(Photos by Jessica Smith)
The ceremonial flags are adorning the Capitol and 5,000 porta-potties are lining the Mall and parade route, but the inauguration revelers are just starting to trickle into Washington. "No masses yet, but give it another 24 hours," says Jessica Smith, who lives in DC and works for the Senate. "The city is eagerly awaiting an historic moment, and equally anxious about debilitating traffic, freezing temperatures, street closures and 5 million people descending upon the capital."
Most hotel rooms in the DC-area sold out immediately after the election. If you want to partake in the celebrations but haven't figured out your accommodations, your only hope is a generous friend or Craigslist, where there are plenty of ads from Washingtonians who are willing to give up their homes for a price. That sure beats staying in Baltimore, which barely has any hotel rooms left either.
Those who are lucky enough to be there for Tuesday morning's 56th inaugural ceremony had better bundle up as the weather is expected to be unseasonably cold. "I am planning on attending the swearing-in ceremony with every layer of long underwear that I own," Smith says. Special Inauguration Keepsake Barack Obama Snow Suits, anyone?