Capital Adventure, Day 2

April 19, 2008

Morning came way too early — I got up at 5:30 so I would be ready to walk my dad over to the hospital at 6:30. We had registration paperwork and surgery prep, and it was 8:30 before they took him into the OR. As they were wheeling him out, the anesthesiologist paused and said, “Wait, did you guys want to say goodbye?” I looked at my dad and said, “Good luck. I’m going shopping but I’ll be back.”

To which the anesthesiologist dryly remarked, “Okay, well… that was touching.”

I gave the nurse my phone number and set out to explore. My first stop was the used book sale store, because I had seen a neat cooking book the night before and ended up wishing I had bought it. It’s The Culinary Craft by Judy Gorman, and it’s full of useful information that no one ever seems to really teach. For instance:

  • what au gratin really means
  • when to use salted vs unsalted butter
  • how to make a sourdough starter (especially fascinating to me after reading By Bread Alone)
  • how and why to sift
  • the advantages of pots and pans made of different materials (copper, stainless, cast iron, etc.)

And so on. There is lots of fascinating reading in there!

From there, I headed out towards the National Geographic Museum. Pope-mania was starting to grip the city. There were people lining the streets with banners, waving Vatican flags, and singing songs in honor of the Pope. I took some pictures, but none of them really conveyed the frenzied enthusiasm.

When I arrived at the National Geographic museum, I was greeted by this cute fellow:

I walked in and inquired about the exhibits, then began to explore… first up was the frog exhibit. It was pretty much the same exhibit I had seen at the aquarium in August 2006, although they did have some frogs that I’d never seen before. Behold, the Amazon Milk Frog:

Out in the courtyard of the building was an exhibit called “Trash People.” Here’s the description:

In Trash People, German artist HA Schult offers commentary on constant human consumption. Fifty life-sized figures, sculpted of trash collected at a municipal dump in Cologne, line the courtyard of National Geographic’s headquarters. Schult’s army of trash figures have traveled to some of the world’s best-known landmarks as part of a series of projects called “Archaeology of the Present.” Installations at the Pyramids at Giza, Red Square in Moscow, and the Great Wall of China served to raise awareness of the volume of garbage left by humans and the world’s resulting ecological imbalance.

I’m as ecologically minded as the next person (maybe more so), but all I got out of this was a sense of “Oh my gosh, someone made life size figures from trash!” Followed closely by, “He used cans? Why not recycle them instead?”

Well, you know what they say. One man’s trash is another man’s … art? Here are a couple of pictures.

(You always suspected I was a little trashy, didn’t you? LOL)

By the time I finished wandering around the National Geographic building, it was around 11:00, so I decided to head back to the hospital. By this time Pope-mania was in full swing. There were more people lining the streets and police cars directing traffic than they have at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, I’ll wager. They even had roaming street vendors selling Pope pennants, Vatican flags, buttons, and the like. The only things I didn’t see being hawked (and frankly, I’m surprised) were Pope bobble-heads and helium-filled Pope balloons.

After my dad got out of surgery, his doctor called me and said that they would like to keep him there overnight. So after staying with my dad for a while as he recovered and got settled into a room, I started calling around to find a reasonable hotel. The one we had stayed at the night before no longer had any discounted rate rooms available. Drat! I ended up booking a room at the Americana Hotel in Arlington, VA.

What a great find this was! It is an older hotel, so if you’re into swanky furnishings, you won’t like it much. However, it was very clean, cheap ($120 per night, compared to the $280 rate I was quoted in the city), metro-accessible and you don’t have to pay extra for parking. AND they have excellent water pressure in the shower! You never realize how delightful that is until you’ve gone a few years without it. If we ever take a DC vacation, we are definitely staying there.

After a nap, I went shopping. I hadn’t packed for a Wednesday night stay, so I didn’t have any clean clothes left to wear on Thursday. And hey, any excuse for shopping will do, right? So after I got some things I needed (and, granted, some that I didn’t), I grabbed dinner and went back to the hotel.

Then it was time to relax and watch TV. Oh my word they must have had close to 75 channels! Do you know what it’s like, going from three channels to 75? Mind boggling! I watched HGTV and got inspired to plan some home improvement projects. I watched the Democratic debate and got uninspired about the 2008 election. But best of all, I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report! *sigh* I’ve missed them so!

And when that was over, it was time to go to sleep. With morning came my last chance to enjoy the city before heading home.



  1. Pope Bobble heads were available but turns out they weren’t approved/sanctioned so they had to pull them from distribution! WHat a world.

  2. […] About the Mama ← Capital Adventure, Day 2 […]

  3. […] theme came from.  Yesterday afternoon I did some scrapbooking and one layout was on the ridiculous Trash People exhibit I’d seen in DC.  In my journaling, I commented that many of the Trash People were composed of materials that […]

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