First Culture

Washington DC: The Abuja of America

What I didn’t know, was that in the same way Abuja wasn’t always the capital of Nigeria, DC wasn’t always the capital of The States.

Of late, I’ve been thinking about something that feels like quite a scary concept: ‘unknown unknowns’. Things I don’t know I don’t know. Or things I think I know, but actually don’t.

For example, until I travelled to Nigeria the first time, I didn’t know I didn’t know what the capital of Nigeria is. I’d never even thought about it, I just thought I knew, the capital of Nigeria was Lagos. Then I discovered it wasn’t, I was shocked, and have kind of being beefing Abuja, how dare it be the capital and make me wrong!

I think I’ve always known Washington DC to be the capital of The United States of America, I can’t remember not knowing that. What I didn’t know, was that in the same way Abuja wasn’t always the capital of Nigeria, DC wasn’t always the capital of The States, and that like Abuja, DC isn’t a city, but “federal capital territory.”

I’m on a six week visit to Washington, just in case it feels like I’m writing with an accent, I am. I’m writing this on day four of that visit, so I don’t really have that much to report, but I do hope to give you guys an opinion a week.

I didn’t know I didn’t know what the capital of Nigeria is

This is my first time to America and apart from the fear of being put through hell by immigration and the fear of the cold, I came with almost no expectations. I’m here a completely blank slate curious as to how this trip will unfold. Curious to see what I will learn, about myself, and about America.

So far both immigration and the weather have surprised me pleasantly. Apart from confiscating the biltong I had no business having with me in the first place, immigration and customs were a breeze. And I arrived to some sunny weather.

Now, I’m a very boring, unadventurous traveller. Left to my own devices, I’d be happy spending my six weeks here lounging about, drinking American wine.

But I have a gorgeous and gracious hostess intent on giving me a culturally rich experience, so even though I’ve only been here a couple of days, I’ve already seen quite a lot.

I’ve walked past the west wing of the White House, which I refuse to acknowledge as anything other than Melly Fitzgerald (of ABC’s ‘The Fixer’)’s office, and I’ve visited historical places like The Martin Luther King and Vietnam Veterans memorials.

A part of me wants to write about them all and how being there made me feel, but a bigger part of me is lazy and will just show you guys pictures.

I will however say that the memorials were a good place to visit to feel (and see) the diversity of America, as well as appreciate its history. If you want to look at America beyond the shit-head that is their head of state, visit America.

Back to that Washington issue, I’ll be visiting New York in a couple of weeks, and I go there already thinking it the Lagos of America, I just wonder if I’ll feel it should have remained the capital because although I haven’t seen all that much of DC, I think it (unlike Abuja) has done well in embodying the qualities of a capital. But let’s revisit this after I’ve been to New York.

END

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Mimi Mwiya

Mimi Mwiya

Munukayumbwa (Mimi) Mwiya is a floater who sometimes sits still enough to write.

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Washington DC: The Abuja of America

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