We were literally scheduled to just chill out and have an appropriate lazy Monday the day after New York City, though some of the family opted to go visit some large church or something. Monkeying around seemed much more fun, though I can say I went to a Chipotle for the first time ever, so technically I accomplished something. #goals
We ventured back out to DC the next day, getting as close as we could to the White House because how can you not, and then we had a big nerdy day at both the Freer Gallery of Art and the Museum of National History, both of which I loved. You can only retain so much information, but hey: cool rock exhibits are pretty and science is awesome, kids.
I was surprised that we reach our first big hiccup of the trip this late in the game, as several tracts of miscommunication involved us waiting outside the museum for 3 hours. But this meant that we didn’t get to go to the zoo and I was sad about it, because I am an excited 6 year old. But like, 3 hours in the sun isn’t so bad when there’s ice cream and okay hot dogs and benches and music, so I spun this into something fun, at least. But yeah: instead of going to the zoo, we went to the Bethesda mall, where I thought it appropriate to buy terrible sushi (I was curious and in truth it was okay) and shirts with dogs on them. And shirts that I didn’t realize show everything about my chest, but whatever, because they were on sale.
We went to the Smithsonian Zoo the next day instead, and it was definitely much more of a cloudy and sticky day. We saw cool felines and primates and reptiles and stuff – and in the midst of looking at more otters, the majority of the group decided that it was time to hunt for a bathroom. Of course, as soon as we were almost there, it started to torrent as if this zoo was Noah’s Ark on the first night of forty, and the five in our group decided to take cover under some faux-cave attached to some closed sea animal exhibit. I was impatient – and the zoo would close soon – so I say let’s run to the next covered area in the general direction of the exit, and so everyone handed me their electronics and wallets because I was the only one with a backpack. So we ran. Long story short: my phone thought it was Halloween and wanted to be the Little Mermaid so it hopped out of my shorts because I’m an idiot, but I was like bitch if you want to embody a movie then please be as dry as a Mad Max desert right now.
(My phone is fine. And I apologize for that irrelevant (irr-elephant?) story which now takes up half of this blog post. #slowclap)
More visits in the coming days: the Arlington National Cemetery, which was haunting but I learned lots; and the National Harbo(u)r, which is sort of a summery Granville Island with a big ferris wheel, narrow roads, and more water. Everyone in the group was (half-jokingly?) telling me that I should visit the wine tasting place that was there, but I would then either be alone or the only one tasting wine if we all went. So I opted for frozen yogurt like a sober chump. To keep on theme, we ate spicy crabs at home, at which I predictably did not excel.
Fess Parker 2014 Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, California, USA) $23
Santa Barbara County. Light buttery tones on the nose along with bits of vanilla; ripe apple, pear and a distinct floral twist. Medium-bodied with rounded corners and hints of bitterness.
I ate some of the best pizza I’ve ever had at a place in Virginia called “We the Pizza”, and then I quickly gobble down my thick slices so I can visit the Crystal City Wine Shop around the corner, where I snag a couple of Californian wines (because when in Rome, kind of, I guess?) and cool-looking beers. Surprised to see the Vancouver-based Parallel 49 all the way here, but I suppose I forget how legit big they are now. Like me, when I look down at my gut. wah wahhhhhh
Gruet NV Brut Méthode Champenoise (New Mexico, USA)
Three-quarters Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir. Half-bottle from a wine & beer store in Virginia. Sober amount of toast and hazelnuts with hints of cola-like ripeness. Bits of ripe green apple, with eager mousse giving way to more nuts and rounded acidity. Very pale onion-skin colour; perhaps this was ignored on the shelf and slightly oxidized?
The next day was the fated day we were to be wearing our specially-made house shirts during our grandma’s birthday. Awkward was not wearing them amongst relatives who we did not know (or at least perhaps once met at a wedding last year), but the fact that our uncle introduced every single one of us as if he was George R. R. Martin formally describing the progeny of our bloodline.
Marietta Cellars NV “Christo” Lot Number 2 (Sonoma County 55%, Mendocino County 45%; California, USA)
Syrah (60%), Petite Sirah (28%), Grenache (10%), Viognier (2%). A bit subdued but no shortage of dried flowers, blueberries, a bit of cherry cola, white pepper, and spice. Black cherry and a little transparent on the palate with more dried flowers and a bitter finish. Extracted and hedonistic, though, so put this in the Game of Thrones camp.
So, yes – wine for me is like piano for my brother, though for some reason the patriarch of the family makes some of us perform piano for everyone while we’re drunk, so while my brother plays some advanced Chopin piece or whatever and my cousin plays some fantastic rendition of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, literally the only thing I can squeeze out is Sia’s “Chandelier”, Seasons of Love (which in the moment sounded like Seasons of Inebriation), and Sam Smith riffs because I couldn’t think of anything else. I think I delve into a bad/good rendition of Madonna’s “Holiday” but no one remembers because my brother and our uncles start the ball rolling with the inevitable singing/yelling of Beatles songs. I got requests for Meghan Trainor but didn’t even try, because I am not all about that bass.
(Actually clearly I am.)
We ended up running out of alcohol so some of us drove a couple of highways away to a place called the Pourhouse (seriously, why is everything so far away) and fun times ensue because why not.
So, as we draw to a close on the last few days: we go to the University of Maryland because my cousin is insistent on collecting shirts to places where he’s been (“no, I didn’t actually graduate from the University of Hawaii”), we head to an Italian Ice place called Rita’s because it’s apparently a big delicious deal, and then we hit up another mall. I don’t know – I decide to be kind of excited about a Barnes & Noble because I’ve never been in one, I don’t think.
Thus I conclude my series on Maryland. Conclusion: THIS WHOLE TRIP WAS FUN AND I SOrt of miss it all now. But I’ll be back in New York in just about a week or so. It was nice knowin’ ya, Maryland! See you again soon.