Wednesday, May 20

Gallery Pl.-Chinatown

Next Station: Art with a side of rain.

I've never been to Chinatown in Yokohama or Koreatown in Osaka. I've never even been to the now defunct Italiamura in Nagoya. But I have been to Chinatown in NYC, so when I headed to Chinatown, D.C., I was expecting something a little grittier than I got.

Actually, I didn't really have plans to go to Chinatown at all, but after I subwayed it over to the Gallery Pl. - Chinatown station and got to the door of the National Portrait Gallery... and found that it did not open for another hour and a half... I thought, what the heck, I'll take a stroll around. In the rain. Without an umbrella.

Beauty Hair Shop
Hair Salon

No, I don't speak Chinese, but I can read some kanji, so it was a fun little challenge to look at the signs in Chinese and get the gist without actually being able to "read" them.
(That and it says "Hair Salon" on the sign inside the door.)

Goethe Institution
In D.C., China shares a border with Germany

Yes, Chinatown was not the narrow, people-on-the-street, shops and vendors at every turn, straight-up Chinese neighborhood that I was expecting. More like some organizations, some Chinese establishments mixed in... and the big gate that I subsequently saw in State of Play and was so pleased with myself for recognizing. But it was cool enough, and certainly an experience.

Three Meiji's Please
I just learned, in my internet investigation, that in Chinese, the above kanji apparently means "sandwich," and is romanized "sānmíngzhì".
Go figure.

Quilts for Obama

A little gem I did find in my meanderings was the DC Historical Society, which is currently displaying an exhibit of quilts made by people around the world in celebration of the inauguration of President Obama. In my fragile state, I was easily verklempt, once again, and in spite of the kid trying to make off with my camera - or a hug - it was a wonderful time spent looking at the quilts and reading about the folks who'd put them together. I even had to take a minute at the end to get the verklemptness out of my system before moving on.

If only we really could bottle exchange students...

Let the elephant be your guide.
In front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library, looking toward the National Portrait Gallery.

So I strolled about a bit more, biding my time until it was of an appropriate hour to go back and meet Melissa for lunch. From her office, she, Matthew and I footed it over to Chipotle for my virgin sampling of the delectable burrito delights they had to offer. De. Lish. Us.

And on the way back, I did plunk my foot into a rain-filled hole in the sidewalk. But Matthew lent me his umbrella for the rest of the afternoon, so there was a bright side.

Back to Gallery Pl. - Chinatown Station
I love the D.C. subway!

Now that my belly was excessively full, I tried my luck again at the National Portrait Gallery.

Now That's Abolition
John Brown

Let the verklemptness continue. Maybe it's the times, the winds of change and hope, but while at the portrait gallery, seeing the actual photographs with which we're so familiar from our textbooks, reading about the brave men and women who were not content with things as they were, enough to stand up and do something about it, making sacrifices and taking risks, all so that they and we could have a better life... verklempt, verklempt, verklempt.
Our world is as it is because of them.
And our children's world will be as it is because of us.

Andrew Jackson

Sharing the building with the portrait gallery is the Smithsonian American Art Museum. More Good Times. Add free on to all the artsy goodness, and it's a satisfying way to spend an afternoon.

Through the Blinds
The Kogod Courtyard. Really cool. But warm.

Taking a Break
Luce Foundation Center
(third floor of the museum)

Running in the Great Hall
The site of Abraham Lincoln's 1865 Inaugural Ball
Imagine, little boy?

TV Land

There it is.

I spent many the hour at the galleries, but I was still left with a couple to kill. So I started walking, and happened upon a most welcome sight: Ye Olde Starbuckes. For soy chai latte and a chair, out of the rain.

And that was a lovely ending to my rainy day.


Blogger Tabag said...

Looks like you're having a fun time in DC. I wanna go exploring with you!!!

8:37 PM

Blogger Arazaree said...

I love the DC subway too! It makes me feel like I'm on the set of a Star Wars movie. :o)

4:54 AM


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