amanda woke up before me, i assumed to go walk arrow (her dog) and to prepare for work. the night before i had downloaded all my photos, cleared my memory cards, and recharged my batteries. i had a surprisingly restful sleep considering that i was out of my elements. i got dressed and went downstairs where i ate some of the leftover pizza from yesterday. once amanda was ready we left together since i don't have a house key. the weather was overcasted and looked like it'd rain, a great day to be visiting museums. instead of taking the bus then the subway, i decided to walk north to cleveland park station and take the train south directly to the smithsonian stop. i knew i was going in the right direction because i was following other people all walking to the same place. by the time i arrived at the mall it was still 9am, an hour before any of the museums opened. i decided to wait inside the smithsonian castle, which functions as an info center. i bought a bottled smoothie for breakfast. approaching 10am i waited outside the natural history museum along with a bunch of other people.
originally i figured i'd spend the whole day at the natural history museum, but after 2 hours i had pretty much seen the entire museum. i had to try hard to squeeze out another hour. i personally think the american museum of natural history in NYC is the better nature museum. of course that museum you have to pay money while this one is free. for a free museum though, it was pretty good. the dinosaurs didn't really impress me, and neither did seeing the hope diamond.
i spent a long time in the hallway with all the stuffed birds of washington DC and the most impressive thing i saw was the specimen of the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct but now recently rediscovered. i had lunch at the museum cafeteria, cheeseburger with fries and a large fountain drink (i accidently got unsweetened ice tea and was too lazy to get back up and refill my cup with something else).
with 4 more hours before the museums closes at 5:30, i decided to go to the sackler-freer museums with its collection of asian arts, including the special hukosai exhibit. that took just 2 hours. with still plenty of time to spare, i visited the museum of american history. there was nothing really there i wanted to see except for the interactives in the "america on the move" exhibit. why? because when i first started working at squid country safari back in fall 2003, i built a few of the pieces currently on display at the smithsonian. it was weird watching people actually playing the games and i wanted to tell them i wrote it but i didn't think they'd believe me. another cool thing i saw was former-cambridge-native julia child's kitchen, lovingly preserved down to fridge magnets and local yellow pages.
after i was done museuming i sat down on a park bench by the mall with a container of coke and rested for 30 minutes, looking over my NFT maps, planning on where i should go next. my feet were killing me from all that walking and standing around. the sun had come back out and i walked to the washington monument, hoping to score some nice photos of the sunset over the lincoln memorial. by the time i made it to the reflecting pool though, the clouds came back and i could smell the rain. with the storm clouds behind me, i walked in the direct of chinatown to grab some dinner (amanda was busy studying in the library tonight so i was on my own).
by the time i got to chinatown, the sky looked angry and lightning was flashing. i walked down the street, looking for a good restaurant. the weather sort of decided for me: suddenly it started raining and i ducked into the nearest restaurant, full kee.
i saw some reviews taped outside and half the clientele were asian so i figured this place couldn't be all bad. i ordered a bowl of hot and sour soup, a plate of pork intestines, and a serving of spicy fried calamari. in the end it was just too much food for me and it wasn't even that good. i ate half the intestines and most of the calamari - the final bill came out to be $25 including tip. i didn't bother taking any of it home (nobody back at the house would eat it anyway, even if they weren't all vegetarians).
the rain had stopped as i walked to the nearest metro station. i rode it back to cleveland park, where the rain started back up again. after i got a bottle of gatorade from the local 7-11, i walked back to amanda's place (i only got lost once). she was studying in the living room when i called her to let me into the house. i told her about my day and then went to go take a shower before going to bed. getting up from the sofa, i felt every single muscle in my legs screaming in pain.