Sunday, July 5, 2009

welsh food and weird art

Two summer traditions in D.C. were concurrently happening for the last two weeks or so. With the move, I didn't have much of a chance to get to either of them until this week. Well, I guess it was Friday. Hooray for federal holidays during the summer!

First off was the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Each year, the folks at the Smithsonian feature one foreign land and one American region. Last year, I took some pictures of the people and artists of Bhutan. This year featured Wales as the former and soul food as the latter. They highlight food, music, homes, clothing, and any other aspects of life that would be interesting enough to bring people from across the world to share with American tourists in tube socks and fanny packs. In any case, I was excited to try on my Welsh culture for a few hours.

Too bad. We got there a little bit late. Watching paint dry delayed our arrival and the only thing we got to do was try some world-famous Welsh cuisine. You've not heard of famous Welsh cuisine? You must be joking! I highly suggest getting out and finding some Welsh cheese. It's pretty tasty and all we've got to offer. It was a little warm to try the cawl, which is a tasty-looking stew with lamb and leeks and all manners of other vegetables. I think I'll find a recipe and make some in the winter, when it's rainy and more Wales-like around here.

Being disappointed by our late arrival, we headed off on the green line to Nationals Park for another summertime tradition: watching the Nats lose.

Who am I kidding? We can do that for the majority of their 81 home games. We were headed to Artomatic. In its ninth year, it is a random assortment of excellent or subpar art in all media. Nine floors of it in a recently constructed building. I found some inspiration in my photography, as in, I take better pictures than some of the "featured" artists. Maybe I'll try to get some work shown and sold sometime. That'd be pretty rad.

At least this year, I didn't see any naked men running around. That would've made our final stop a little harder to stomach. To round out the day/evening, we headed to a D.C. landmark called Ben's Chili Bowl. It's been an institution for over 50 years. You won't find health food here; but what you will find in abundance is a healthy dose of chili on burgers, fries, dogs, and half-smokes. Wash it all down with a thicker-than-concrete milkshake, and you're good to go. Expect a line, and bring cash. It's worth it.

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