An Expat Life: Nicaragua Blues and Ruse

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bourgeois Town

Well, I just got back from Washington D.C., the nation's capital.... Some of you already know the reason of my visit: to interview to become a Special Agent. Well, folks, it wasn't meant to be.... My background of brewmaster and east European studies didn't parlay well into a career of security and bringing down bad guys. I guess I could've got 'em drunk and bored them to death in the damp, basement room, with tales of Balkan despots....but I digress....

Actually, it was a great trip, a wonderful experience, if only to keep my interviewing skills from becoming too rusty in the hazy rain forests of Nicaragua. It's been awhile since I posted anything on this site, other than the occasional youtube clip and some videos of my offspring. So, here are some of my observations from my recent D.C. trip.

First of all, I must say that I had forgotten just how 'fast-paced' the U.S. is, especially on the East Coast. When I arrived, I was whisked around with great efficiency, from airport to subway station, to taxi stand, etc... One of the first things I did, post-interview, was to check out the Smithsonian. To me, this is a cleansing, reflective exercise. Our nation has a proud and illustrious history. This fact will not be lost upon you if you live in a place like Nicaragua. Don't get me wrong, Nicaragua has a colorful history....

Sadly, though, I found that the American History Museum was closed for renovations, so I quickly changed course, and went to the National Museum of Art. What a great idea! I've always been an avid fan of art. At one point, in my pubescent days, I fashioned myself to be somewhat of an artist. Although my output was modest, by absolutely all accounts, I enjoyed the genre. Naturally, my interest carried over into an appreciation of the artists themselves, their work, and how it fit into the chronology of the craft. So, I spent the better half of my 'free', non-interviewing morning, perusing the labyrinthian maze of our nation's art collection. In particular, I was drawn to the Spanish and Italian masters of the Dark Ages, the iconography of the earliest frescoes and religious themes, as well as the Impressionists of late 19th century fame. Seeing a Van Gogh up close, studying the brush strokes and really taking the time to interpret the paintings, I was really fortunate to be there on a lazy Thursday morning, sans the crowds and hubbub.

Well, gazing at masterpieces can make a man quite hungry, I looked for a bite to eat. But, seeing that it was such a beautiful day, I decided that I would take a nice little 45 minute run around the National Mall. Taking in the din of befuddled schoolchildren from Iowa, sunbathing interns, silver-haired politicos and the like, I ran around, taking it all in... I got to see, firsthand, a loud protest at the Capitol by organized dump truck drivers, honking and making a commotion, while driving around the for everyone to see. I went up and asked one of the drivers what they were protesting, to which he responded, 'high fuel prices man!'. Seems to be a theme these days....

At any rate, after my run, my next plan of action was to check out the Museum of the American Indian. Luckily, I resisted the urge to eat junk from an outside vendor, and decided instead to take my chances on museum fare. I was rewarded with some of the finest museum cuisine imaginable. The restaurant was divided into 5 regions, offering distinct choices that included buffalo chili, tamales, baked salmon, and seafood bisque. I ended up going with the baked salmon, with an asparagus salad, and turnip greens. This was simply the best meal that I'd had in the States in quite a long time. The museum itself was somewhat confusing, as the thematic approach only covered a limited amount of vast, Native American experiences. Overall, the mood is heavy, as the national guilt of Native American eradication is prominently portrayed. ...This fact actually makes me more proud of my country, as we have the confidence and intellectual honesty to explore this topic.

Finally, after a full day of American Indians and Art, I wandered over to the new baseball stadium over by the Navy yard, on the east side of the city. Wow! What a stadium! Now, if the Nationals can only match the impressiveness of the stadium... I showed up around 5pm, a little over 2 hours before the first pitch. For $5, I got a cheap bleacher seat, and moseyed down to try and catch a batting practice home run. Instead, I watched as some annoying 'ball hawk' was snagging everything coming our way. Otherwise, my experience was absolutely positive. The Marlins beat the Nats in a closely fought, late-inning back-and-forth affair. Afterwards, I quickly made it back to Arlington, via the ever-dependable Metro.

All in all, it was a memorable day....and a worthwhile trip to my homeland.

2 comments:

Kelley said...

The food at the Museum of the Native American is the talk of the town - so you had a bit of serendipity or somthing...
They also have some Nicaraguan pottery there. It's in the gift shop at crazy jacked-up prices.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rembrandt, how's my Godzilla picture with all of the lightning on Monster Island coming along? :-)