I was going to use a picture of the Washington Monument, or perhaps the FDR Memorial (by far my favourite on the National Mall), but, in light of the events that have been unfolding in the week since I visited Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. seems more appropriate. This is not a political blog, so I will just say here that this week has been a shocking reminder of how far Dr. King’s dream is from being a reality.
A few days before the shooting at Ferguson, I climbed on a train in Montreal and set out for my summer adventure. Fifteen hours through beautiful countryside, and, later, busy cities, brought me to the US capital. Up through my connection at Penn Station, the trip was the same one I took a year ago—but so much has happened since that I’m not sure it can be called the same trip at all. This time, I was travelling on my own, to meet some friends I’ve never seen before for a weekend of sightseeing, good company, and a gloriously awful Lifetime movie.
Washington—or at least what I saw of it—is a beautiful city, with lots of green space and interesting people. The zoo is a free public park—no gates or lines or tickets, just plenty of human and animal families enjoying the day. The National Mall is rather like America itself: enormous, not quite sure where it fits in, and full of people from every corner of the globe.
At the end of a long day sightseeing, we made our way to an Ethiopian restaurant, touted by our local host as a highlight of the city. It was my first time eating Ethiopian food, but it certainly won’t be my last! I’m never one to say no to spice, and injera (the traditional bread cum spoon cum plate of Ethiopian cuisine) is often gluten free.
It was a truly wonderful trip: I’m so glad to have seen the friends I’d never met before, and will think of them each time I cook up a batch of wat with my own berbere spice mix.