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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

On the occasion of the 236th birthday of the United States, I decided to start the day off with an enervating walk. However, the people who take care of the Winkler Botanic Preserve apparently decided that they, too, were deserving of a holiday, so instead I returned to Holmes Run, where the damage from last Friday's brief but violent storm was clearly evident:

Thanks to the recent rainfall (including last night), the pond had a lot more water in it compared to last time...:

...and swimming languidly in it were two snapping turtles. Clearly, this was a body of water meant to be observed from afar, and not to be waded in:

Dragonflies were enjoying the sunshine:

In the afternoon, Amber, Pamela and I took the Metro into Washington, D.C. to check out this year's edition of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. To my pleasant surprise, almost the first thing I saw upon emerging from the Metro station was this sign for my alma mater. The inside of the tent was staffed by current Aggies, showing visitors how wasteful it is to use plastic bags:

The reason UC Davis was a participant in the festival had to do with one of the themes of this year - "Campus and Community: Land-Grant and Public Universities and the USDA (the Department of Agriculture) at 150". My wife and I were somewhat disappointed by the 4H Club-type exhibits which lent the festival the air of a small-scale state fair, but Amber had fun, whether it was contributing to a communal mural...:

...or trying her hand at milking a simulated cow:

We returned to the apartment late in the afternoon, whereupon Amber and I almost immediately made a beeline for the swimming pool. After a couple of hours in the water, and following dinner, we drove out to a local high school to see a fireworks show. Or we tried to, anyway. Due to the volume of traffic, we ended up parking in front of a closed cocktail lounge, found a spot on a grassy embankment by the side of the road and watched the pyrotechnics from relatively close by:

Amber was dressed for the occasion in a patriotic crown that she had made the day before in an arts-and-crafts class at the apartment complex:

The next Fourth of July should see us in Shanghai 上海. The Fourth is a big event at American outposts abroad, so I have a feeling that next year will be a working holiday for me.

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