Weekends are very useful to recharge and reinvigorate the body and soul; once the Monday morning sun pokes you in the eyes, you get up not regretting the two free days you had. Here’s what I did over the weekend that cost nothing at all.
If you might have noticed, I have made Saturday morning cupcakes a ritual. To be honest, I’m not that big a fan and have often ditched cupcake trips for the allure of sleep. However, it is good to start a day with friends who you miss during weekdays being busy with classes and assignments. The caffeine buzz and sugar rush from a cup of coffee and a caramel fudge cupcake gave me the energy to do more for the rest of the day.
As usual, myself, Reza, Shiying, and Boyeong went to Georgetown Cupcakes upon their reveal of the “super secret” free cupcake of the day on their Twitter account. Usually, there would be a queue outside. That morning, the universe aligned (yes, I watched Thor 2) and we strolled in and ordered cupcakes and coffee.
Our favorite place to consume the cupcakes is not in the store itself, but across the road and further downhill where there will be a red bridge over a drain waterway. Sometimes we will go further down by the Potomac and look at rowers, ducks and people struggling to steer their kayaks.
We had to walk back to Foggy Bottom Metro to take the train up to the zoo, which was a mistake as we could’ve just walk to Dupont Circle and save the trouble of transferring lines which is a hassle during weekends thanks to scheduled maintenance.
The National Zoological Park
We did not choose the option to go to the zoo during the orientation week and it was about time we went there before any further changes to the weather. It was a pleasant day and I may have acclimatized to the “cold” because anything above 10 degrees (Celsius!) feels warm now.
This zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not have admission fees. It charges $2.00 for a map – but you won’t need it because there are information boards with the map on it showing the different trails and the locations of the different animals.
Some of the animals aren’t from this side of the world. This leopard from Southeast Asia is resting in the cold. There are heated areas in each enclosure for the animals to get warm and they can choose to stay in indoor spaces as well. Rest assured, these animals are taken care of quite well. Here are some of them:
He preferred Aristotle’s conception of a just city.
I refuse to take pictures of the gorillas and the orangutans because they have human-like features and behavior I stood and questioned the gaze I had looking at them behind glass windows as they were waiting for food. Someone outside said: “I don’t mind looking at cats, lions and zebras, but these monkeys look like humans and I don’t feel comfortable”. I agreed because I know, humans used to treat other humans in the same way – like how Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman was treated. In some other parts of the world, some females are forced into prostitution and put into “fish tanks”. Some people still look at others as inferior versions of humans as well.
At the end of the trail, we figured out a “walk” to Columbia Heights Metro station was shorter than the walk back to the station we came from. We were right about the distance and the trek there was awesome. Coming from a tropical island, the sight of falling orange and yellow leaves was breath-taking. What also took my breath away was the hike up Columbia Heights. My lungs obviously haven’t been used for exercise in a long time.
I ended the day with a trip to the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument is no longer illuminated at night, which I assume is because of a pause in construction. I already expounded the no-cost beauty of going to the memorials at night in my previous posts.
Apparently the artificial turf in Georgetown University is open for use for free as well. I did smirk at the Hoya Saxa on the way up – oh what has GW made of me.
It is a beautiful pitch on a hill with airplanes flying over once every few minutes or so. I bet it looks pretty during the day. Being on a hill also meant we were exposed to whatever nature gave us – thankfully it was just ball-trajectory-altering winds that night. Reza and me played with a group of Kazakhs who were either graduate students at GW or working around the area.
Soccer catharticaly relieved me of pent up frustrations, energy, passion and emotions. My team lost 10 to 8, but it was a close match and we had a lot of fun. A few of the Kazakhs studied in Malaysia and could speak some Malay. One of them said “Nasi Ayam Goreng satu” which meant “one plate of fried chicken rice” I was instantly overwhelmed with memories of food from home. I exclaimed in pleasure that I missed fried chicken rice.
The Secret Cinema
Immediately after washing up, I went to this secret cinema, which I will reveal only if you ask me personally. In this secret cinema, the secret seats helped me rest my severely aching muscles. (I got hit in the face with a ball, but the force was so hard it wasn’t my neck that hurt, but my arm, which I suspect dislocated slightly as my body, less the arm, jerked backwards from the impact). We watched Thor 2 that night. I would love to reveal why this cinema is so special to those interested. I wanted to post a picture showing why it’s so special but it will reveal why the cinema has to remain a secret.