Transforming Straw Into Gold, Part 2.

I was still concerned about our plans to sight-see the following day. The stark reality of me NOT being able to walk Georgetown amid blossoming cherry trees as I had been envisioning was quickly setting in. No random stopping into cute shops or grabbing a quick bite in a street-side cafe. And taking in a museum or two on the Mall was out of the question.

We were in-fact late to the party anyways, as the Yoshino cherry trees along the tidal basin were already past prime; the bright pink blossoms that have folks from all over flocking to Washington had given way to green leaves, and the petals still clinging to branches were dry and shriveled without any luster of their former glory.

The "spent" cheery trees around the lake.

I'll admit, there were parts of me that wanted to throw in the towel, screw the $300 I spent on the room, and just drive home. After all, the trip could not be what I envisioned because I couldn't even walk! I was also in pain. At times it was a stubborn throbbing pain and at others an intense sharp pang like when a deep wound is exposed to oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. At some point during the night I burst out (quite out of character), "Get me some codeine!"

However, in the morning after our complimentary breakfast of local bagels, fresh fruit, and orange juice, I felt more optimistic. 

I took tea in the sitting room while Ron finished packing upstairs. Using the down-time to peruse the inn's wonderful selection of magazines, I came across a special issue of Conde Nast Traveler with a "Grand Tour of Asia" spread featuring a day-to-day guide of 12 countries including India, Cambodia and Bali. For the next half-hour, I proceeded to have one of the best experiences of "mind-traveling" ever, captivated by gorgeous vistas, tranquil scenes and styled photos of exotic food.

Source: Conde Nast Traveler
Source: Conde Nast Traveler

I couldn't walk and I sure couldn't afford a lavish 45-day trip through South Asia, but I wasn't going to let that stop my imagination! One day we'll all be able to astral travel anyways, and go anywhere in the world, and probably any time in history, by mere projection. Let's just say I was practicing.

Source: Conde Nast Traveler

Shortly afterward, Ron and I began our "real" sight-seeing by car. I got to enjoy being chauffeured around, traversing large areas of town quickly and bypassing congested sidewalks! Sure, photo-taking was a challenge. Many came out blurry. But then there was the unexpected shot (below) of the Jefferson Memorial perfectly nestled between cherry trees that I captured from the turnpike going 40 mph. One second before and one second after the shot would have been just trees.

We still desired to see some cherry blossoms up close and personal, so we headed to a less-touristy destination that was known to have trees that bloomed later – a cute residential area called Foxhall Village. Exact addresses and names of blooming streets are kept in relative secret so as not so disturb the pleasant and serene ambiance of this quaint part of town (sorry folks).

As Ron drove around searching for splashes of pink above car roofs to determine where to turn, I people-watched and gazed at the adorable bungalows with manicured gardens and imagined us living there.

And then BAM! He found a street, short and sweet, canopied by thousands of pink puffs. Ron was very accommodating and circled around 3 or 4 times so I could grab some choice shots through the passenger-side window of the splendor!

After getting mildly lost, unable to locate the correct road to Anacostia Park, we ended our trip in  Old Town, Alexandria. We hobbled into a cute cheese shop off King Street for soda (and a 1/2 pound of cheese for dinner!) before enjoying a picnic of day-old pizza on the river.

Following my intuition once again, we visited the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (A small sign jutting out on the corner of King and Fairfax caught my eye).

Gathering up the courage and biting my lip through searing pain, I was able to participate in an hour-long tour and history lesson amid pristine labeled bottles – some with their original contents – and unusual artifacts of this bygone industry.

I was in heaven!

To think that I could have missed this experience had I begrudgingly boycotted the trip just because it wasn't what I had originally wanted! I was learning to be flexible, open and – dare I say it – spontaneous!

Ron and I had a blast recognizing herbal and medicinal flower names and remembering their uses. And there were tons we had never heard of (Ie. Soluble Laundry Blue?). I was having a fit over the beauty of the hand-written labels, the vintage typography design and the layers and textures of weathered wood, glass and paper.

As I shared before, there was a point on this trip – somewhere between the embedded glass incident and the painkiller confession – that I wanted to just drive straight home, snuggle up in my PJs under my comforter and have Ron wait on me hand and foot. Had I given in to that frustrated inner child, there would have been no strain-less bliss of the astral traveling, no compassionate chauffeured sight-seeing or that wonderful Fromagerie in Old Town, Alexandria! We might never have learned what Dragon's Blood really is and that the abbreviated "Tr" and "FE" on apothecary labels stand for tincture and flower extract respectively. 

It was a minor personal triumph that I succeeded in making the best out of "bad" situation, that I maintained my cool and was open to having a good time in ways outside my initial understanding. And as I lay on the couch with my foot elevated typing this, my cat curled and purring on the rug below, I can look back and say that I had a great time on my trip, despite the temporary disablement and pain. After all, happiness is how you respond to Plan B; you can't control every single event in your life, but you CAN control your response to everything.

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