Back in D.C.

I came back to Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening. Monday was the first day of my time at The Hill this summer. My friends and family in California wished me well in “the swamp,” and maybe they’ll be glad to know things are off to a good start. In the first place, I’ve always been a fan of travel, so going somewhere new, or even somewhere old, so long as it’s not where I am now, brings immense pleasure. I enjoy the uncertainties and opportunities for learning — I think normal people call those mistakes — inherent to travel.

Meeting new people, too, is one of the central joys of my life. And boy, are people in D.C. friendly. It always makes me laugh when people tell me that my home city of Los Angeles is so laid back, because that tells me right away they haven’t actually spent enough time there to get run over by some industry executive on her way to Starbucks. (As long as that red hand’s flashing I’m allowed to be in the crosswalk, man!) People here in D.C. aren’t too much different, anyway, as I learned when I accidentally walked in on the 3 PM coffee break rush at the Starbucks in Farragut Square on Tuesday. Yet they’re much more talkative, and indeed willing to chat or say hello as they pass one another on the street, or share an elevator, or wait for the Metro.

You can't hear it, but there was music playing. Trust me.This was more apparent at lunchtime. A coworker reminded me of the food trucks that surround the Square, so I decided to see how much the roundup has changed since I interviewed some of the operators of these small business vehicles on one of my first assignments at Reason in January. I saw quite a few familiar faces, like the famous and friendly Fojol Brothers who, I was informed in January, do not operate a food truck but rather a traveling culinary carnival. It was an apparent newcomer, though, who caught my attention: the so-called K-Bob Truck, whose menu I immediately recognized as made of Persian dishes.

nom...?Normally on food trucks, you’ll see Arab, “Mediterranean,” and vaguely Middle Eastern options, but us Persians need a little more sumac in our lives to keep us going, so I thought this would be a good fit. Unfortunately, the chicken wrap that I ordered was not something I’d call impressive. Without yelptarding too hard, let me say that the sumac was indeed the best part of the wrap…the truck’s card implies that the business is run by a guy named Ali Hessamfar.  I wish him the best of luck in what appears to be a fledgling business, and I might go back at some point to try a rice-based dish, given that wraps aren’t really our thing anyway…after all, I always advise people against ordering non-Persian dishes at Persian restaurants, since the recipes are usually a little whack. (Hummus? Pfff.) Still, it’s not that hard to get the lettuce-to-chicken ratio right, or to buy pita instead of nasty paper-flavored flour flatbreads…meh.

She's got the pie and I've got the pork.While I nommed, I got to appreciate some of that good vibing I was talking about earlier…people chatting in line to place their orders, the grass and benches buzzing with conversation and activity, and then a random little bit of exhibitionism, courtesy of some girls who I think I overheard saying they go to American University during the year. One girl, wearing a short red dress, played violin on the corner with that confident, almost self-involved disregard for passersby that always intrigues me about street musicians. They are, after all, usually trying to get people’s attention, yet they seem so aloof. Anyway, then another girl came up and took the violin from the first. The first girl picked up a guitar and they started to play together. Three more young people were sitting on the curb next to them. I asked if they were friends and they said no, they were just enjoying the music. So random.

By then it was time to go back to the office and continue plugging away on my top-secret journalistic inquiries, but I managed to grab two more photos, these of some very irreverent birds having their way with the titular statue of the Square:

Farragut gets no love Good thing these things were decommissioned after the War of 1812

I would finish off with something inspiring and quaint to say, but I really thing the birds cover it. They’re just so DGAF.

Edit: Derp…at first I called this a trip to McPherson when it was indeed Farragut Square.

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