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23 February 2014 @ 10:15 pm
Very Washington DC (Friday and Saturday)!  
Friday - Burgers, Art, and Sauerkraut
The next morning, softlykarou again had to be somewhere early. This time, though, I didn't even wake up when she wished me goodbye, so I was pretty disoriented when I woke up and the room was otherwise empty. I loafed around the room for a couple hours, getting progressively hungrier and less willing to leave the bed, and then I finally scarfed down all the remaining nuts and headed out the door to a burger place I had looked up on my phone. When I went outside, the weather was pretty much my ideal weather: cloudy skies, cool breeze, wet ground, and the smell after the rain. It was almost enough to make me change my mind and go into the Irish bar I saw along the way, but I kept to my original plan.

I had originally set out with the intention to walk from our hotel down to the National Mall, and I managed to stick to that plan even though when I left the restaurant it was raining. I went to the Freer Gallery of Art (and apparently just missed an exhibition about the tea ceremony! By one day! ARGH!), which was recommended I think by my father, though I can't remember exactly who told me to go. Anyway, it's a collection of art from what a 19th century art collector would have called "The Orient," so there was everything from Japanese screens to Arabic pottery. The last one I didn't devote much time to, despite how beautiful it was, because I've never really been interested in pottery. Honestly, I'd be happy with plain white bowls or bowls made out of dark wood, much like my taste in furniture.

There were other interesting things, though:

That's a literal starmetal dagger. Emperor Jahangir had it made out of a fallen star, and later said that, it "cut beautifully, as well as the very best swords." So maybe there is something to that meteoric iron superweapon fantasy trope!

That's a picture of Kōbō Daishi on his trip to China to learn the teachings of Buddhism, which he later brought back to Japan. I mainly liked this image because it has a literal example of red oni blue oni (赤鬼青鬼), though the art is definitely beautiful as well. It's the kind of thing I'd love to have in softlykarou and my bedroom, in my imagined dream residence where the bedroom has byōbu, tatami floors, a futon instead of a bed, zaisu and low table, and so on. I can probably do a lot of that even if there isn't a tatami flooring, really. I actually prefer sitting on the floor in a lot of cases.

Oh! Also, in a weird coincidence, I found proof that softlykarou, like Nicholas Cage and Keanu Reeves, is an immortal vampire who has survived through the ages and secretly manipulates us from behind the scenes:

Green and Gold: the Little Green Cap, but it's pretty obviously a picture of my wife. I'm on to your schemes!

The collection of jades was neat, but it's just jade discs so it doesn't make a very good photographic subject.

After I looked all around there, I used my remaining time to head back into the Museum of the American Indian and look around some more. There was a short movie called Who We Are that they showed in the theatre on the top floor, so I headed up there to watch that. It was maybe fifteen minutes and primarily served as a well to tell people that Native Americans aren't just records in history books or cultures frozen in time, both of which I already knew, but it was a good introduction to the idea. Then it let us out in an exhibit that went into detail on various tribes' traditional beliefs and practices, most of which I knew almost nothing about. I couldn't stay for the entire time, though, because softlykarou texted me to let me know she was finished with her presentation an hour before I expected, so I had to start walking. I was determined that I would walk from our hotel to the National Mall and back to our hotel, and I did. It just took me about an hour since it was mostly at a slight-to-moderate incline. I didn't go back to our room when I walked into the hotel room; I just sat on the couch and let softlykarou know that I was down there.

We were going to meet with satinalien for dinner at Old Europe, but she was feeling under the weather, so softlykarou and I went ourselves. Here's a sample of what we ate:

That's dark rye bread with Griebenschmalz vom Schwein, or a spread made from rendered pig fat. It may have been the least kosher thing I've ever eaten, but it tasted fantastic. I also got the Schnitzel Old Europe, which had veal, chicken, tomatos, onions, hollendaise sauce, and sides of sauerkraut, potatos, and mixed vegetables. And beef stew as an appetizer and a dark chocolate cake. It was quite possibly the most stereotypical German meal I could have eaten other than the lack of bratwurst, but you can't have everything at once. I also learned that my pronunciation of German is not particularly good, which shouldn't surprise me since I've never studied it at all. Maybe I should look into that if I plan to go to German restaurants more often.

After that, we went home and went to sleep. We were going to meet up with some friends, but they were drained from the day's activities and so were we, so we all went to bed.

Saturday - Trip Home
Not that much to say for the final day, since it was mostly just taken up by going home, going shopping, and then sitting around at home. There was one minor hiccup when it turned out that the hotel's free shuttle didn't run on weekend's until 9, so we had to walk from the hotel to the Metro, and then that Metro trains only run about every half an hour on weekends, but we made it there, made it to Union Station in time to take the MARC train (which only started weekend service in December!) back to the Baltimore airport, and then flew out. The only notable thing was the restaurant we ate in in the Baltimore airport had USB plugs in the wall. They also were locally-owned and served locally-sourced food which was really good, but I didn't take any pictures so you'll have to take my word for it.

It was pretty great. I'm glad we had enough money and I had enough vacation time that I could come along, because if I'm going to be a tourist in a city, DC is a great place to be one, and a lot of softlykarou and my friends seem to live either in DC or in the cities around it. Next year is Orlando and I've heard that it's in Disney, but how much fun would that be by myself? The year after that is New Orleans, though, where I've never been before, so I have to go to that one.

Whew! That took forever to write. (^_^;)
Current Mood: happy
Current Music: YSDC Lovecraft Media podcast