City Park in New Orleans is a perfect place to escape the hustle of the city and relax. It is larger than Central Park in New York, with a number of attractions throughout, including the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
There is an impressive piazza just across the street.
The street itself is lined with Live Oaks, complete with Spanish Moss.
The Arrival Garden is colorful, with the flowers growing up the wall.
There is a nearby sculpture garden, as well as sculptures scattered throughout the gardens themselves.
The walkway was in full bloom.
Most of the gardens were destroyed by the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina, but with donations and volunteers from all over the country it has recovered nicely.
The Train Garden is designed to represent New Orleans in the early 1900s. It has over 1300′ of track, and on weekends they run the trains.
The Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden was completed by the Japanese Garden Society of New Orleans.
Throughout the gardens are well placed sculptures to accent the flowers and plants.
City Park is home to more Live Oaks than any other urban space in the country.
A view inside the Conservatory of the Two Sisters.
A final look back towards the gardens.
And the Arrival Garden becomes our Departure Garden.
As a spectacular bonus just across the street is the Casino Building, which is being restored. Just outside on this beautiful day was the Cafe du Monde beignet truck!
No need to fight the crowd in the French Quarter, we had wonderful, warm, powdery beignets in the relative calm (along with 30 4th graders on a field trip!) of the park.
Once a year many of the embassies located in Washington have an open house, officially known as The Around the World Embassy Tour.
This was the event we went to Washington for, and it didn’t disappoint. On this busy Saturday the embassies were open from 10-4. We had selected 14 from over 50 that were open. In the end we visited 17, but only 6 that were on our original list – regardless it was a great time.
Easily the best part was meeting the people from around the world. Each embassy had a variety of people – artists, musicians, delegates, and just regular folks from their home country. In the Peru embassy we met the artist Mario Arcevedo Torero.
Our morning continued down the street at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, A recurring theme soon began that the smaller countries had the most lively groups.
At the Iraqi embassy we met this artist and his traditional (yet electrified) guitar.
India’s was so popular they took over the nearby street and had a concert, with the traditional dancers, as well as a drum circle.
The visit to Albania was great as well – really tasty free food, traditionally costumed people, and a free shot of alcohol at the end!
There were numerous people in their traditional dress.
Despite tasting our way through 7 countries we had lunch in Costa Rica. As with the others it was nice to taste the local foods.
While many had small tastes of food and drink, some had food lines set up for a nominal fee – it was well worth it.
The Dominican Republic was a lively place as well.
In addition to the dancers there were a number of craftsmen, including this chain saw artist who makes amazingly small items using a chain saw (and seemingly still has all his fingers).
The Korean Cultural Center featured dancers as well.
The second act we saw was a drum line. It is interesting that the cultures from around the world tend to use similar items for their entertainment – dance and drums.
The Haitian embassy featured an artist doing paintings on site.
Meanwhile over at Cote d’Ivoire the greeters wore traditional headdresses.
They also had a display of costumes.
This artist was proudly displaying her work – it was beautiful.
Ah Belize…. What a party….
Before you even entered the grounds you couldn’t help but feel the energy of the party.
People were dancing in front – people were dancing in back.
People from very different cultures were jamming out to the Belize party. Ironically they were next door to the Muslim Center, which we visited in what I would expect should be quiet respect, but you could still hear the party next door – hopefully they get along ok.
We went through a very quiet and strangely austere Brazilian embassy, then headed on up the street to see these two colorful ladies….
Coming from Bolivia! They had a number of dancers performing their traditional dances.
And posed for a group photo at the end of their act.
This older guy was very active in his dance.
And with that we ended our amazing day at the Embassy Open House. This is one you need to put on your list!
Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan (near the World Trade Center) is the home of ‘Canstruction’, an art display made out of canned foods. The goal is to collect canned foods for the City Harvest, a New York City food bank.
A Saturday in late July brought a number of events in the area so we made a full day of it. First up – a Custom Car show down Main Street in Delaware, Ohio. While this car show was nowhere near a nice as the one at Greenfield Village, or even the Good Guys Show at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, they still had a significant number of cars lining both sides of the street for 5 blocks. Nearly all were American, most were customized, but still a nice diversion to start of a long, hot day.
From there we went downtown to the Jazz & Ribs Festival, along the Scioto Mile. This was one instance that the music was better than the food. We spent a couple of hours listening to a variety of the bands, and enjoying the sights and smells of the rib booths.
But it was hot – so we moved on to a brief visit to the Audubon Park, just south of downtown Columbus, where I had the opportunity to use my new zoom, taking photos of an Osprey nest, with their wings fully expanded.
Finally we went to the Franklin County Fairgrounds for two events I had seen advertised earlier, a pie eating contest and a demolition derby. The pie eating contest was a hoot, with the contesting eating cream pies. The contestants ranged from intense, jam their entire face into the pies to ladies who were hesitant to get anything on their faces. The saving grace was our seat was in front of giant fans.
Last up was the demolition derby, where we went directly after the pie eating, luckily jamming ourselves onto a couple of seat since most of the crowd had sent scouts to camp out and save seats throughout the 2000 seat metal stands. By the time the nect 30 minutes had passed, and the temperature had cooled off to 95 degrees, the place was packed with stereotypical demolition derby fans. After a couple of events (kids big wheel derby, lawn mower demolition derby and a couple with cars) we were done with the heat and headed home. A busy day – but not one of the best.