Greetings from Dystopia City!

(As scrawled in a newly-exposed piece of street art we encountered on our walk yesterday.)

Re: the walk–
We took advantage of the wonderful weather and lack of other plans to join roughly half a million (at least? I feel like that’s not a bad estimate?) others at the Tidal Basin yesterday to witness the practically-peaking cherry blossoms. Even though it’s soooooooooooooo HashtagTouristy, the trees Japan gifted to us 104 years ago are undeniably picturesque and are a quintessential symbol of Spring in the City. Google Maps tells me we took a 2.9 mile route (one way), so I was able to snap pictures of a number of other (generally Spring-y) things along the way and back, to include newly-exposed pieces of street art. Also there are some particularly ace shots of Ollie in the mix.

(Also pardon my bad-itude right now… I’m still coming to terms with our dear Hoos getting knocked out of the NCAA Tournament :(.)

21 dystopia city

^^^ The namesake piece of art of this post! I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster regarding this! When we neared its intersection yesterday, I got excited, because I knew this piece was here and I’d always wanted to photograph it. Part of its aesthetic, however, was an awning extending from the building that read “WHAT IT IS,” which no longer seems to exist. When I peeped this yesterday, I was actually under the impression that it was a new mural with the same character and new commentary on all the destruction/construction around (which saw the demise of the “WHAT IT IS” awning).

However, the only photos I’ve been able to turn up of the missing awning show that the piece on the wall actually remained unchanged! And it was only in the adjacent building being torn down that the dystopian greetings were revealed. Also, said photos are from this anonymous blog on the website of one of the UVA a cappella groups, so basically everything’s just coming together in weird ways right now.

Update: When I zoomed in on my photo I noticed it was signed and so learned a bit more– Antarah Crawley painted it in 2011. He hasn’t tweeted in a year and a half, but when he did, sometimes it was in the form of pointed haiku. (And yes, while my basketball-fueled bad-itude has me being tongue-in-cheek and hyperbolic about the tragedies of missed photo opportunities, I do realize that there are far greater implications and consequences of the vast stretches of buildings that are being torn down in DC than the Instagram-That-Got-Away…)

Anyway. Back to all-cherry-blossom-everything…

Actually… not quite to the cherry blossoms yet. We got sidetracked by some food trucks, and while Marlon was back at his food truck of choice trying to figure out why his falafel burrito a) had no falafel and b) was so poorly wrapped that it barely qualified as a burrito, I entertained myself by taking photos of Ollie.

That last one is funny as a gif, but this still is probably my favorite picture I’ve ever taken so I’m making sure it gets the appropriate attention.

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50 cherry blossom jefferson memorial

On this decidedly dystopian day, the worst part was not the crowds, or falafel mix-up, or the grossly overflowing trash cans, or the fact that Caps fans on every corner were trying to touch my dog; but rather how hard it was to find ice cream on our way home, and the fact that we ultimately had to stop in at a Walgreens to get some.

We wrapped up the day with gimmicky cherry blossom beer (AND BASKETBALL, BACK WHEN BASKETBALL STILL MATTERED TO ME) and also I took some polaroids. The end!

Santa Catalina Monastery

Okay wow. Been home nearly 2 months… I think it’s about time I finished up with all this! (Except this won’t even technically be the last post because I’ve got some SuNsEt GiFs I’m still working on…)

The last thing we did in Arequipa was visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, which our hotel was situated just across the street from. It had a ~$12 (40 soles) entry fee, and you were expected to use and then tip out a guide, but it was worth it. The monastery– still functional, though on a much smaller scale than when hundreds of nuns used to reside there– was like a small village in its own right, with its own streets, and gardens, and courtyards. Our guide, Ada, was pretty funny in her sometimes irreverent telling of the history of the monastery and its customs. She capped off the experience by offering us a deal on the pisco she sold on the side, but which needed to be kept on the low down because obviously that was behavior unbecoming of a monastery guide. So we winked and nodded when she offered to “direct us to an ATM” after our tour, and followed her to the courtyard of the restaurants across the street after she’d secretly procured the liquor from her locker in the monastery. We’d been meaning to get a bottle anyway, and she had one with a cool bronze label, and we actually couldn’t think of a better way to come into a bottle of pisco.

Then we got a cab from the hotel to the Arequipa airport, which offered us really fantastic views of the Misti volcano we’d caught peeks of throughout our stay.

Oh right, then we flew to Lima, where we drank minibar beer and watched Making a Murderer, then slept and got up and went to the airport and (after a three hour delay) flew to New York. When we were scheduled to get in at 9 pm it seemed like a good idea to go see our friends in New York and sleep for a few hours on a couch before heading back to the airport for our 7 am flight to DC, but when our arrival got pushed back to midnight that plan seemed less sensible. So we spent the night in JFK and it was pretty miserable. Part of it we spent at the diner there, which was allegedly 24 hour, but which claimed to be closed for the first two hours we were there. When they finally let us in the service was almost comically bad, but the booths proved more comfortable than the floor we were on previously, so it was still an upgrade. Then our flight was delayed for nearly an hour– after we’d already boarded the plane. We were so happy to finally make it home, and Mops and Poppy even brought Ollie home to us that very day!