Wednesday we drove up to Ben's little brother's place in Vienna, VA, and got stuck in traffic for an hour. Ick. We ate at the Lost Dog Cafe, where Ben is apparently our waitress' hero because he ordered a float made with breakfast stout. The pizza was pretty good.
Thursday we went to my mom's for food and everything. It was surprisingly non-disastrous! I made Turkish coffee, and it impressed everyone. It looks pretty cool when you make it. It was mad foggy on the drive back, so it took a little longer. We were in bed before 10, which was kinda odd.
Friday we headed into DC to see the exhibit on the Falnama at the Sackler Gallery. It was really interesting - they're divination guides that were often appended to the Koran in the 16th century (in Safavid Persia and the Ottoman Empire). The questioner was to perform a set of recitations and prayers, then think of his question, and open the Koran. The first letter of the first word he saw was the answer to his divination, and there was a key in the back saying with omen to read. There would be a picture, based on a story from the Koran or on the lives of admirable people (including Hippocrates, for example), with an explanation of what it means.
There were also medicine bowls, inscribed with verses of the Koran, which people believed held the power to cure them.
The standards carried on the ends of pikes were pretty impressive, too.
Then we went to Teaism for lunch. Ben's brother went home to nap, and because it was nice out (at the time) Ben decided it would be a good idea to walk from the Smithsonian down to the Lincoln Memorial. Then the sun went away and a harsh wind came up, and we were stuck with the closest Metro station ... back at Smithsonian. It takes approximately an hour to walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the Air and Space Museum. I don't recommend this course of action.
Air and Space was a bit cooler than I remember from when I was like 8. I've always been partial to Natural History (rocks and dinosaurs), but they've got some new(ish) prototypes of drones and spy planes, and an entire exhibit about fighting planes of WW1, the Red Baron, and all that. And? And? They've got an SS-20 and a Minuteman III, standing right next to each other. The SS-20 is easily 2-3 times the size of the Minuteman. They've also got a replica of the Hubble, a bunch of space capsules (Apollo, Gemini, etc), Sputnik, an X1, and X-15, and an X-45A
. There's another one that was really cool, but neither of us can remember what it was called. The camera's downstairs. It could be an X-43 or X-37, maybe.
Apparently there's a second collection on display out near Dulles Airport, at the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is just this huge building full of airplanes and shit.
After that, we met my sister for dinner at Kramerbooks, and Ben's brother joined us eventually. I tried the Magic Hat "Odd Notion," which tasted like a Berliner Weisse without any syrup in it. It was odd, and good. The butternut squash ravioli was excellent, as was the cake.
Then we walked down to the Brickskeller, which I've heard tell about from many sources. They have an impressively long beer menu (longer than the Flying Saucer's, I think), but it has two major strikes against it, in my book. First is that it is organized by country then by brewery, rather than by style. So if you want, say, a Belgian White, you have to scour the list as opposed to turning to the "Belgian white" section. Second, and a much harder strike, is that they only have half to 2/3 of the beers listed. Great, impressive list, but it's annoying to find several you want to try unavailable.
The weirdest thing that happened while I was there was meeting some German people in the bathroom, then chatting with them, part in German, part in English.
Today, we got a fairly late start, then headed home. Only got stuck in traffic for about 20 miles, which worked out to 45 minutes or so. The cats were happy to see us. Time to go chillax some more. Tomorrow is grocery shopping, laundry, and, with any luck, writing.