27 June. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

Eastern Market, Congressional Cemetery & Smithsonian Folk life Festival

Jenna (my roommate from the Electric Ave. house in Somerville) picked me up at the airport, drove me to her place in DC, set up a very comfortable inflatable mattress and went out to purchase my breakfast items the next morning. What a host.

After breakfast was taken care of, we set out for Eastern Market. The market had just reopened after a renovation due to fire, and was very crowded. We wandered through the flea market where I bought an awesome photo. I would like to buy more photos from this vendor, but there is no information along with the photo about how to do so. Also, the photographer’s signature is not legible. I just searched through all of the Eastern Market vendors listed on the website, and can’t find this one. The first name looks like it starts with an “M” and the last name an “R”. Maybe someday I will figure it out, but until then, I will have to remain content with the photo I have.

Jenna and I ran into her sweetheart Gus (proving that the biggest city is a small town,) and the three of us went to lunch. Afterward, we walked to Congressional Cemetery.

There seem to be a lot of cemetery references on the blog, lately, but what can I say? They are just such cool places. Some highlights:

Cenotaphs. When members of congress died in Washington DC they were buried here, or transported elsewhere and memorialized here. Back in high school, my friend Heather and I were big fans of Henry Clay. We thought he should have been president. So it was pretty exciting to see his cenotaph. This design was used until 1870, when the practice was discontinued.

I love the sculpture of this marker.

Tom “Gator” Swann isn’t dead yet, but he wants you to know he is a proud gay veteran.

This was my favorite grave. You can’t see it very well in this picture, but this says:
Look it up!

Just for fun, I just googled her name and came up with the woman herself. How exciting.

After the cemetery, Jenna and I bid adieu to Gus and wandered through Wales at the Smithsonian Folklife festival. We saw this famous Welsh cook show us how to make vegetarian sausage. She was quite funny and the food looked delicious. She was not allowed to let the audience taste the food, a fact which she lamented several times.
Having our fill of Wales, we went back to Jenna’s where we cooked an amazing dinner and hung out in the rooftop garden.

It was a lovely day.

27 June 2008 A picture from the Hungary/Romania trip.

June 27 was that weird, arriving super jet-lagged day. There aren’t really pictures from that day. So this is today’s picture.
I’m not a world traveler. Before I went on the Hungary/Romania trip in 2005 the only foreign country I had visited was Canada. (Lovely place, by the way.) So for me, one of the most interesting things about traveling is to see what is different from my own home, especially familiar things. When I lived in South Boston, two friends from Idaho visited me and one of them was delighted to come with me to the grocery store because she was interested in the different brands/prices/displays. We had a grand time comparing and contrasting. Similarly, when my Aunts and I visited Lanai, Hawaii, one of my favorite things was visiting the cemetery. The grave decorations were very different from any cemetery I’ve ever visited.

So toilets. I hadn’t ever thought that they might not be the exact same as the porcelain thrones we use here in the USA. Of course, I had heard tales of holes that you squatted above, and not-good plumbing and such, but I figured any culture that had a plumbing setup similar to the US would have the exact same toilets.

But they are different in Hungary and, I have to say, I like the design better. As the picture above shows, the hole in which everything exits the bowl is in the front of the bowl, not in the rear like our setup. Also, note that there is only a tiny bit of water in the toilet bowl itself. This eliminates the whole splash back thing that I think everyone probably experiences and no one talks about. Then, when you flush the toilet, man what a reaction! All the water in the tank comes rushing down with a very loud noise, and whoosh! everything is gone.

So toilets. Different. Better. I could write a whole different section about light switches (square, large toggle) but I’m staying true to my one picture per day.