Sunny Sunday

So today was the first really nice day that I also didn't have anything scheduled and didn't have to work. Since it was also Earth Day I decided I should bum around DC in the sun and not take my car anywhere. It was a pretty good plan, until I got back exhausted, hit Google Maps Pedometer and realized I'd walked about 7 miles, combined. Needless to say I am skipping the exercise bike today.

First I went to the National Art Gallery to catch "Paris in Transition" before it leaves next week. I love black and white photographs, particularly of urban scenes, so I'm really glad I managed to get down there.

I had myself a little picnic by the tidal basin, which is quite possibly my favorite place around here so far. Even with kids screaming and whatnot, it feels peaceful to me. Guess it must be the water. The only bad part was that my allergies were going berserk, so I couldn't stay long.

I did need to get some produce, so I went to check out Eastern Market. It is much smaller than I expected, and I'm not a fan of flea markets, but I did get some good-looking, cheap fruits and veggies, so I can't really complain.

I had to lug my fruits and veggies around my next stop, the National Zoo, so that was not necessarily good planning, but at least some animal didn't attack me and steal them. The National Zoo is big, free, and looks to be very well kept up. I didn't see an enormous amount of it — I just wanted to check it out and get some idea of what was there. And apparently I was not the only person who thought "it's warm, it's a great day for the zoo!" So it was pretty packed.

Here are pictures from the day.

All in all a fun day, and I am going to sleep so well tonight. My only complaint is that I had to buy a day pass for the Metro. I have a SmarTrip card, which you load with cash and then swipe per journey, which is much more convenient to use than the cards, which you have to stick through a slot. London's subway system uses something similar, called an Oyster card, and they guarantee that the max charge per day on the Oyster card will always be less than a day pass. DC Metro makes no such guarantee, and as a result, you get charged per journey all day if you use it for a lot of stops. So I had to buy the day pass, and I'm standing there at the Smithsonian Metro like a touron trying to get my card in the slot because I haven't used one since, like, my first week here. If Metro really wants people to use SmarTrip cards more because they're faster and less wasteful, they need to start putting a cap on the daily maximum on your card.


The breath-catching weekend

So my double weekends of crazy traveling are done. Cincinnati for a most awesome St. Patty's day weekend and then Las Vegas for the IA Summit, which was excellent.

Vegas would not be my first choice for a trip (or even in the top 10), but I still have fun there. It didn't hurt that I left up about $25 on the slots. High roller me puts in $5 or $10 a night, so there was really a range of leaving up $25 or leaving down $25 that I could have fallen into.

It also helped that I went with my friend and fellow IA Katherine. The last time I was in Vegas was for her wedding, so that was weird but also kind of awesome.

The conference was very good (so. many. ideas.) and I do really enjoy walking the strip and gaping (this time I wore sandals that normally stand up to anything, but my feet haven't had time to toughen up for sandals, and we did a TON of walking, so I had bloody stumps Saturday night), and Vegas people watching is the best. Also the scariest.

Highlight: On Friday night we went to the Vegas Hofbrauhaus. Which means that I did indeed to go two of the three Hofbrauhauses in the world within one week. I feel like that's some kind of accomplishment. Now I just have to get to the Munich one...

I have to say, though, I prefer the Newport Hofbrauhaus. It is cozier and less sterile — it's designed to be a place you go to reasonably frequently, whereas the Vegas one looks like it's set up so you can go in, have your German beer hall experience, and never come back. The lager was still Hofbrau tasty, but the menu was totally different (no pretzels and bier cheese!!!). And the biergarten was not actually outside...it had one of those Vegas cloud-painted blue ceilings. So, uh, go Newport. Man, I miss the Hofbrauhaus already.

But anyway, photos are Flickred.

After all the crazy traveling, it was time to kick back this weekend. I did do way extended happy hour Friday, and went to see Madeleine Albright speak at the Rockville Borders. Still getting used to living in an area where Madeleine Albright can just drop into the local Borders. Heh. Aside from that there has been much cleaning of my disaster area apartment. Yuck.