue area. After attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., I was amazed at how the DNC could be so safe and orderly in comparison to the chaos of the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony.

Empty Security Screening Gates
Empty Security Screening Gates

There have been several reports regarding ticket holders that were turned away. Although the blue section appears to have the most problems, the purple and silver sections also had ticket holders who didn’t gain access to the event. Reporters from the Washington Post and London’s The Telegraph wrote about these unfortunate incidents.

Although I didn’t end up witnessing the swearing-in ceremony in its “true” fashion, I am still happy that I traveled from Los Angeles to D.C. to be a part of the whole Inaugural event. The crowds remained mostly positive and upbeat despite the widespread disappointment. I met people from all around the world who were so inspired by Obama to make the trip. We all knew that we were just feet away from Barack Obama and this historic moment.

Still hopeful and excited,

The Caramel Bella

P.S. Video and more pictures to come….




T Minus 10 hours & Counting until the Swearing-in Ceremony

U Street

Today, I spent the majority of the day walking around the “Inauguration Washington, D.C.” As a person who calls this place “home” (my folks still live here), the District has really transformed into this buzzing and alive place. Obama hasn’t taken office yet but my “home” has changed already.

From the Historic U Street area to Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant to the Washington Monument and Mall, the streets were full of people. I couldn’t tell the tourists from the natives. And there were tons of street vendors. It appears as though hundreds of people have figured out how to make money in this troubling economy — sell anything with Barack or Michelle Obama on it. There were the standard souvenir fare like t-shirts, hats, buttons and posters. Yet, I also came across unique and somewhat strange items like Obama earrings and condoms. Yes, this city is alive with Obama-mania!

After walking around downtown and the Mall, I headed into the Smithsonian to warm up and re-familiar myself with my favorite museum. I then walked back to the U Street area to visit one of my favorite places: Busboys and Poets. It’s a unique spot that’s a restaurant, bookstore, bar and venue for artists. I love it. Following an hour long wait outside, I was able to enjoy a great dinner in one of the most eclectic places in town. (It is open 24/7 during the Inauguration festivities.)

My visit to D.C. (my home) has been almost magical. From getting tickets to the swearing-in ceremony to seeing my city with new eyes. I am hopeful that the “new” energy so easily seen in the nation’s capitol remains long after President-elect Obama has taken office tomorrow at 12 noon. Our new president has a tough road ahead to turn the state of the nation around (especially economically and in terms of international relations). Let’s all pledge to remember the excitement, hope and belief in the future of our country that we have right now. We’re going to need it.

Only a couple more hours until the ceremony….

signing off,

The Caramel Bella




Planes, Trains & Automobiles..But I’m Here for Inauguration 2009

snow-planeinauguration

Whew! I am finally here in Washington, DC for the Inaugural 2009. I almost cannot believe that I actually made it. My first flight out of Los Angeles (LAX) into Pittsburgh was rather uneventful. (Exception: USAirways has decided to charge you for everything such as bags, food, water, and drinks. Didn’t gas prices go down?) However, my connecting flight out of snowy P’burgh was delayed twice for a total of an hour and a half. I made it fun by chatting it up with my travel mates, and grabbing a cold one and a meal at the airport.

Although the trip to DC went much slower than I hoped, I learned a lot about some of the people I was traveling with. Being a journalist, I am naturally nosy and I occasionally listen to conversations around me.

And what I discovered is that the Inauguration activities for President-elect Barack Obama are akin to the biggest Superbowl win and New Year’s eve rolled up into one. People, especially a lot of black people, have traveled far and wide to witness and celebrate Obama becoming the 44th president and the 1st African American president of the United States. I overheard several folks say they decided at the last minute that they wanted to be here. They felt like they had to come. In particular, a black woman on my Pittsburgh flight said she decided just yesterday that she wanted to be in Washington, DC for the Inauguration and bought her ticket last night.

Another older white gentleman, who I will call Bill, told me that he had to be in DC at this time because he wanted to feel the energy of the city. Like most of the people I spoke with, Bill didn’t have a ticket to any of the events. He only held a desire to be a part of history. He said “I’m excited for us to get rid of the old and see the change come to Washington.” He spoke fondly of President-elect Obama’s ability to remain calm and even during times of great pressure and his message of hope. He joked that there were Obama supporters even in Orange County, Calif. Armed with new gloves, he was headed to The Mall to soak in as many Inaugural events as possible.

I also overheard a woman who is traveling to DC because she is responsible for an Inaugural party held by Occidental College (Obama’s first college). She couldn’t believe her good fortune when her boss asked her to go in his place. She felt like she’d hit the jackpot.

And I met another young lady who traveled here to meet up with family and friends to attend Inauguration parties, stand in line to see the parade and try to get as close as possible to see the swearing in. People are spending crazy money, braving the cold and bearing the big crowds just to get a glimpse of President-elect Barack Obama – and to say that they were here.

All of the people I talked to could not believe that I held a ticket to the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony. I actually think getting on the plane and witnessing the lengths to which some people have come (without credentials, passes or tickets) just to be a part of history has made me feel quite special to be here – with or without a ticket.

So, hopping on two planes, airport shuttles, and into my parents SUV was worth it because over the next few days, I get to witness history.

More to come…

The Caramel Bella




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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