Oct 30, 2012

District of Columbia (3)

Now that we talked about the connection between a big cigarette brand, a shaded boulevard and two Italian dudes (see the earlier posts District of Columbia (1) by clicking here, and (2) by clicking here), we can finally get to what we did on the Saturday evening of our weekend trip to America's capital. GABROEN was there together with Atlanta friends Joanne and Jeff, and Joanne was very happy to show us around her home town. Thinking she had planned the perfect weekend schedule for us, it was Jeff who actually had a close-to-heartattack surprise birthday for her up his sleeve. This party had been in the works already for weeks, and although there had been some close calls of someone blowing the surprise, Joanne was not even remotely suspecting anything. The only detail not worked out ahead of time was how we were going to get Joanne out of Son and Richard's home for about 2 hours on late Saturday afternoon, for all prep-work to be done and all surprise friends to arrive.

We had walked the whole day, first from Son&Richard's to the Mall and along most memorials on the Mall's west side, and then at Trucktoberfest, a festival with dozens of food-trucks at Union Market on the city's northeast side. So we were getting pretty beat by mid afternoon, and picked up a bunch of hairy balls at the Union Market florist before heading back. Yep, you heard that right: a bunch of hairy balls.

A word of advice: some say to get a puppy if you want people to speak to you in the street, but hairy balls work equally well. The florist insisted their official name is 'bulrush', the biblical plant used to make a basket in which Baby Moses floated on the River Nile.  So the dozens of people who spoke to us on the way from Union Market to the metro station, in the metro, and on the way from the Dupont Circle metro station back home now think they witnessed the passage of the biblical bulrush.

But after doing the research for GABROEN's posts on the origin of "the Mall", of the "District of Columbia", and on "bulrush", the florist was terribly inaccurate. Nothing biblical about the bunch we bought. Their latin name is Gomphocarpus physocarpus, their South African name balbossie, which translates to ball-bush,  not bulrush. And their English name? Balloon wild cotton (as the balls appeared to be filled with fluffy seeds that now adorn a certain D.C. metro car as well as the house that was soon to be the place of a surprise party), or - who would ever guess - hairy balls.

Anyway, we were pretty beat returning home with the hairy balls. But the strategy to get Joanne out of the house within an hour of arriving was developed throughout the day. "Joanne, we really want to go to the Hotel W rooftop terrace for a cocktail, watching the sunset". And that worked out beautifully.

When we returned, the surprise seemed to give Joanne a near heart attack, and the party was ready to rock 'n roll.

GABROEN's trip to D.C. is now a month ago, and a lot can happen in a month. Actually a lot did happen over the last month. Rather than getting a heart attack at her surprise party, Joanne got a new job, put their Atlanta house on the market, and moved to San Francisco. So we went to D.C. with our ATL-turned-SFO-based friends. Very relevant to Son&Richard's neighbors down 16th Avenue, we had three presidential debates in the last month, each one a testament to the mind-boggingly crazy  circus the 2012 election turned into. And unlike New York City and the Jersey Shore, D.C. turned out to be on the good side of superstorm Sandy yesterday. Case in point: GABROEN needs to pick up pace in posting blogs. Keep reading - it's nice to see the number of page views, and a nice incentive to pick up the pace.

1 comment:

  1. It appears you must now plan a West Coast trip and straddle your time between San Francisco and San Diego! San Francisco is probably my favorite U.S. city, but I did love D.C. when we visited a couple of years back.