Armchair Road Trip Day 6: Highs and Lows of Science and Food

September 6, 2020 — Leave a comment

pair capitol back

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On our second day in DC, we hit a couple of the Smithsonians: the Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. I would have liked to see some art, but Mtuseni isn’t much for colors on canvas.

The natural history museum was okay. It felt a bit dated after the fresh, engaging exhibits of the African American Museum. The room of diamonds and other gems is pretty amazing.

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elephant in Natural History Museum Wasington DC

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Mtuseni watched a talk about genetics, spit into a test tube, and swirls of his DNA appeared. He poured it into a tiny vial and wore it on a bracelet. That was pretty cool.

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vial

Mtuseni’s DNA comes alive. Science!

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One milestone was set today: Mtuseni’s worst meal on the entire trip. Oddly, the Washington Mall area seems to lack restaurants. We didn’t want to walk to find one in the blazing heat, so we got lunch at a park service kiosk. Mtuseni got some kind of hot sandwich wrapped in paper foil…probably on the shelf for a week. I warned him, but he didn’t listen. It was awful, and he can eat just about anything. Whenever we discussed our meals on the trip, he griped about that sandwich! Hahaha.

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Planes and rockets in lobby of National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

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The air and space museum was a blast! For Mtuseni, a typical guy who is all about cars and sports, the planes and rockets and space ships fit the bill. For me — a closet space nerd (actual science, no Star Trek/Star Wars crap) — it was super cool. And it was neat to show Mtuseni the Apollo ships that my father worked on in the 1960s. It was a fun afternoon, like two boys in a candy store. 

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Missiles in lobby of National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

Mtuseni joked that all the missiles were live and that Trump was going to push the button one day. Hmmm… nothing would surprise me at this point.

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Model of Wright Brothers plane in National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC

The Wright Brothers’ first plane… flown by a model, not a person!

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mtu wright bros plane

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Neil Armstrong space suit

Neil Armstrong’s space suit. Mtuseni loved this museum. Me too! 

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We took the Metro back to Arlington and looked for someplace to have dinner. We turned a corner and saw Nando’s — a popular chain in South Africa! Mtuseni was thrilled to have a little taste of home.

Nando’s is so damn good… I’m like a super-fan. I looked later into buying a franchise for Boston. (Waaay out of my price range!) The peri-peri sauce — made from African bird’s eye chili — is crazy hot. (Mtuseni warned me to go with the medium, but I had no complaints.)

The meal more than made up for his horrible sandwich at lunch… and we walked back to our hotel full and happy and tired.

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Nando's in Arlington, Virginia

Nando’s? In America? We need some in Boston please!

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nandos menu

A familiar feeling of home in South Africa… 8,000 miles away.

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Nando's in Arlington, Virginia

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