Cherry and Other Blossoms

What’s that? You haven’t seen enough photos of me smiling in front of flowers lately? Well, ok. I think I have a cure for what ails you. But there are 119 of them, so you’d better get comfortable.

Yen found us a terrific hotel in Arlington, the Marriott Key Bridge. So named because it’s right at the foot of the Key Bridge. I don’t know why, but they gave us a corner room on the 12th floor that looked out over the city. Pretty terrific view, which you’ll see later. But the location was great too because we were close to a Metro station and we could just walk across the bridge into Georgetown. Which is exactly what we did the first morning.

We had breakfast at Kafe Leopold, a place about as Austrian as you could find outside of Austria itself. The food was really good, though.

Then we just roamed Georgetown and slowly made our way toward the Mall.

It was raining a little bit the whole time, and when we got to the Mall we decided to just head into the Freer/Sackler complex and dry off.

It turned out to be essentially curated just for us: Japanese drawings of birds, menacing demons carved out of wood, Whistler’s Peacock Room, Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji, and surprisingly great collection by Kano Kazunobu.

In the little space that connects the two galleries is a very, very tall sculpture called Monkeys Grasp for the Moon. You know I loved it.

So then because these museums are gloriously connected, we stumbled into the African Art Museum.

And then finally came up for air. Which, we discovered, was still quite soggy.

Well, we had important dinner plans, so we headed back to the hotel via the Metro. I give it big points over Boston’s for cleanliness, regularity, and speed. It loses huge points for the complete chaos of the ticket purchasing system and the frequency with which turnstiles go out of service.

Our dinner plans were with my buddy, Mark, who graciously drove us to out to Falls Church, which is full of Vietnamese businesses. We got nice bowls of pho at Pho 75, then headed to Eden Center (a little Vietnamese mall) where I demanded an avocado shake and the chiffon cakes that I am so in love with. Yen has been looking forward to pho at this particular place for weeks, but we both agreed that as good as it was, Pho Hoa over in Dorchester really makes just as good a bowl – and they give you more vegetables with it.

Anyway, so the next day we go back on the Metro and headed into town toward Eastern Market.

Then continued a long, meandering walk that took us to the Mall.

Here I am at the Library of Congress.

And on to the Supreme Court. There were probably 20 people camped out in front of it, and some awful blonde was setting up a keyboard and practicing horrible “patriotic” songs. I have to say that sitting here in Massachusetts, I am truly baffled by all the fuss over mandated health care. Just the same, the Supreme Court has huge doors, yes it does.

Then across the street to the Capitol.

Leading to one of Yen’s favorite places in the entire world, the National Botanical Garden.

It’s a chocolate tree! Well, cocoa, anyway.

We popped into the American Indian (sic) Museum for a bit.

But because the weather was clearing up, we really just wanted to be outside.

Of course we gave in to the siren song of the National Gallery.

Look! I’m in Paris!

We finally made our way to the tidal basin and had a little snooze under the cherry trees. The weather by then was pretty much perfect.

We saw Marine One fly over, but of course Mr. O was in Korea already.

Oh! Here’s our room, as I mentioned before. Check out that view.

We weren’t totally sure what to do with ourselves the last day, so… we went to the Mall.

Then we thought, “Oh yeah! The White House!”

We only really had an hour before we had to start making our way to the airport, so we hit the Natural History Museum like true tourists.

I let Yen know what I don’t expect anything at all like the Hope Diamond. He didn’t seem terribly relieved.

The gemstone section of the Museum is the one where you think, “Meh. Rocks.” And then you go in and it’s just fascinating.

And we finished the day with the elephant.

On the way home from the airport, Yen asked where we’re headed next. We tossed out a few ideas but haven’t settled yet. Instead, we agreed to just watch cheap airfare. I love this. Yes, we have tickets to Peru at the end of May. But that doesn’t make it the next place we’re going. Le sigh.