Sunday, June 29, 2008

2008 Caribbean Carnival and Bhutan

Some time after Ari finished work on Friday, we picked him up at a celebratory cocktail party at PS 7, an upscale restaurant not far from his office. For dinner, we decided to revisit a restaurant we had loved on Larry's last visit to DC, Georgia Brown's. Ari was extremely pleased with the results of the meeting (which btw, only began with his co-workers at Starbuck's before moving across the street into corporate headquarters, silly me), and had partied so hearty on free drinks at the cocktail party that Saul needed to drive. Since Ari needed no more to drink, I had a Peach Bellini while we waited for 20 minutes in the very pleasant bar area for our table. The food was even more delicious than we had remembered and the service even more delightful. The waiter packed up a nice tray of their delicious corn muffins and biscuits for us to have for breakfast. Ari, as happy and poised as I have ever seen him, treated us to dinner.

The Caribbean Carnival, which we attended last year also, passes within two blocks of Ari's condo. It was even bigger, better and more colorful than last year. Around 11:30 a.m., we took some beach chairs and settled into our usual spot and found that the judges stand had been moved this year to a point only a few yards away. This allowed us to get some great photos and movies as performances took place in front of the judges stand. There was even one performance of which we managed to catch a few seconds before the judges ran out to stop it as "parade inappropriate." Considering the tenor of this celebration, that is pretty inappropriate as you can judge yourself--nothing really pornographic, though. The weather, which had gone from hot and sunny to dark and threatening in the space of two hours, held off raining on the parade.

One of the less colorful photos in the slideshow is the bald-headed mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty, throwing some beads to us. Ari is very proud of the fact that not only did he take the photo, but he caught the beads as well.

It was very difficult to choose from among all the wonderful photos and videos we took, so I have included a few short videos to give the flavor of the dancing, culture, and steel drum bands.

At the beginning of all this celebration, Adele called on Saul's cell with some rather bad news. The EKG had shown that Mom has a slight leak in her mitrial ventricle. It is not an emergency room situation, but she needs to see a cardiologist for further examination right away. We are hoping it can be handled with medication. The condition is probably age-related. There was no need to be home any earlier than planned.

We spent the afternoon admiring our photos and resting up from the heat. For dinner, we consulted the new issue of The Washingtonian, which contained their recommendations for the Top 100 Cheap Eats. We chose a Chinese place in Rockville call Michaels Noodles and it was both incredibly delicious and incredibly cheap. Dinner for the three of us was $35. Ari was thrilled because he had been missing the home-style Chinese food of Hunan Homes in Los Alltos, CA, and now can get his fix within a half-hour drive. After dinner, we decided to go see a movie in Rockville, but the movies we were interested in seeing were all beginning an hour later. While we were waiting, we took a stroll around downtown Rockville, where a large crowd had settled into the town square to see Bee Movie on a large outdoor screen. Saul and I had seen it and deemed it ho-hum. Ari wanted to see it, but didn't want to sit on the concrete benches or grass in the heat. The town center has recently been turned into a very, very upscale planned neighborhood in the style that is becoming so popular now with twenty and thirty-somethings. The pendulum is beginning to swing back to the type of urban, walk-to-the-corner ice cream parlor, play with the kids down the block type of neighborhood in which I grew up. This generation appears to be moving away from the suburban, half-acre lawn, high maintenance, drive-to-the-mall type of existence to which we all aspired and I have actually achieved. By the time we returned to the theater, I decided I was too pooped to see a movie. We were glad we had not stayed because within minutes we heard on the radio that there was a severe thunderstorm warning for the exact area we had just left. The sky became black with clouds, but then they followed us back and we arrived just as the lightning show was beginning. I immediately fell asleep and was only vaguely conscious of the rain pelting down.

This morning, we slept late. Saul and I finished packing and we all decided to make a brief visit to the Folklife Festival taking place on the National Mall. Larry's sister, Susan, and her husband,Ted, visited Bhutan last year with a tour, and Matt Lauer of the Today show was there last year on day 3 as part of his "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" tour. I doubt if I will ever get a chance to visit, but it would definitely be on my Top 10 list. Although we could only bear the 90-degree temperatures for a little while, we were able to absorb a brief taste of the pleasant and exotic nature of Bhutanese life and crafts. I am dying for a pair of those boots!

When the heat became too much to bear, we headed for a favorite breakfast spot of ours, also on the 100 Cheap Eats List, called Hollywood Cafe East in Wheaton, MD. We drove back to Ari's after brunch, loaded the car, and headed for home.

When we arrived home at 5:30 p.m., Mom was asleep and Jess and Alex were anxious to get on the road to avoid a storm. When they left, Mom awoke feeling okay and I made us all salami omelet sandwiches on whole grain toast, helped the girls shower, and read them the next chapter of Samantha, by Anne West Strawbridge, the first "grown-up" non-picture book I had ever read as a child. Then, Saul (who had cleaned up the kitchen) came in to tell them a story about how Shmuel had lost his third tooth. Sami lost her loose tooth over the weekend, but saved it to show us before putting it under her pillow this evening for the tooth fairy.

I hope this coming week will be as satisfying as the last one. I am worried about the assessment on Tuesday and what the doctor's will say about Mom's condition.


Ari said...

Happy & Poised = Drunk

sabasenders said...

I don't quite see it that way. To me it equals relaxed and enjoying one's self.
I had a fantastic time during this weekend. The foof was fantastic. The entertainment equally great. The company very social and entertaining.

Ari said...

I also enjoyed the foof.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame you guys can't have any fun without me! You all really need to get out more! :)