Category Archives: Travel

DC in DC: Botanic Garden

In all my visits to Washington, D.C., I had never stopped by the United States Botanic Garden.

Truth be told, the Missouri Botanical Garden is so much more better!

But visit I did, and I’m glad for the two hours there on Wednesday.

From the things we eat greenhouse:


Random other plants that caught my eye:

The cactus room was great fun, but difficult to photograph.



Thanks to the kindness of the mother of a prospective student, I had a private guided tour on Wednesday of the FBI Experience.

The best parts?  J. Edgar Hoover’s desk.  And the live firing range where nine agents were shooting their quarterly qualification. And the company of a lively FBI employee.  And the spy-craft stuff.

I’ll have more to post on Friday, but this 8.30 p.m. arrival at home after a full day in D.C. has me tired and not feeling like writing.

DC in DC: Tuesday

A lazier day.  After the huge Cuban meal on Monday, I slept in on Tuesday.

Since the National Geographic headquarters and museum is two blocks away, I spent some time Tuesday at their museum, with a current exhibition of Queens of Egypt. Then I went ‘round to the Omani cultural center and spent some time talking about their culture with Omani nationals who were presenting an “Islam in Oman” exhibit.  I learned some things today.

Dinner was at The Pig, a pork-centric restaurant near my hotel.  The meal was fabulous!

Queens of Egypt:

Surrounded by ancient Egyptian sarcophagi (not pictured).

And then an ancient Koran at the Omani center.  I mean . . . look at this beauty!:

Lunch of chicken shawarma a was at a food truck near the hotel:


DC in DC: Cuba Libre

Thanks to Jessica Hentoff’s restaurant suggestion, I went to Cuba Libre for dinner Monday evening. Aaron joined.

Aside from the fish dinner in Tangier in February, this is the single best meal of the year so far.

And I will long dream about the spinach Manchego buñuelos, creamy fried balls of indescribable deliciousness that hit every spot on the tongue just perfectly.

We both ordered the tasting menu, which was more than filling.

I opted for the lechón asado as my main.

Let me just say THANK YOU to Jessica, and “I’ll be back as soon as I can” to Cuba Libre!

The meal started with toasted Cuban bread with mango butter. And then progressed from the sublime to most sublime.

The appetizers.
The main course.

DC in DC: Marine Corps Memorial

With an extra hour to kill before the car was due back, we pulled off the freeway on Monday to go find the Marine Corps Memorial by Arlington Cemetery, more popularly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial.

I had never visited this site before. I found the inscription around the base, listing all the military actions in which Marines have fought, to be particularly compelling as it listed two long-open conflicts: Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Marine Corps Memorial by Arlington Cemetery.

DC in DC: Air & Space

Monday brought torrential rain for a while. Parts of D.C. flooded, including a Metro stop. I postponed the start of the day by an hour. The official report is 3.1″ of rain today.

When the storm front blew through, though, the temperature had moderated and the humidity was down, thanks be to God.

I rented a car on Monday, and Aaron and I drove out to Chantilly, Virginia to view the exhibits at the Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

Walking in, one is confronted by the space shuttle Discovery off in the distance. Over to the left is an Air France Concorde jet. And the Enola Gay is not far away. Nor are space capsules from the Mercury and Gemini era, the actually Apollo 11 quarantine Gulfstream, German aircraft from both world wars, Japanese fuselages from World War II, a Constellation, a beautiful 1940s Lufthansa tri-prop, a Clipper Flying Cloud, a prototype Boeing 707, and scores if not hundreds more planes, jets, helicopters, and air-going oddities and novelties.

I was in heaven.

I spent a long time with the space shuttle Discovery: