Like living anywhere, sometimes I get caught up in the day-to-day routine and forget that I’m living in this amazing metro area and need to take advantage of all it has to offer.
So over the course of a week, I ended up playing tourist and visiting a few sights that I had on my to-do list and hadn’t yet gotten to.
First adventure: taking my bike on the Metro for the first time. It was quite fun, cycling to the Takoma Metro, about a 15-minute ride away and then going up the elevator (you’re not supposed to carry bikes up the escalators) to the train platform. We got on a train bound for Glemont, a few stops away and the end of the Red Line, and from there cycled mostly on a bike path to Lake Needwood, a destination on my to-do list.
I had scouted out ahead of time the best route to get there: cycling on a busy road for maybe 1-2 miles and then picking up the Matt Henson trail, which is pretty rural and not well-traveled, with the path alternating between pavement and wooden boards. From there, we pcked up the last few miles of the Rock Creek trail, which runs for miles and miles from the heart of DC to the outer suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland. We rode to its northern terminus, at Lake Needwood, which turned out to be a lovely park with walking trails, picnic benches and canoe rentals. We walked around the lake (about a half-hour) and by then it was starting to get dark so we pedaled as fast as we could to the nearest Metro station after stopping a couple of times for directions to make sure we were on the right route.
The next day I volunteered for the Arabian Sights Festival, a festival of movies from Arab countries, held at the National Geographic Society. I handed out comp and will-call tickets for a couple of hours and then watched a stirring film based on the true story of a woman in Cairo who is HIV positive and finally comes out on national TV in hopes of easing the stigma associated with AIDS and find a doctor who would perform surgery on her (she had been rejected by doctors because of the fear surrounding the illness).
The highlight of this touristy week was going to see War Horse at the Kennedy Center. I had only been to the performing arts center once since moving here, just about two years prior to this. This time we sat up in the first balcony and enjoyed the spectacle of amazing puppets mimicking the movements and whinnies of horses as well as a moving story of a boy and his horse.
Since then, I’ve been caught up again in the basics of daily living here and socializing with friends. But I’ll have to make a point of building in time for playing tourist more often.