The Weekend of Free


I have dubbed this past weekend “the weekend of free.” Because we got hooked up.

On Friday morning, I went on a group visit to the Egyptian defense ministry—which is just a stone’s throw away from the Barlow Center. I can’t tell you how welcoming, kind, and friendly everybody from the defense ministry was. They were so excited to host us and treated us like gold--offering us beverages as soon as we walked in, a personalized presentation, taking questions, and a huge Egyptian feast at the end! The food was incredible. One of my favorite dishes was a chicken-salad type mixture on honey oat bread, topped with a tahini. And, of course, what Egyptian feast would be complete without koshari? I remember Brock and I tried to make this at home once with disastrous results. It was thick, bland, and disgusting. The koshari at the defense ministry was way more legit, obviously. To top it all off, they had a huge spread of desserts and coffee . . . they must’ve been surprised at how much coffee they had leftover ;)

It was interesting having this experience one week after visiting the Israeli embassy—where there was a long, tedious security line, a generic lecture on Israel-U.S. relations, and no reception afterward. Granted, I don’t expect to be treated like a princess on embassy group tours, but the juxtaposition between both defense ministries was undeniable. I think Egyptians are extremely eager to start a new chapter in their history, including a new chapter of Egypt-U.S. relations. 

In the evening, Brock and I went to Jack’s Boathouse for kayaking along the Potomac. We went right at dusk as the sun was setting along the river, and it even started to rain lightly as we were paddling along. We docked out kayaks at a small island and climbed on an old, broken tree that jutted out across the river. We sat for a while and chit-chatted about lovely things that I can’t remember.

We finished the night with free cupcakes from Sprinkles (pumpkin for me, key lime for Brock!) thanks to InternsRock--an event for the 20K+ interns that inundate DC every summer. Interns get a red bracelet to wear during the week, which gives them all sorts of deals from participating vendors. 

The hook-ups continued on Saturday. We visited the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, which was offering a (two-for-one admission through InternsRock). There were some cool exhibits in the museum, but typos everywhere! IN A MUSEUM! Not to mention that it was just horribly laid out. I think good museums disseminate information in a way that "flows" so that it's easy to digest. The Smithsonians do a great job of this.

Later in the afternoon, we met up with our friend Tiffany for a Nat's game! She got free tickets through her work and offered us a couple extras. And get this--on top of being free, each ticket came with $20 worth of food/drinks/merchandise loaded onto it! Ridiculous. Naturally, we didn't want to let all this money go to waste, so we did what any self-respecting American would do and gorged ourselves on junk food. Half-smokes from Ben's Chili Bowl, vanilla shakes from Shake Shack, Dippin Dots, snowcones, EVEN BOTTLED WATER. ($4 for a Dasani? Why not!) To top it all off, the Nats won and Brock even got to see his favorite player (Vladdy) play in another stadium.

We were sinners and missed church on Sunday because--alas!--there was more free stuff to take advantage of. Our InternsRock wristbands gave us free admission to the Newseum. It was everything the Museum of Crime and Punishment wasn't . . . beautifully laid out, spacious, interesting, powerful, thought-provoking. It gave me a greater appreciation for my First Amendment rights. Did you know 20% of Americans can name all five members of the Simpson family, but only 3% can name all five of their First Amendment rights?!

Inside, there was a massive section of the Berlin Wall on the ground floor, along with one of its ominous watchtowers. As a person who enjoys photography, I also loved the exhibit on Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures, and there was also a fascinating exhibit on the history of the press and its relation to the FBI. I think the most powerful exhibit, however, was the one dedicated to 9/11. They have a chunk of the Twin Towers in the museum, along with a towering, wall-sized display of dozens upon dozens of newspaper front pages from 9/12/2001. 

Yet again, I've written a novel of post. See photos of our weekend here (photos #130-189). 


  1. okay. yes. Crime and Punishment Museum was SO disappointing!! the typos were a serious issue.

    and the egyptians were AWESOME. love them with all my heart.

    sounds like an awesome weekend! I love being out here.


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