Curacao and Philly!

November 19th, 2017
Cutest license plate ever

Cutest license plate ever

This was a busy travel week. I flew out Sunday for Curaçao, a tiny island 35 miles off the coast of Venezuela that is a former Dutch colony. We have a very small Consulate there, so my trip was a relatively short three business days.

The downtown waterfront where I stayed was very pretty – the buildings are all beautiful colors, and cruise ships come and go.

See the resemblance to the license plate?

See the resemblance to the license plate?

The team took me to a very local place on Tuesday. Wednesday was on the opposite end of the spectrum at a swanky waterside restaurant. Monday night I enjoyed a nice dinner with the Consular officer and his family at their lovely home. The other two nights I walked around the waterfront and enjoyed the sights. Click to see all of my photos from Curaçao.

Local lunch spot

Local lunch spot

View from the Consulate

View from the Consulate

cruise ship

Sand infinity pool with cruise ship at dock

I arrived home late Wednesday night, with just enough time to do a little work on Thursday and get packed for our long weekend in Philly at the PAX gaming convention. We loaded up at Marcus and Simone’s house well before daybreak Friday and headed to Philly. John has been like a pig in mud at this huge convention! Yesterday the Ambassadorks (gamers who work at the State Department) met for a fun and delicious lunch.

While John was having fun gaming, I did some sightseeing. Friday I went to the Mütter Museum, a collection of medical oddities and maladies. Some might consider it grotesque, but I had a blast. There are lots of real specimens in jars, plus a huge collection of human skulls and bones. For example, they have some slices of Einstein’s brain and the tallest full skeleton from a man 7’6”. The highlight for me was seeing the actual liver of the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, and their death mask, which included their conjoined torsos. Really, really interesting. I was interested in going because I read a book about Dr. Mütter a couple of years ago. He was a teaching physician in the late 1800s and a pioneer in the use of anesthesia. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside.

Outside the Mütter Museum

Outside the Mütter Museum

Museum lobby

Museum lobby

Saturday morning I had an appointment at a Ouidad-certified hair salon, and had a good experience there. In the afternoon I visited the lovely Barnes Museum, where Robin Muse use to work. I believe their collection of Renoir is the largest in the world; also lots of Matisse and Cezanne.

Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation

After a full day of fun, John and I went to a local restaurant, Marmont, and had a good meal.

This morning I played in a Scrabble tournament at the convention. I didn’t win, but had a good time! I walked down to see the Liberty Bell, but the line was really long, so I left it for the next time!

City Hall

City Hall

Macy’s, with huge pipe organ and Christmas tree

Macy’s, with huge pipe organ and Christmas tree

Brrrrrr

November 12th, 2017
My life these days!

My life these days!

Wow, it got really cold this week! I had to pull out hats and gloves for the walk to work. It’s been a while since John and I have lived somewhere cold! Flavia was happy that we pulled out the electric blanket last night.

John and I went to see “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center on Thursday night. It was funny, as predicted (I have to admit some of the humor was a bit over the top for me, but I still laughed a lot), and it’s just so fun to walk 15 minutes and then be at the Kennedy Center. We love DC!

Yesterday I ventured out while John worked on War College. I took the bus (!) to the Mall and visited the Hirshorn Gallery and Sculpture Garden and the African Art Museum. I really loved the African museum and want to go back sometime to take a closer look.

John took me to the Tabard Inn for dinner last night. I went there back in the 80s when I was working for RDS. I just love it. It’s in Dupont Circle and is a working inn. It’s very cozy and charming, especially nice on a cold night! They also serve Mountain Valley water from Hot Springs! It’s been turning up all over the place lately (I also found it in Iceland.)

Tabard Inn

Tabard Inn

On Thursday I went to lunch with “my posse,” as John calls it – several really neat women from work. We went to District Commons (John and I also had dinner there Monday night) and just laughed and talked. I’m so happy to have friends again!

I spent two days in class at FSI this week (the foliage there was beautiful), so I made up for lost time by working in the office Friday (federal holiday). I got a lot done since there was no one else there!

Foreign Service Institute

Foreign Service Institute

Happy birthday, Mr. Crippen!

November 5th, 2017
Pineapples, Asunción, Paraguay

Pineapples, Asunción, Paraguay

I flew to Asunción, Paraguay, this week. A 20 hour trip turned into 35 hour trip thanks to weather on the eastern seaboard. At any rate, I arrived in lovely Asunción and worked there all week. I didn’t have much time for sightseeing…just walked around the hotel in the evening. The highlight of the trip was dinner at a fabulous restaurant with Elise, with whom we worked in Juarez, and Kathy G. From Guadalajara! Old home week. And my outbrief with the DCM was with Hugo from Mexico, so everything was very comfortable.

I got in Saturday morning and did shopping for brunch on Sunday.  It was John ‘s birthday, and we hosted a dozen or so from our A-100 classmates and their kids — so fun to reconnect with everyone and meet their kiddos. Good times!

John’s a hit with balloon animals!

John’s a hit with balloon animals!

The 134th

The 134th

Kennedy Center

October 29th, 2017

The highlight of the week was a fantastic meal at Marcel’s followed by a great performance by Pink Martini and Ari Shapiro at the Kennedy Center. We really had a good time. Marcel’s is very nice, and we enjoyed our pre-theatre dinner – plus they take you to the Kennedy Center. The show was just fantastic – Pink Martini is very eclectic and fun. My spin teach in Islamabad used to play some of their music for our class. Ari Shapiro from NPR (yes, that Ari Shapiro) also sang – he has a beautiful voice. It was a wonderful evening – made even better because it’s close enough for us to walk home!

Last night we met Caroline for dinner – she was one of our managers in Juarez and is in town for a class. It was a lot of fun catching up with her.

The rest of the week was pretty quiet. I had coffee with Barb one afternoon, and with one of my managers another day. John and I spent some time deciding where pictures will be hung – we’ve almost got the house in shape!

Bermuda!

October 22nd, 2017
Bermuda

Bermuda

I flew out Monday afternoon for Bermuda, via JFK, and arrived on the island around 10PM. It is a gorgeous place – clean, upscale, turquoise water, yachts, pastel houses, verdant green foliage, and men in — what else? — Bermuda shorts.

Scooters waterside

Scooters waterside

My friend Marcy is the consular chief there, and we had a good time together, along with her small staff. We went out to lunch together one day, which was a lot of fun. It rained a lot while I was there, but it cleared enough on Wednesday for Marcy to take the scenic route home from lunch with the top down on her convertible (perfect car for Bermuda!). We took another scenic route on the way to the airport Friday morning.

I stayed in an old boutique hotel, and spent some time on their lovely veranda having drinks and dinner. Their grounds are beautiful, and the tiny tree frogs sing you to sleep at the top of their little lungs!

Rosedon Hotel

Rosedon Hotel

One of the funniest things was finding Mountain Valley Water for sale at the local market! Click to see all of my photos from Bermuda.

Mountain Valley Water in Bermuda

Mountain Valley Water in Bermuda

When I got home on Friday, John took me to dinner at District Commons – we had a great meal and personable waiter. It’s close enough to the apartment that we’ll likely return.

Saturday I went to the salon downstairs to have my nails done and was pleasantly surprised by the service. Later I ran out and picked up hamburgers, and John and I watched “Beatriz at Dinner” (kind of a downer).

Last Sunday I ventured out on the bus and went to the National Portrait Gallery/National Art Gallery – lovely!