All right it is time to get to part 2 of the Zamudio US tour.
On Sunday we started our trek to Washington DC along the beautiful Blue Ridge Highway. I was exhausted from not getting a good night´s sleep (Pregnancy somehow does that to you..go figure) so I slept through most of it. I did get out for a few photo ops though. I also couldn´t sleep very well through the switchbacks on the way down. It reminded me of a trip I took in Ecuador through the night from Puerto Lopez back to Quito. I literally thought we would be swung off into a ditch on the side of the road from the high velocity curves the bus took. Fortunately, mom was a better driver than that bus driver was.
When we got onto the interstate we had only gone 60 miles or so over a 2 and a half hour period. Mountain roads will do that. It was all good though. I got a cherry coke (guilty pleasure in the states was anything with anything cherry, cherry coke, cherry garcia ice cream, just plain bing cherries etc.) and was quickly driving again. We hit a major storm in Virginia about 80 miles outside of DC and I had to go 35 on the highway. Marco got his first taste of a warm summer storm.
We got into DC without any problems and my brother and his fiance so graciously gave up their memory foam bed to Marco and me for three days. It was so nice of them especially since my brother had to sleep on the floor. What a gentleman! On Monday morning Marco went running with Queen and Mom and I made use of the free Keurig coffee machine in the main lobby. We headed out to the white house via the metro. It was a beautiful day. It was sunny and the heat from the sun was offset by the wind. Monday the 28th was also Peru´s independence day so we all sported Peru t-shirts which got at least 2 responses from other Peruvians during the day. ¨Viva Peru!¨ and ¨Arriba Peru!¨ were both shouted to us. We had a great photo op in front of the White house and then headed to the Washington National Monument. My brother then guided us through the memorials in what he likes to call the Roger Brown circle tour. It was great and by the end I was ready to be off my feet. It would have been cool to go to the mall but we had no energy for that. We headed back to Roger and Queens´and Queen prepared us the most delicious feast of meat and wings and mac and cheese among many other dishes. It was so impressive and probably only outdone by the impressiveness of their bar (I have never seen so many different types of liquor in a personal bar before). We ended the night with a game of liverpool rummy. It was nice to play cards with the fam but I also found out that Marco is good for about 20 minutes of playing cards. It isn´t his favorite thing to do and I respect that.
On Tuesday Mom, Marco and I headed over to the Arlington Cemetery where we saw a special changing of the guard in which a Korean dipolomat paid hommage to the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was very cool and totally (not) planned on my part. We saw Kennedy´s grave and the eternal flame as well.
We headed up to Baltimore to see Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the national anthem after the battle of 1812. Marco and I helped take down the large flag that had to be replaced by a small night flag since it is law that a flag must fly 24 hours a day. The flag we took down was a replica of the flag during the era with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Fun fact: Originally the founding father had the idea that they would add a star and stripe for every new state added to the union but that quickly proved difficult and they decided to keep the stars for every state and have the stripes represent the 13 original colonies.
We stopped at a little crab shack on the way out of town but the lady forgot to put in our order so we were waiting for our meal for half an hour. Finally, we asked her about it and she apologized profusely. We had to leave since my mom had to get to the airport. I think they should have paid for our drinks and the hush puppies but what can you do?
We dropped mom off with plenty of time at the Baltimore airport and headed back to Silver Spring to eat dinner at Noodles and Co. Marco and I also made it to H&M across the street and I enjoyed maternity wear shopping. Maternity wear is a godsend. Seriously, I live in my long tee and leggings with an enormous panel that pracitcally goes up to my chest. No accidental crack or belly showing at all.
When we got home Queen and I had a nice chat about where we are in our lives and our plans. It was great. I am so excited for their wedding next year in Costa Rica. It is going to be a blast!
On Wednesday morning Marco and I got up and on the road by 9am so we would get into Painesville around 5:30pm. We were right on time. We visited my mother´s cousin Peggy and George and had dinner at their daughter and son in law´s long cabin. We also visited the Sugar Pines Christmas Tree Farm. What a cool experience. There is no such thing as a Christmas tree farm in Peru as far as I know and it was quite a novelty for Marco and for me really. I had never seen one in real life before even though I knew they existed. We used to buy real trees when I was little but then got a fake tree in middle school. It is a lot less work and a lot less sticky.
Jane and Fritz were so gracious to host us for dinner and show us around their place. We saw my other second cousins too who had their son and one of their daughters with them. Jane and Fritz´s boys Fritzel and Sam gave us a night hike and showed us the sugar pines from which their maple sugar is made from every March. We were able to take some home with us too! Marco tried a s´more for the first time and they presented us with a cookie cake that said Bienvenido on it. My family is the best. I loved how George woud get up every time he saw that Marco´s glass was empty of Jack Daniels. I am so grateful for the hospitality they all showed us.
On Thursday morning we headed to a cafe for breakfast with George and Peggy and our server had just so happened to have studied in Lima a while back so she was happy to use a bit of her Spanish with Marco. What a small world. After breakfast Marco and I got on the road and headed to Camp Echo!
(Part 3 to come soon!)