Friday, May 28, 2010

Monday: Freedom, Free Art And Family

Because we got very little sleep on the redeye, we slept in on Monday and headed into the district around noon. I was supposed to meet a good friend for lunch but he got surprised with a last minute assignment from a partner at his firm, so Josh and I were on our own for lunch. I was originally going to go to Old Ebbitt’s Grill for lunch which is a historic restaurant near the White House, and we decided to still head over there for a very welcome meal. We started off with calamari and mussels, I had the very highly recommended fish and chips, and Josh had the almost equally praised trout. We walked away thinking that other than the calamari, everything was overrated and definitely overpriced. But that’s kinda D.C., isn’t it?

Walking to and from the restaurant we travelled both along the mall and Constitution Ave. We walked by the capitol, and the offices of many of the departments of the Executive Branch. We also got as close as we could to the White House, which is not close at all. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in our Nation’s capitol and I was too young or absent minded to remember some of these great buildings. However, being much older and wiser, I can truly appreciate the history that took place there and based on the enormity and architecture of these structure, I fully agree that our founding fathers were attempting to establish a modern era Roman Empire.

We headed over to the National Gallery of Art, which I was surprised to learn was free to the public. It is an outstanding collection and featured paintings by two of my favorite artists of all time: Edward Hopper and Pablo Picasso.

After that, I left Josh at the Arlington Cemetery and went back to Kim’s place to wait for my cousin Phi Nam to pick me up. It’s been six years since I’ve had a chance to visit family on the East coast and there are a lot of people I haven’t seen in that time. We headed over to my grandparents’ apartment and had dinner with them and my mom’s cousin Co Zung. Everyone brought food and my grandma, Ba Noi, made food (against strict orders). So we had quite the feast.

Phi Nam’s brother Quang came over after dinner and brought his wife, Shana, and their two beautiful children, Nicholas and Talia. I had never met any of them, so it was really fun. My uncle and aunt came over to watch the kids, while we all went out for drinks after dinner along with my other cousin Cu. Towards the end of drinks we were joined by Co Zung’s brother Co Hung, and it was a great evening of swapping stories and catching up. My favorite part was learning how people have mistaken Cu for being Korean while other people have thought Quang was black… And they're brothers! It was a really nice evening, and I will have to come back soon with Cath so she can meet them all.

Tomorrow’s agenda: Tour Nationals Ballpark in the morning and head up to Baltimore in the evening for an Orioles’ game.

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