Thanksgiving Trip

With the onset of the Holidays, and with Kyla finishing her finals, we did not have very much time to blog since my parents came to visit. However, we did go to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. over Thanksgiving weekend and have a few pictures to post. This first photo was taken on Thanksgiving Day at Four Rivers Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia. We made it there in time for dinner and had an amazing culinary experience. We have missed eating authentic Chinese food ever since we moved away from having access to Vancouver, and this place was a great reminder of what we were missing. We'll still have a traditional turkey dinner for Christmas, so it was nice to not have to cook for Thanksgiving this year.
I very much enjoyed visiting a large city and it made me miss living in one. We ate lunch the next day at White Dog Cafe after taking a long walk down to the Reading Terminal indoor market for breakfast. The places in which we ate dinner, breakfast, and lunch all come highly recommended from us! We also went to the Institute of Contemporary Art after eating at the White Dog and spent a couple of hours admiring the photograph collages of Douglas Blau and the artwork of R. Crumb.

Next, we went to Baltimore. It was the first time any of us had been there. I was looking forward to seeing this city as it has a reputation for being gritty and I had some unfair preconceived notions of what it would be like after watching HBO's The Wire. Many of these notions were proven to be wrong, as you can see from this photo of the Inner Harbor. Parts of this area of downtown reminded me of Seattle and not at all of the Baltimore of my imagination. However, as we drove through town we saw many neighborhoods of boarded-up row houses that were very bleak. What I mostly realized was that Durham was a small-scale and less dense version of these rougher parts of Baltimore. It was good to see a mix of architectural styles throughout the city, and while I preferred Philadelphia as a potential city to live in, I could really relate to Baltimore as some strange hybrid of Durham and Seattle. Baltimore also is home to the Walters Museum which we visited and had the opportunity to view Japanese autumnal paintings and other works of art.

Finally, we made it to Washington, D.C. You may recall a photo we took there a year ago in which a pregnant Kyla is booing in front of the White House. We were in much better spirits, but with much worse weather. I will not be at Obama's inauguration in January, although Kyla may try to attend, so we had an early celebration on this cold and rainy morning. Simone was a trooper and made it to the Smithsonian Museum of American History with us. This museum recently re-opened and it was our first visit, and I must say that we were a bit underwhelmed, especially after the museums we had visited in Baltimore and Philadelphia. It had some great exhibits, to be sure, but it is obvious that the museum is far from complete and some of the exhibits did not have very interesting (or even well thought out) themes. The paths leading in and out of the exhibits are also very vague and lead to high congestion, which is especially bad for a museum that attracts as many people as the Smithsonian does. There was a fun children's exploration exhibit, though, that Simone was happy to roam around in, and we got to see Julia Child's preserved kitchen which was a treat.

To the right you can see Kyla and Simone next to Bill Clinton's famous saxophone. Abraham Lincoln's top hat was also there, but somehow this made for a better picture.

We made it safely back and are in the process of sending out our Christmas cards and packages. We will be in Edmonton next month for Simone's first birthday. She took her first steps today, even though she can barely stand on her own. I think it's just a matter of weeks before she is walking around the house. I can't believe that she is almost a year old already.

Merry Christmas to everybody (in case we don't post again until afterwards)!
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