What's more American than a Turkish Pancake? Well how about an American working for a foreign institution eating that pancake in a place than specialized in Thai street food 1 block from the White House. Yea, that's how I roll. Keeping it all multicultural a day before the 4th of July in order to honor my heritage, which is none of the aforementioned ethnicities. But that is okay, because G St. Food specializes in many different types of street food, hell I had a donut there the other day that was doughy, tasted strongly of vanilla, and was about the size of a bagel. Typically I need at least 2 or 3 donuts to feel even slightly full (and typically limit myself because then I feel quite guilty) but one of these bad boys is all one needs (see picture below).
Now, after than uber-cultural culinary excursion, it was time to actually live America. Yes, the day of the utmost Americanism (no, not the Kenny Chesney concert) Independence Day just so happened to coincide with me being in town. Just about everything one can do on that day in the city was done. The only thing my group of fellow com-Patriots missed was eating apple pie off of a bison's back while dressed in colonial garb with a 3-cornered hat on which is perched a bald eagle. That, I think, will be saved for next year. It was going to be a slog of a day, and I figured food would probably be infrequent, so I stocked up on some 'Murican style pancakes (peaches and craisins--peaches because they are 'Murican, and craisins because they are a symbol of 'Murican ingenuity, Minnesota streams, and good marketing--who could make dried cranberries a huge hit? Only in America). After a caloric intake most likely well above FDA standards for a breakfast, it was off to the Parade! It was a wonderful showing of what America stands for, which consists of subjecting our youth to march miles in wool uniforms and toot horns while we gawk at their pubescent awkwardness, big cars that just are killing the environment but are oh soooo cool, balloon figures that are out of proportion (cough cough...look outside and you'll be bound to see a human personification), and an apparently attempt at some public diplomacy in Vietnamese culture. Yes, the Vietnamese had a large spot in the parade, and yes, just like the time I saw the Chinese guy leading his tour group thru the Vietnam Memorial by holding a Chinese flag, I did, just a pidge, feel awkward.
Immediately following the parade was a wonderful eh 2 hours say of walking on the dusty, sun-beaten, land-grant imbibed Mall. The theme was "land-grant colleges" and let me tell you, University of Vermont has the best, most exciting major available---Maple Syrup Agriculture Studies---Me venturing into the Catskills, tapping trees, harvesting sweet tree-nectar, and learning Maple Syrup Grading Law? Please, tell me where to sign.
But before I could go get my Graduate degree in Maple Studies, I had to go see the big ol' Capitol Concert. With a Mall under construction and full of equipment, concrete blocks, and rebar, there was limited space and 2 million people who wanted to go see it. What does that mean?, you know, 4 hours of waiting in only 99degree weather with zero cloud cover. Smart? No, could I have died of dehydration, sun poisoning, or have been murdered by a fellow 'Murican for not being 'Murican enough, oh yea. But I am here writing this blog on the 7th, so I made it thru. We did, however,get the esteemed pleasure to see two extraordinary events only by those privileged to come super early 1) We got to see American Idol award winner Phillip Phillips' (or 'Phil Phil' in my terms) first onstage practice of his first onstage performance since rockin the s#*t out of Idol. Chills (not really, as I was unsure of who he was until way after the fact). 2) We saw Matthew Broderick, yes the guy who played in Inspector Gadget, yes the guy who went to war with Danny Devito over Christmas lights, and yes THE Matthew Broderick who played in the only Godzilla movie to ever happen in America try to sing with a Grammy nominated lady who sung like an angel. Was he pulling her "down" and octave? Well lets just say that out of the 3 times we heard their song, he missed the runway twice. But he ended up pulling it out in the end.
Nothing beats John Williams. Unless it is John Williams conducting the Olympic march. Unless it is that all on the grass that calls itself the lawn of the Capitol Building. Yea chills. After 4 hours of roasting, and let me state that I enjoy the outdoor activities: running in complete humidity, doing steps under 100degree conditions, golfing on days no one dares to go out, this one tested my will, but so worth it. A great concert, with my favorite actress from Glee, and a new appreciation for getting to things early. That tent though...cool idea with the lights, projections and such, but NOT practical for firework viewing. So, when Tschiakovsky's 1812 Overture was played, it was a mad dash to the exits. Flags, cups, lawn chairs, they all went flying for the corners to get out. It was a "nice music National Orchestra, but we wanna watch things explode."
As a native Pittsburgher, I was obviously fascinated by the colorful explosive sparkles that are at every Pittsburgh event. Seeing them with the music in the background was quite the experience, though maybe next time the reflecting pool and West Lawn won't be chewed up so that people can actually watch these things. Eh oh well, got to take what life gives you. In this case, it was a heck of a tan waiting for the nation's capital's glorious display of probably Chinese colored explosives. What a grand day!