Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I was lucky with the weather the ten days I spent in Washington with my two sons, James and Sean, and my sister Paula. They've had a lot of snow this year but not while I was there. Usually a sweater was enough during the day and a light jacket in the evening. Happily Sean was able to loan me the latter during my stay. It was restaurant week and we ate some amazing meals at several lovely places that would normally be way out of our league. I stayed with Paula in Maryland first, then with Sean and his two roommates, Courtney and Piper (below left), then with Paula at the Best Western Georgetown. It was wonderful too to get to know James' girlfriend Morgan. She works at Anthropologie but managed to get quite a bit of time with us. She went to Marlboro College with James but they've really got to know each other here in Washington.
We all went to two excellent plays together; Mike Daisey's The Last Cargo Cult at the Wooley Mammoth and Lydia Diamond's Stick Fly at the Arena Stage Playhouse in Virginia. Paula and I always enjoy going to the Kennedy Center but this weekend's attraction wasn't a favorite of mine. Shen Yun Performance Company is headquartered in NYC and is associated with the new religion Falan Gong.
Huge groups of beautifully costumed dancers in coordinated patterns and with acrobatic maneuvers danced to western orchestral type music composed by members of the troupe. The "operatic" solo performers had less than world class voices and sang what translated as bad poetry espousing, I assume, Falan Gong dogma. We were really glad we hadn't brought the others.
I walked, walked and walked all over the city each morning. It was particularly exciting to spend time on the Potomoc. I visited both the Gangplank Marina and the Capital Yacht Club, and although both were fine, the latter really appealed to me.
Our plans are to be there in "Scott Free" at the end of May! Rather ambitious as we sit here in Trinidad eighteen hundred miles away.
Weeks before I had emailed my old friend Clare Shea and made arrangements to have lunch with her during my visit. We haven't seen each other for probably twenty years. We were both in the Peace Corps, she in Ethiopia and myself in the Philippines. We traveled to Senegal together many years ago. She hasn't changed a bit! We met at the National Gallery of Art and afterwards I spent hours wandering throught the gallerys.
Also alone one morning I visited the National Gallery of Women Artists in their beautiful converted Masonic building. The permenant collection is very interesting but unfortunately I was between special exhibition dates. Paula and I also spent time in the Museum of Native Americans and were impressed with the huge variety of work there. We really only had time for one floor.