I’m back from Chicago and was feeling like I needed to feel like I was really back in DC, so I set out for the Mall this afternoon.
It was really hopping.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival was going on under tents set up on about a quarter of the grounds. There were three parts: Columbia, Rhythm and Blues, and the Peace Corps. I just went to the Peace Corps section, where current and former volunteers along with people from countries where the program is active demonstrated crafts, cooking, wine making, tea making and a paste made from the nuts that is a base for many cosmetics. It was mobbed, so I just wandered around and enjoyed watching some women from Peru weaving cloth on looms, women from Kenya making baskets, men from Mali dying and making cloth bags that are sold in Hallmark stores here in the US (who knew?), and women from Morocco weaving rugs, which is a communal activity.
To get out of the crowds and heat, I then ventured into the nearby Natural History Museum and thoroughly enjoyed the Nature’s Best Photography exhibit, with some amazing photos of animals, landscapes and vegetation.
I then wandered back to the Metro via the sculpture garden, where people were lounging under trees while others waded in the shallow pool with a fountain.
On the Metro, I was reading The Post and learned that I had missed an Indonesia festival going on at another part of the Mall. And I got to talking with a guy wearing a Dalai Lama t-shirt who turned out to be the producer for a big outdoor talk by His Holiness outside the Capitol, at the far end of the Mall. He told me that he produced the big Jon Stewart rally that my friend Tim and I went to the day after I moved in here, and he’s going to be producing a big HIV/AIDS program on the Mall next July that will include entertainment by Elton John.
Always something going on down there this time of year.