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Monday, February 18, 2013

No snowjobs

Snow has been called for in the forecast this Presidents Day holiday weekend, but the unpredictable science has proved to be, well, unpredictable, much to my daughter's disappointment. Though it did snow for a while yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, long enough to coat the ground, it didn't do it in quantities sufficient enough to go sledding, and it's looking increasingly likely that Amber is going to have to wait a long while before she'll have a chance to try out her new saucer-shaped plastic sled. Today, unfortunately, was clear for the most part, with only the odd flake or two floating about in the air. But while the snow laregely failed to materialize, the cold did stop by, not only to say hello, but to stick around like an unwanted house guest. The temperature hovered around the freezing point all day Sunday, quickly dipping to 26°F (-3°C) as we made our home this evening from a day of outdoor walking. For while it was chilly to the point of freezing today, it was no excuse to stay indoors, and the three of us spent most of the afternoon walking through the woods of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Of all the walks I've done so far in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Greenbelt Park is probably one of the least interesting. Not bad at all, but hardly inspiring. It was a 5.3 mile (8.5 kilometers) traverse around the park's boundaries on the mostly-level Perimeter Trail. While the woods were quiet, we were never far removed from signs of civilization (highways, apartment buildings etc.), and there was a disturbing number of fallen and cut trees lining the entire route (see above). Still, it was good to get outside, and the air was definitely crisp.

Amber bundled up against the chill. The cold didn't stop her from expending vast amounts of energy, unlike her mother, who was in full-Taiwanese dress overkill and wouldn't let me take her picture.

Other than birds and the occasional squirrel, wildlife was pretty scarce this afternoon. They were probably in their hutches, sipping hot cocoa by a warm fire.
 
Starkly-beautiful scenes such as these are an uncommon sight in Taiwan, where evergreens rule the roost.

Amber didn't let the lack of snow bother her. Being outside is definitely preferable to staying indoors, watching Nick Jr. or playing X-Box.

Still Creek lived up to its name. Behind us, the traffic on Interstate 495 was roaring by just 25 yards (22.9 meters) away.

Some trees apparently had met with very violent ends. This one had been peeled and snapped off by some obviously powerful force of nature.

Dude, shrooms

Amber and I stopped to check out this toppled tree. The depression it has left behind has been filled up with water. To see how deep it was, we used a stick to measure the depth of the water. If my daughter were to have stepped into the depression, the water would've gone up to a point halfway between her chest and her waist.

Following the end of our roughly 2½-hour walk, everyone was hungry, particularly Pamela. So we drove over to Rockville, to an area known as "Little Taipei", where we had dinner at Bob's Noodle 66, the closest thing to an authentic Taiwanese restaurant in this area. At least it was authentic enough that the sausages came with cloves of garlic, just as they do when you buy them from street vendors back on Taiwan.

A visit to the Asian supermarket next door to the restaurant resulted in the purchase, at Amber's insistence, of some Dòuhuā 豆花, a kind of bean curd that my daughter used to enjoy eating for dessert back in the days when we lived in Fēng​yuán 豐原. You can take the girl out of Taiwan, but you can't take Taiwan out of the girl.






 


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