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10 August 2008
Travel adventures in your own backyard
This weekend: alllll about Maryland

It's not often you get to be a tourist close to home. For some reason, this past weekend was all about schlepping to various sites in Maryland. Besides the fact that I work there (in Bethesda), or perhaps because of that very fact, MD is not a state I tend to spend a lot of leisure time in. But this weekend provided a cornucopia of cultural crusades:

Friday night
Sylvester's Saloon
Essex, MD

We journeyed to this fascinating establishment outside Baltimore in order to check out two bands, Full Throttle and Highwire. The bassist from Mark's band, Model Citizens, is in the former, and our righteous Vegan baker friend Kirsten is the lead singer in the latter. Both bands play hard rock/heavy metal covers. The music was loud, the drinks were strong, and the people-watching was FABULOUS. What a time warp! It was quite a trip in the way-back machine, to be certain. From the wood paneling on the walls, to the dulcet tones of Judas Priest, to the big hair and tight jeans of the B'more crowd (hon), if I squinted just a little I was transported back to my days at the West End Youth Center dances in the mid-80s. After the show we crashed at our friend's place in Fells Point, to break up the long drive home.


Saturday shopping interlude
everywhere and then some

Unfortunately the next day we didn't have much time to wander around Baltimore, which was truly a shame as the weather was unusually gorgeous. It was also a perfect day for the Virgin Mobile Fest, which we've attended in years past. Apparently the Gogol Bordello set was superlative. I was just excited to see a long-lost DC fave, Shudder to Think, in the lineup. Does anybody know if they're playing anywhere else in the area in the near future? Oh, Craiggy, we miss ya!

Anyway, the rest of our somewhat-hungover Saturday was spent shopping for a small dinner party with two of our Burner mates. On the menu: some Ethiopian and North African treats. This required several stops at the various ethnic grocery stores in our neighborhood, including the Middle Eastern Halalco, Asian H-Mart, and predominantly Latino Bestway. Oh, and we stopped at plain ol' whitey-whitebread Giant too. The result was a splendid repast of Doro Wat, Misr Wat, injera, and Moroccan Carrot Salad. Mmmmmm, just like mom used to make (not so much)! Plus some great planning about how four grown people who barely know each other are going to share an RV for a week on the Playa. Sounds like it could be next season's reality TV, but I think we're all of the same low-maintenance ilk and there will be minimal drama. Stay tuned!


Saturday night
80s house party
Severna Park, MD

After dinner it was off to the next stop on our whirlwind Maryland tour: an '80s-themed house party near Annapolis. (This time the big hair and pink & black ensembles were amusing on purpose.) Gummy bracelets and legwarmers and fishnets, oh my! The hostess was even dressed like Strawberry Shortcake. We arrived late but managed to dive right into the fun, and even caught up with some friends we hadn't seen in years. Good times, good times. On the way out, I noticed a bowl of glow bracelets and grabbed a fistful, with the host's permission of course, as these will be the perfect bike decorations at the Burn.


Sunday brunch
M Cafe
Chevy Chase, MD

Sunday morning came around all too quickly, and it was time to clean up and head out to a baby shower for a co-worker. Normally this type of activity makes me want to stick a fork in my eye, but this was a cool group of ladies at a very chill restaurant, and we had an excellent time. The neighborhood, just to round out the Maryland cavalcade, was a very swanky spot featuring stores like Versace and Cartier, not to mention the corporate headquarters of The Ladies and Gentlemen of Ritz-Carlton across the street. Not my usual hangout, to be sure!


oktapodi feels oh so pretty, but wonders how one is supposed to ride a bike in all this poofSunday afternoon costume shopping
Unique Thrift Shop
Falls Church, VA

Last item on the to-do list before crumpling into an exhausted heap: check out the thriftalicious bargains at our neighborhood secondhand store. One never knows what one will find. It's the ultimate treasure hunt. I actually had pretty low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised to find an entire cartful of fuzzy, sparkly treasures that will make fabulous costumes at Burning Man. The find of the day, however, was undoubtedly what must be The World's Largest Crinoline. I saw it poking out of a row of spangly dresses and shrieked with glee, startling the other shoppers who were there for more legitimate reasons. This thing is HAY-YUGE! It's somewhere between Miss Havisham and full-on Scarlett O'Hara on steroids. Two layers. Several miles of white crinkly material. All for the bargain price of $20. Now if that's not The American Dream, I don't know what is. I just have to figure out how the heck we're going to get it to Sacramento, where we'll meet up with our RVmates and drive to the Playa. I may have to purchase a separate seat on the plane for it. One of my many evil friends suggested I actually *wear* it *on* the plane, which would pretty much require United to give me my own row. In first class. Oh, the possibilities... I wonder what Elliott.org would say about this one...

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