Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oklahoma City: a tourist day

Spatial Worlds Website

Oklahoma City: N: 32º 57.589' W: 095º 55.408'

After the conference finished I just wandered the city of Oklahoma City for the day. This is the quietest city centre I have ever seen. Even at 1pm on the Friday the streets of the city were virtually deserted. As you can see from the pictures above there is plenty of big building but the people are just not in big numbers in the city centre. They must all be out in the suburban centres. Yes, we saw plenty of people come in for the Breast Cancer Fun Run on Saturday morning and students attending a Christian concert on the Friday night but otherwise the city centre was spookingly quiet. As a tourist I wandered the city visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial, The Capitol Building (Parliament House), the Oklahoma History Museum and the oil industry display.
Here are some observations about Oklahoma City, a place not usually on the tourist itinerary:
1.The Capitol Building was an amazing building but as you can see the dome was funded by private Industries. As you can guess the oil industry is pretty big here as a benefactor but funding the building of the parliament is interesting?
2.Great History Museum. Really interesting to learn about the history of the American Indian populations forced migrations and most importantly the really positive and proud representation of the Indian culture and history throughout the city, in the Parliament building and across Oklahoma in general. The Oklahoma flag has as its centerpiece an Indian shield and the parliament building has Indian statues and paintings throughout.
3.Oklahoma is presently celebrating its centenary. I was surprised it was so young as a state.
4.The Oklahoma Bombing site is now the National Memorial in Oklahoma City. The site is very peaceful and well done as a memorial with an amazingly comprehensive museum in the building next to the destroyed building. In particular the museum had a very interesting section on the origins of home grown US terrorism and the reasons why.
Overall a day as a tourist in Oklahoma City was worth the effort, with lots to learn and see.
5.Amazingly, directly out the back of the Parliament (Capitol) building is a working oil pump! Oil must be everywhere in that area of the earth. Texas tea I guess!

Tomorrow I move on to Washington DC and Virginia to meet with Bob Kolvoord from James Madison University and Kathryn Keranen, a GIS educator to visit schools in DC and Virginia

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