Gallery Place

Saturday October 13, 2012

Even though our friends on Rode Trip can’t make a port without running into some kind of family or friend, this was the first time that we were going to see a familiar face of our own. My cousin has been living in the D.C. Area for quite awhile and we couldn’t pass through without giving her a call to meet up. Letting her be the guide of the city we put ourselves in her hands to pick a location to meet for lunch. While getting some quick directions over the phone she had us going to what was called Gallery Place and told us to meet her under the ornate arch by the Metro. The next morning when we looked at our map provided by the yacht club (a very handy tool we used incessantly) we saw that Gallery Place was Chinatown. We always seem to miss going to Chinatown in any big city we visit, so we were quite excited that she chose a place we probably wouldn’t have thought to go on our own. With the Metro being just a half mile from the yacht club we decided to skip it and make our way on foot as it was just over a mile and we love the slow pace and getting to see more of the city. Once we got past the mall the streets became urban and slightly reminded us of New York City, which is always a good thing in my book. We could tell we were getting into Chinatown when all the signs for stores and restaurants were marked in both Engligh and Chinese. The only issue was I had forgotten the street corner we were supposed to meet at and then we were off on a search to find an ornate golden arch. After doing a circle of a city block we found it and waited just a little bit for my cousin to arrive as there was construction on the Metro that delayed her.

 When we all met up and she asked if we were in the mood for Chinese food, which we definitely were over the Fudruckers and Subway also on the block.  She mentioned a place she had been to many times with my Aunt and Uncle while they were in town and walked us down the street toward it.  Walking up the stairs into the restaurant we were greeted with tanks of lobsters and crabs, so large they put our catches to shame and just after I felt proud of them at the fish market.  The menu was pages and pages long and it took us a long time between reading and catching up before any of us were ready to order.  The food was brought out sporadically with my lemon chicken coming out what felt like ten minutes before the other plates of beef and broccoli or general tso chicken.  For the next hour we caught up with my cousin on what she had been up to since the last time we had seen her and also what was going on with the family in general.  She was at a wedding for another cousin of mine just a few weeks after we left and it was nice to trade stories from that time and when we had last seen everyone.

When lunch was over it was later in the afternoon and we didn’t think we’d have time to still make it to a museum since they all close at 5:30 and went to bring our leftovers back to the boat. Feeling bad that it was still somewhat early and we hadn’t done much we started looking through links of things to do in town. There were a lot of interesting things listed but most of them needed a full day dedicated to them or at least an earlier start. When we got to information on the Kennedy Center it gave information on a section that put on free concerts every night, usually just a single artist playing up on stage. Looking to see who was playing that night it was a Bluegrass artist that we had never heard of but we thought it would give us a chance to get off the boat and see some more of the town. Assuming it would be an outdoor concert at an amphitheater, usually where concerts are held, we packed our backpack with a large blanket and some hats and gloves. The nights were getting cold and I almost froze on the way back from the grocery store last night after the sun went down. Giving ourselves an hour to walk the mile and a half we left the yacht club with our noses buried in the map.  Having walked down the mall up to the Washington Memorial a few times now we took some side roads to skip that part but did cut in for the reflecting pool and Lincoln Memorial.  Back when I was in middle school I had come here on spring break with my family and we got up extremely early on Easter Sunday to go to a church service on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and watch the sun rise over the reflecting pool.  This was Matt’s first time in DC but the sunset we saw was just as beautiful as the sunrise I remember and I’m glad we got to share in the beauty together.

With time running out and only twenty minutes now to make the start of the concert we cut across a few more side streets in search of the Kennedy Center.  Now we were going back and forth from the paper map in our hands and the map on Matt’s cell phone that pinpointed our location.  As we had the center in our sights we turned down one more road that we thought would lead us right there but only brought us to an expressway entrance.  Becoming a little bit more daring on the roads in our adventures I wasn’t adverse to running across the expressway, but on the other side it appeared as if there were only a tall cement wall with the center sitting on top and no good way to get up it.  Just as we realized we’d have to turn around, now with five minutes left on the clock, a flashy BMW pulled up next to us and asked if we knew how to get to the Kennedy Center.  The man was in a suit and his wife in a cocktail dress with pearls and we started to wonder if they were going to the same event as us.  Were we severely underdressed for this bluegrass concert?  Letting them know we were also in search and also lost they turned back up the road they had come down.  Trying to look for the quickest way possible to the next street over we cut through a covered parking lot and saw a bridge leading across the expressway.

We knew we were on the right track now and hurried as fast as we could.  The Kennedy Center is a very pretty building, but as we were coming up on it we noticed that there did not seem to be any outdoor concert space.  We also noticed as we came up to it that we were the only ones in jeans.  All the men were in nice slacks and all the women in dresses.  This was not looking good for us.  Walking in the door we wondered what would happen to the backpack and thought it might be searched or even held.  No one said a word as we slipped inside and tried to find out where to go.  What we did find out is there are many halls and stages in there and there happened to be three events going on that night.  An opera, a play, and the bluegrass concert we came to see.  After being pointed in the right direction by staff we walked to the back of the building to find the concert had already started all all the seats were full.  Standing in the back we listened to a few songs.  As we listened more and more people came in and pushed their way through in front of us so we could no longer see except for the screen broadcasting above the stage.  Once it got to the point we were squeezed in like sardines we realized it wasn’t worth it and walked out the door.

Heading back to the boat we did stumble upon another concert at a stage just next to the Washington Memorial.  It looked as if it started as a tribute to Indian music but by the time we got there an American cover band had just gotten on stage so we stayed to listen to a few of their songs.  I’m guessing the Indians were not to fond of Country music because after two songs almost the whole crowd had cleared out.  We stayed for a few more but soon the country became too country (a genre we never listen to) and the night became too cold.  Back at the boat we tried to warm up as best as possible, lighting a candle to throw out some heat, but it didn’t do much to raise the fifty-six degree temperature in the cabin.  All I know is that Rode Trip is getting in shortly and I think their heated boat might have a few overnight guests.

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On The Mall

Friday October 12, 2012

We checked ourselves into Capital Yacht Club this morning and for only $16 a day are allowed to use all their facilities including dinghy dock, showers, laundry, and clubhouse.  There’s another marina next door which offers basically the same thing for just a few dollars less, but they didn’t have something we wanted.  Our friends on Anthyllide told us that here you could have all the fountain pop you wanted in the clubhouse.  I’m sure you’re aware by now that Matt is addicted to Coca-Cola and we even have syrup and a homemade soda machine trying to duplicate it although it never comes out quite right.  Loading all our shower gear into the dinghy we tied off and got ourselves checked in and headed straight to the showers.  I feel bad for the family that got in just a few minutes after me because even though there were two other showers I was in mine for a good twenty minutes.  It had been a month since my last one and I was not going to go quickly or quietly.  After we were all clean we walked out to see Andy and John were checking in as well, they had gotten in an hour after us the previous night.  They told us we had to check out the fish market next door and after dropping our shower supplies in the dinghy we walked over to check it out.

The market was huge and probably sold everything you could think of.  They had lobsters and Chesapeake crabs, surprisingly the same size we had caught ourselves.  There were oysters, octopus, and so many fish of which I’m not even sure what they were.  None of us bought anything at the moment but it was fun to wander around and check out the variety they had to offer.  Making our way back to Serendipity we quickly got ready and went back out to see the town.  We didn’t have any museum plans, but just wanted to walk around and see what was there.  We climbed a big hill right across from the yacht club, then through L’Enfant Plaza and were at the Smithsonian Castle.  It was probably less than a mile for us to get there.  We walked through the gardens around it and then across the street to the mall.  To our right we could see the Capital Building and to our left was the Washington Monument.  Through the afternoon we walked to the Capital Building, back around to the Washington Monument and even over to the White House.  By the end of the day we felt like we had seen almost every big sight in D.C. and were completely exhausted.  I can’t even describe how picturesque and pretty the area was, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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