Are-bore-eat’em. Not sure why this word trips me up. But then again, a lot of words trip me up. If you’re unfamiliar with the meaning of Arboretum, it’s a botanical garden that specializes in trees and shrubs exclusively. In the case of the U.S. National Arboretum, there are plenty of types of trees, like apples, maples, and dogwoods, but, hands down, the highlight is the Azalea Collection.
Last spring, when I was making my pros and cons list of moving to D.C., high on the positive side was that I would witness historic events, like Presidential inaugurations.
Now I know how Tokyo residents felt when the Summer Olympic Games were postponed last summer. I suppose we all have to wait four years now.
Even without a coveted spot on the National Mall, I can still witness history, just by walking down the sidewalk (until reaching the security checkpoint). It is an incredible sight to see National Guard troops marching where vendors would have been selling Biden/Harris souvenirs and completely empty streets that, ahead of an inauguration, would have been bustling with tourists.
Officially, Inauguration Day commences at noon on Jan. 20 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Instead of a traditional inaugural parade, President Biden will catch a Secret Service Uber straight to the White House. A “virtual parade” will begin at approximately 3 p.m., but I’m still not clear what that even means. In the evening, instead of the traditional glitzy inaugural balls, there will be a primetime television program called “Celebrating America” hosted by Tom Hanks. That airs at 8:30 p.m., because 8 p.m. was too early and 9 p.m. was too late.
Visit the website of the Presidential Inauguration Committee for more information.
When traveling, I try to remember important information about the places I visit. However, after a friend called me to ask for my advice on a certain vacation spot, I’ve discovered that the information I have amassed over the years is absolutely no good to anyone.
Here’s a sampling of my most inappropriate recommendations to date:
Hey, I’ll be in Denver a few days. Anything I should do?
There’s a mall on 16th Street called…the 16th Street Mall. And the airport has the highest quality public bathroom toilet paper that has ever touched my vagina. You’ll be very high the entire time you’re there, so everything will be interesting. If you did Denver right, you’ll come out of your fog while sitting at a roulette table in Black Hawk.
Is Seattle a cool place?
You must be thinking of Portland. Just kidding! Seattle is for cool kids. Make sure you pack plenty of graphic t-shirts and colorful sneakers to match beanies of every color. The true mystery of Seattle isn’t where the mystery soda machine went (Google this later), but it’s that somehow, every store you walk into has an amazing soundtrack. From the Jimmy John’s to the CB2 to any of the 133 Starbucks, everywhere you go, your favorite songs mysteriously blare throughout the establishment. Except in Pike Place.
You lived in Atlanta for a while, do you think I’ll enjoy my visit?
Everything, and I mean everything, is legal in Atlanta. Las Vegas, NV has more restrictions than the capital of the Dirty South. Gun powder in your drank? Coming right up. Walking on the highway? Casual. Outright stealing? As long as you’re white and polite. Dance party in an abandoned, underground rail station? Who needs ventilation?!
Should I plan a family vacation to D.C.?
If by family you mean you, your husband and the twink you share, then yes. Otherwise, there’s nothing for straight people to do in this town.
Where should I stay in Boston?
It doesn’t matter. Everywhere you go, you end up at the same place. It’s like being inside an M.C. Escher drawing, while on some amazing ‘shrooms. Their “T” is the Cadillac of public transportation, but you haven’t lived until you’ve been a passenger in a cab that drives on the sidewalk. Cabbies will do this for five bucks extra. Oh, and don’t stand next to or touch the statue of John Harvard. If you inhale deep enough you can smell why.
San Francisco is so nice this time of year…
San Francisco is nice any time of year. But what is really suspicious to me are the locals. Everyone there is too nice. Like they are up to something. So, if you haven’t been, you should go, seriously, it’s beautiful. Just don’t talk to people. They are aliens. Also, of note, the homeless and vagrant population tend to not be so nice and may, on occasion, toss cups of their urine in your direction.
This year, I’m staying close to home. I’m thinking Houston for a weekend. I have a few friends there and they’re always talking it up.
Houston smells in a way that can cause you to contract cancer through your nose. It’s like getting shot-gunned by 30 chain smokers inside an elevator at the Excalibur in Vegas. Yet, the Margarita’s are amazing. Ah-ma-zing. You’ll need to drink them continuously to soothe the burning sensation in your throat.
I dream of traveling to Hawaii.
Go to Maui, for sure. It’s like walking around in a postcard. From the trees to the weather to the birds, everything is perfect. And it gets really old after a while. “Is that another rainbow? Geez. These gays and their agenda have gone too far.” It is worth it to endure this torture only to have the world’s best hummus at Athens Greek Restaurant in Lahaina. Yes, you heard right. Eat Greek food in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I know I live 15 minutes away from Miami Beach, but I want the experience of driving a few hours to bathe in the same beach, but a little more north.
Then head to Jupiter, FL. It’s a beach town very, very far from South Beach (a whole 90 minutes up I-95). It is also very, very far from New Jersey (a whole 17 hours down I-95). Making it the perfect place to hide former witnesses from the Gambino crime family trials. There is one fine dining Italian restaurant where dinner for two costs about $200. A price I gladly paid to be seated by Bartolomeo “Bobby Glasses” Vernace’s widow.
I’ve never been to New York City.
Fear not. People that actually live in NYC have seen less of the city than you. My first piece of advice is that unless you have drank water in Cancun, you do not have the proper intestinal bacteria balance to eat a hot dog from a vendor, a cheese pizza from a bodega or a slice of cheesecake from a diner. Continuing on the food theme, stay away from the Pig & Whistle. And, most importantly, you will never get tickets from Tickets for the show you want to see.
The same way you can’t not notice this building, you can’t not be moved by the collection. The National Museum of African American History and Culture feels like a sacred space. A Sunday school dedicated to celebrating the richness and diversity, as well as educating and preserving the hard truths, of the African American experience.