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Oh look, llama butt. What a surprise.

The last thing we did in DC (yes, we were there for a few days!), was go to the National Zoo. We didn’t get there until after lunch again. I know! It’s not that we were lazy, but that with four people in the house and one bathroom, that sort of extends your getting ready time by a little bit.

So the National Zoo is free, but the parking costs about $20 and is a total bitch. There are very few spaces to park. So take the train. Since we’d gotten there late and that we knew the zoo closed at 7, we decided to go see only the big ticket items. Namely, the pandas!

Except that none of them were outside.

And one looked dead inside.

But really, he was just sleeping. All they do is eat and sleep. They don’t do much else.

While we were watching one of the pandas eat. He got up and turned around. His tail lifted up a little bit and I said, oh no. It’s gonna dooky. And guess what? He doodied. And you know, people were all surprised. I said it pretty loudly!

And as a side note, World Market sells a product that enables you to re-enact the scene that I saw.

We ended up skipping a lot of the exhibits indoors (like the reptiles). And though we had time left in the zoo to see things, most of the animals had gone into their night-time abodes and we couldn’t see them anyway.

They were all this fat. Who knew you can store up that much fat eating hay!

Also, if you go see the pandas, make sure to go up the trail some more and take a look at this really cute guy.

It’s a red panda! My telephoto lens tends to distort the colors a bit when its extended like that and gets that milky haze. But the red panda had a really great color. This reddish coppery color.

You can see a few more of these photos over at smugmug.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

Spy on Me

Dec. 14th, 2009 09:00 am
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One of the other things that we did was go to the International Spy Museum. It cost us $18 per ticket. But if you can manage to get your ass up and to the museum before 8, you can get the ticket for $8. That just was not going to happen in my lifetime. Triple J lives like thirty minutes from DC, at least. Even longer by train.

So the spy museum told us all about spies, from the ancient times to now. Most of it centered on WWII. There were some spy equipment. A few cameras and hidden guns and whatnot from history and equipment to look at microdots. They even had a ventilation shaft that you could crawl through, but you know, that crap isn’t padded and my knees are not what they used to be. Plus, a thousand other little snotty children have crawled through those tunnels as well. So make sure to wash your hands before you touch your face after crawling through there.

A cute thing they do at the beginning of the museum is have you memorize your legend (i.e. your secret ID.) There were several to choose from including one for children. A while later, at a computer station, you’re asked who you are, how old, where you’re going and why. They then give you another set of info to remember and you do the same thing at the end of the museum. I found it relatively easy since it was multiple guess and an easy one at that. I was going to Russia to meet Oksana. And the options that I had to like Natasha and Sergei. Had it been a bunch of names that started with O, I might have had more trouble.

The most interesting thing I found was about Mata Hari. Apparantly, she wasn’t the master spy. She was originally an exotic dancer, who, due to her waning beauty, became a mistress to many powerful men. When the war came around, one side asked her to spy on the other, which she agreed to. Then the other side asked her to do the same. She agreed to that as well. But neither side gained any useful information about the other. She just took the money. But according to Wikipedia, which is true in all things, it seems that she wasn’t a spy at all. She was simply a scapegoat.

Overall, I enjoyed the spy museum, but it isn’t something that I think you have to see. If you’re only in DC for a few days, skip this one.

Oh, also, since we had time after the spy museum (we were there for 6 hours or so), we went across the street to the portrait gallery museum. We weren’t hungry yet, and it was as good as any to spend some time.

Totally skippable. It’s all portraits and photos of famous people. One of which was LL Cool J. He had this 12 foot portrait of himself on a throne-like chair that he had painted. He loaned it to the museum. Guess he was tired of looking at himself all day.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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One of the many things that we did in DC was go to the museums. Most of the museums had extended holiday hours and the Natural History museum was one of those. So we went after lunch. (I think we went to Hard Times Cafe, which had delicious chili. Wish we had one here!)

The place is huge. We were there for about 7 hours and we still didn’t see everything. But to be fair, there was also a bajillion people there.


Here we are standing next to a giant squid. I’d always imagined that those things would be much much bigger, but I think that it’s the tentacles that make the length and not the body. Still, I was pretty excited to see it. (BTW, it was freezing there and we all wore scarves and jackets. But by the time we got inside the museum, it was hellaciously hot from the number of bodies. By the end of the day, when everyone else had left, the museum was actually pretty cold.)

There is like an ancient societies section in the museum. It goes from like the dawn of civilization to now and how tall you’d be on average. As you can see, Mr. J hasn’t quite reached adulthood yet.

The one thing that everybody seemed to be crowded around was the Hope Diamond. Now it’s not even all that big. From how everybody talks about it, I thought it’d be like as big as my head. But really, it’s like the size of a baby’s fist. It’s no bigger than that big sapphire Celine Dion wore for her Titanic song way back in the day. Still, it’s a pretty big rock, just not the overexaggerated size that I thought it was.

People were crowded around that thing like it was some magical thing. But I guess I’m just not that into that particular diamond. I wandered off to see the myriad of other gems that they had displayed. I especially like the totally ancient pieces from (I think) Marie Antoinette.

I enclose this with Chris being chomped on by a great white shark. He’s almost as big!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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For Thanksgiving, Chris and I went up to DC to visit Triple J. Mr. J’s cousin always has a huge feast, and so we were invited to come along. And boy, was it a feast. There were two turkeys, three kinds of stuffing (corn, sausage and something else, all delicious), mashed potatoes, gravy, this egg and spinach thing, fruit salad, a whole lot more. There were easily thirty people there and there were still leftovers. I was stuffed. Actually, I was overly stuffed. I shouldn’t have gotten up for seconds, but it was just so damned good.

We had brought chocolate cake to the party. Triple J had brought two types of ice cream (vanilla and peppermint. Mr. J thought it would be festive. I don’t think anybody ate it!) So right after eating too much, Mr. J goes off and gets chocolate cake and ice cream. Everybody was planning to wait just a little bit before eating dessert. I mean, I wasn’t the only one who went back for seconds. But the moment that people saw Mr. J bring out his plate of dessert, everybody wanted dessert, swollen stomachs be damned!

Besides the chocolate cake and ice cream, there was blueberry pie and strawberry pie. I think there was one more pie, but you know, I was in an overstuffed food fugue and I don’t remember much after that.

Any Thanksgiving dinner after that would just pale in comparison. And I totally don’t know what I’ll do next year. Maybe I should learn how to cook better!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Samantha Ling

August 2013

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