Friday, 22 December 2006

welcome to america

So, after an flight that was far-too-long, we landed in Dakar. I took my sleeping pill and slept through most of that, including take-off, my favourite part of flying. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep through enough for it to be anything other than another excessively long flight. We eventually landed at IAD [international airport Dulles], in washington dc. Steven's poor parents got up at 4:30 in the morning to fetch us. We took the scenic route through dc to their house in Owings Mills, as far as I can tell, a suburb of greater baltimore.

Day 1 was spent in somewhat of a haze. We arrived at 6am. By the time we got to the house, it was about 8:30 or so. After a nice warm shower, there was a lovely breakfast. Feeling a little more alive, I was given a tour of the house, followed by a walk around the neighbourhood and then the garden. Thankfully steven's mother lent me both a lovely warm sweater and a coat, so I didn't freeze to death.

Then, we went into baltimore, to the lexington market [I think], which was not what we were expecting, as it was almost entirely food stalls. We then went for lunch, to a lovely restaurant called Sotto Sopra. And while I'm sure philly would appreciate links to all these things, I just woke up and can't be bothered. After that we went through the Baltimore basilica. It was really beautiful - especially interesting was the reversed arches underneath the building. The first builder read the plans incorrectly and did not go deep enough, so they had to put in reversed arches in order to support the enormous dome above. They recently did some restoration and while doing that, they dug deeper down there, so that they could have a chapel, as they wanted to originally. There's a picture of some of this on steven's blog.

After that some of us were a little worn out, so we drove back to the house and had a rather lengthy sleep... Which was followed by supper, which included some rather strange rice. It was a purple-black colour and tasted rather nutty. It was very nice, but it was kind of difficult to wrap your head around the fact that it was rice.

Yesterday, Day 2, saw steven and I get up at what we thought was 8:30. Since we were supposed to be leaving the house at 9:15, this was a little distressing to me, at least. Luckily the clock had been set to the wrong time and it was only 7:30. We had breakfast, which included crab cakes, since we forgot them for supper. They were very nice and, surprisingly enough, went quite well with the berries.

Off we went to dc, as steven was meeting a woman at the university there. His parents and I wandered about on the mall. We went to the Freer Art Gallery, which was very cool, filled with Asian art. Also of interest there, was the peacock room - a dining room designed by Whistler to house Leyland's porcelain collection. It spiralled out of control while L was away and so there was fighting over payment, etc. It was utterly fascinating and if you're ever in dc, I suggest you go see it. Next was lunch, which found me hungrier than I thought. we ate at a lovely little cafe beside a frozen piece of water that had people ice skating. Then it was off to the National Art Gallery, which was having an exhibition of some of Rembrandt's prints. we also looked in the National Gallery's east building, which was for more contemporary and modern items. Then we met up with steven. Just before we went home, we stopped by the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial - both of which were kind of depressing, but certainly worthwhile to visit.

In the evening, we went out to another restaurant, this one a little closer to home. It was called Linwoods and was quite lovely, particularly since we were in an area that was not very crowded. Unfortunately steven's mother was not feeling well and so did not join us. We had delightful food with lively conversation of scientific matters. When we returned, we found that steven's mother was feeling much better, so she joined us as we strung lights upon the christmas tree.

Today looks like being a more easy day - steven's sister and her family arrive at BWI [Baltimore Washington International airport] this afternoon, from where they live in Minneapolis/St. Paul. We might do some shopping, so that I don't have to spend the entire trip wearing steven's mother's clothes [after all, what will I do when we go to New York?]. So, with that, I'm going to shower and have breakfast.

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