Washington DC the memorial city

My time in Washington DC has been one of the best ever, I was visiting a very good friend of mine and I found great new friends and people. At first my impression of the city has been one of a huge memorial site. All the buildings, stations, statues, parks and fountains appear to be a memorial to some war or some military corps and so on. The fact that the very same day I went out to discover the city was Memorial Parade day enhanced the sense of celebratory architecture of the city.

Summer in Washington DC is hot, so plan to visit Washington DC accordingly if you don’t want to experience a subtropical temperature with humid sticky weather at times drizzly yet still hot. I have never sweat like that.

Back to the parade, we waited the passage of the parade about middle way and it was quite a long wait, I mean between two carriages or music bands there were long period of nothingness that took away the parade momentum in my opinion. Yet, the show was there, the army troops in uniform marching orderly, the bands with colours, standards and ensigns. I could not but sympathize  with how hot they surely felt and admire their determination.

My favourite part was the historical divisions but I caught only a couple of those. However, one interesting thing was to observe how Americans manage to get the show bizz even in a Memorial parade. The old generals waving sitting on the bumper of vintage looking cars, the “sponsored” heroes usually surrounded by flashy and fringy clouds of metallic red white and blue and the hovering eagles, the music stars, yes you read me well the American Idol winners or something like that were there too, I think they were suppose to be somehow related to the army in some way but I found them to be quite out of contest and I think they felt it too.

All in all it has been a nice experience but I would not plan a visit to Washington just for the parade that we left before the end because of the heat and scorching sun. I discovered instead a plethora of museums, galleries and artistic events that constellate the city scene and this is a very valid reason for visiting DC. The Smithsonian institutes even presented me with the chance to see a full exhibition on Japanese prints of mount Fuji by Hokusai among which shine one of my favourite art pieces ever: The Wave. It is truly mesmerizing in its simplicity.

I strongly suggest to include Washington DC in your itinerary if you are a museum traveller, from painting to ancient pottery, sculpture gardens and portraits passing by space related technology and the biggest collection of aircrafts I never thought possible to find in a single building, Washington surely has something for you.

I am looking forward to hear your stories and views about Washington DC.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Drag Queens are taking over the sport field

Cheerio,

Following leads to get kick started on one of my project I stumble upon the Drag Kick ball match in Washington DC as part of the gay pride week events. SDB and I both thought that such an event ought to be interesting and fun, I mean  how often do you see Drag Queens doing sport? To be fair I didn’t even know what kick ball was until I arrived at the field. For who is wondering, kick ball from what I gathered is a sort of baseball played with a football and no bats. The event was a hit with the local judging from the amount of public in and out the fences. A Drag Queen team is great fun to watch, the warming up looks like a cabaret show with jazz hands and all the trimmings. It is all about swaying and stretching as if you do it while dancing in a disco club with a kaleidoscopic motion of glitter, feathers and unconventional sporty outfits. One of the ladies even went as far as wearing high heels prompting the organizer to state that any liability for injuries were totally up to the players. The game was quite fast paced, the weather unpredictable as usual in Washington went from sunny to drizzly but the overall show was quite amusing. On base two the lady was bitch slapping the air dancing her way through the game, whereas on the next base the queen was giving attitude in retribution. The most glamorous of the pitchers won her round and headed back to the team corner swagging in a way worthy of Victoria Beckham. The running between bases was at time hilarious with uncoordinated and choreographed  chase enriched by screeching reminiscent of mid-century ladies playing sport for the first time in their life. The public was cheering and laughing and few lucky ones won gym subscription and a ticket to the Madonna concert; the guy who won it didn’t get very popular by admitting publicly that he was not a big fun of Madge.

The only thing that let me down a bit was the lack of commenting during the match, I would have loved to hear some real dry Drag Queenish humour commenting the event.

All in all it was a great afternoon and fully worth it the low price of the ticket. I could not but think at last year when I did attend the Bear Race in Helsinki in which bearded Drag Queens race each other in various running styles. I am adding some exclusive pictures never seen before just for you. If you will ever have the chance to attend a Drag Queen sport event I cannot but suggest you to go because even if you don’t like to watch sport like me, you are going to be in for an amusing treat.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, the Drag Queen team was the winner of the match, go DQs go and next year please bring it on with a Cheer-Queen-leader group!

Highlights

Indeed I did set sails (well wings to be precise) and started the “on the road” part of my round the world trip. First stop USA. These first days have been overwhelming and I had to adjust to this new life style so I did not have much time to think at posting. But I am back on track and now I know a bit better how to manage my schedule. So here some highlights from my first couple of weeks in the US of America.

The Flight

Getting on the flight I felt full of expectations and dreamed plans were running wild into my head. I could not yet fully grasp the reality of the situation. In the days before my leaving I got so tired that I actually felt asleep for the most part of the flight but not before getting a glimpse of the amazing farewell that Europe organized for me. The afternoon was dying and it did it in a glorious poem of golden rivers and lakes in between the clouds. I was quite surprise of my falling asleep as I am usually not that good at that particular task but I arrived far more rested and ready to rock than ever before in a long haul flight. So I strongly recommend to get so tired in advance of a departure to be knocked out during the flight.

NY Garment District, Manhattan

I spent my first three nights in NY, it rained a lot. When I left from Italy I booked only my first night in a hostel thinking of finding something once on location. I ended up spending a third of my time finding a new place where to sleep. Beside the suggestion of not doing something like this if you have only a short time to spend in a particular location, I had the time to discover places I did not know. I visited the Big Apple a couple of times before and I did what tourists do, this time it was a completely new experience as I did not have a schedule and I am not allow to indulge in shopping. Wondering around Manhattan I came across Bryant Park. This park is a little gem, the very nice and calming ambience is enriched by a table tennis area, a free to browse open library, a wi-fi hot spot, tables, chairs and live music again free of charge to enlighten and refresh the resting workers or the lucky tourists that found their way here. A very nice, and apparently highly appreciated by the locals, sandwich bar is also located in the park with prices in the average for the area.

NY Greenwich Village and Soho

A stroll across these areas during a rainy day made me discover scenic streets views and some street art. This vintage inspired mural was the backdrop for a parking lot. My mind could not stop making up stories about these two characters, how did they end up together? What their life was like? Why was she with him and was it willingly or not? And so on. So I decided to pay my respects and take some shots of it. Not that far from this location and probably inside the limits of Little Italy, yes I kept getting lost, I found a more “professional” sculpture. This art piece consisting of a young woman afloat on an inflatable ring stroked me quite as random but even more so when I found out what it really portrayed according to the artist’s view. The sculpture in fact named Survival of Serena” honoured Venice and its former name “La Serenissima.” Despite the sculpture is actually quite nice and it won prestigious prizes, I found the link quite weak and slightly insulting considering Venice’s beauty and history, but there you have it, modern art is not my favourite cup of tea.

DC and the Eurovision Song Contest

After my period in NY I moved on to visit one of my dearest friend from my time in London, SDB in Washington DC. Unexpectedly we found out that the Austrian Embassy was going to stream the Eurovision song contest live, so amused by the idea we immediately decided to go and join this event. We actually found out once there that we were part of the history of Eurovision as this was the first time ever that the contest was streamed live in USA soil. Now for who does not know what the Eurovision Song contest is, I am not going to try to explain it as you have to see it to appreciate it. However, I want to point out that this yearly appointment with the so called Eurotrash (and I do not intend this derogatively I love my Eurotrash and camp events) is usually relished best with a huge amount of alcohol and good company either at some friend’s place or, even better, in gay clubs with wide screens and a cheerful loud crowd and flashy disco lights. Now, the Embassy did actually offer a bar and a mostly European crowd, but I would not say the environment felt as relaxed and appropriate to the Eurovision experience, especially because here it was in the middle of the afternoon with a whopping tropical heat outside. Nonetheless, Eurovision worldwide broadcast services and Austrian Embassy staff thank you very much for making me part of Eurovision history and allow me to be one of the few that probably has ever watched the contest in an Embassy.

The County Fair – Virginia

A Sunday out and about from DC brought me and SDB to the DeLaPlane strawberry festival. A Washington in locked down for a non advertised bike rally delayed our escape from the city of a while but I got to see more of it so no big deal. Finally we drove up in the countryside hills of Virginia, beautiful and serene surroundings and still a tropical temperature. Now, if you have ever asked to or heard Americans speaking of county fairs and such events, you will have probably encountered the funnel cake subject. They all seems to have a craving for this delicacy. For the Finns out there the funnel cake is a slightly oversized (oh well it is the US in the end) tippaleipä, for the rest of Europe it is a sweet deep fried unleavened batter traditionally served dusted with powder sugar. For the Italians I would say it is a variant of our cenci di carnevale. The fair was not the most exciting ever, quite small and interestingly enough all the strawberry boxes were marked “produce of California” but I want to believe that they were as local as they were passed for. Nevertheless, I had a jolly good time there, observing a country style events, people strolling, eating and interacting, stands of traditional food of which my favourite was the crab-cake sandwich and an oversize, even for my hands, strawberry-lemonade. Oh and yes you are correct, the funnel cake stand sells also deep fried Oreo and twinkies…I guess a take on the healthy Scottish deep fried mars bar.

So for now this is all but stay tuned for reportage on the Drag Kick Ball match, the Memorial Day in Washington DC and many more events that are stirring in the cauldron on this side.