Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the road

I've arrived in DC and am settling into my friend's guest room, overlooking a lovely park in the northern part of town. On the fringes of Adams Morgan, the weather a crisp and pleasant reminder that fall is on its way, and the full moon pulling out one's inner werewolf.

I've been on the road/tracks for a week, have been to Chicago, Bloomington (Indiana) and now DC. The days have been full of architecture, history, weather, chinese language (more on that another time), and food, just to name a few. I've never spent a lot of time in the mid-west, but can imagine myself spending more time in Chicago if given the chance. Villages within the city make life seem far more intimate; lots of color from all the immigrants that have made the city's history rich and vibrant. A city of spires, both religious and secular. The latter centers around the downtown, where skyscrapers compete for attention, new ones on their way.

My first experience waiting out a tornado warning, as the sirens wailed outside, we sat in the basement of my friend S' house, nibbling on cheese, olives, crackers, and drinking cava. We skyped with her in-laws who said "you should leave that place! how can you live in a town with tornados?", while the baby scampered around, not really caring that a possibly disaster approached. The rest of the weekend was a bit rainy and cloudy, the damage of the approaching hurricane (Ike) which roared through Texas only apparent after I left Bloomington to head back to Chicago. Since Bloomington is a campus town, there was little to do other than to make one's own entertainment. Thankfully, trying to keep up with a two year old is enough to keep all the adults on their toes. We feasted when she slept, and there's nothing like ingenuity to satiate our bellies; not a bad way to spend the time, making aoili for steamed artichokes, tossing together a chinese style fried rice, cobbling together pumpkin risotto, serving a full jewish breakfast of bagels, lox, eggs, and an assortment of drinks, and capping the weekend with a steak, grilling even in the face of stormy weather.

So far in DC, we've dined on Belgian style bistro food and picked up creamy frozen custard. Looking good so far.


Katrina said...

Sounds like you're having a lovely, memorable trip, untoward weather or no. And the image of you enjoying cava and cheese in a basement, while sirens wail outside, is so cinematic! My friend who lives in Munster, Indiana said there was bad flooding where he is, though thankfully his house was spared. I'm glad you're safe, too. The extreme weather and the resulting flooding, damage, and power blackouts the US has been having lately makes it seem almost like they're the Phils! ;-)

Someone I know who lives in and adores Chicago says that it's the Manhattan of the Midwest. Would you agree? The last time I was there was decades ago, and all I remember is a typical skyscraper-lined city, and the chilly winds that gave it its nickname.

Marvin said...

I agree with Katrina, cheese and cava are quite the way to wait out a tornado warning.

From the tornadoes of the midwest and hurricanes of the southeast, I'm hoping a California quake is something you will miss entirely on this trip;)

mtan said...

Katrina, I don't know about calling Chicago the Manhattan of the region. The architecture is quite unique, plus the city has it's own character. I also think the one distinction of NY vs Chicago is how lively the former is even after dark, while parts of downtown Chicago turn gloomy after all the workers go home to the suburbs.

Marvin, I don't know if I mentioned this to you when we went to the Oinkster, but the day I arrived, there was an explosion at LAX, so I couldn't leave the airport!!! So the trip has had these interesting moments when external agents have kept me twiddling my thumbs (or driven me to drink hehehe).

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