DC 2016: Monday May 2nd

Instead of my usual hotel breakfast, I did the East Coast thing and went to Dunkin Donuts. I walked north like a salmon swimming upstream against a current of commuters. I saw Russia House, thus answering someone's question: Did the Russia House still exist? Alas, by the time I saw it, I had forgotten who'd asked the question.

Needing more caffeine, I asked Foursquare to tell me about nearby coffee. One thing led to another, and I was soon scarfing down an omelet at The Diner, a 24-hour diner. It was good, but I somewhat regretted having this second breakfast as I continued waddling north.


When I asked locals what I should visit, they kept mentioning the zoo. I didn't really think of DC as a zoo town—wouldn't the exotic foreign animals here be like exotic foreign animals elsewhere? Then again, folks kept recommending it. I went and had a great time.

A specialized device: telemetric dummy kori bustard egg. To find out how to incubate kori bustard eggs, zookeepers would replace a newly-laid egg with a highly-instrumented artificial egg. It had temperature and orientation sensors, plus power, microprocessor and an antenna to transmit data to a computer.

Some folks looked at pandas.

The room with all the panda-camera-monitoring screens was the Giant Panda Behavior Research Station. I thought "They should call it the Pandopticon" and thought I was so very clever until I searched the internet and saw other folks had already thought of it.

I happily walked around the zoo for a few hours. Then the sun burned through the fog and drizzle and I unhappily sought out shade and air conditioning.

The place I thought of as the "elephant barn" was actually the Elephant Community Center.

It had a display of training tools: a Target (brightly-colored ball on a stick) and a Pointer (a blunt metal rod). No sharp hooked ankus. Maybe that elephant trainer lore about ankus-necessity is a myth.

The sun kept burning down. I gave up on zoo-walking; if I kept it up, I was going to keel over from the heat.

I left the zoo and had a tasty late lunch at Open City. Then hopped on the metro to find a tourist attraction that was inside out of the sun.


The Smithsonian's Sackler gallery is very much out of the sun; it's mostly underground.

There was a display of art by folks from Turquoise Mountain, an organization that trained folks in Afghanistan regional arts. If I'd researched and planned better, I could have timed my visit to see an artist working right there in the museum. As it was, there was a big space (large enough to accommodate an artisan and many neck-craners) with some pretty carved wood barriers.

There was more Asian art on other floors, but not much compared to what I was used to (maybe because I lived near the Pacific?).

Tuesday: Navy Museum, Hirshhorn, American Indian, Natural History [^]

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