So, yes, this has been a difficult two years. There will be difficult days ahead. But let us always remember the lesson of this day — and the lesson of history — that we, as a people, do not shrink from a challenge. We overcome it. We don’t shrink from our responsibilities. We embrace it. We don’t fear the future. We shape the future. That’s what we do. That’s who we are. That makes us the United States of America. — Obama remarks on newly signed health care law.
During the first two weeks of March the people in Washington DC go to the Tidal Basin (an inlet next to the Potomac River) to admire thousands of trees blossom at the same time during the beginning of the Spring (really cheerful, see some pics above).
It is called the National Cherry Blossom Festival, that “commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrating the continued close relationship between our two cultures”.
This is the curious chronology of the Cherry Blossom (that you don’t find in the official website):
- Japan gives 3,000 sakura trees as a gift to the United States in 1912 to celebrate the nations’ growing friendship.
- Japan participates in World War I from 1914 to 1917 as one of the major Entente Powers (Great Britain, France and Russia, plus various agreements with the United States and Spain).
- Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in a surprise military strike on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, resulting in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II.
- United States drops atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945 ending World War II.
- Japan renews the gift with another 3,800 trees in 1965.
«We don’t have the money to wipe out poverty. We can’t do it. But all of a sudden, yeah, we do have $700 billion for a bailout of Wall Street.» — Senator Bernie Sanders
- Immigration controls at the JFK airport are handled by policemen with Polish, Hispanic and Indian family names.
- I saw an Asus Eee PC for the first time and it was lighter and faster than expected.
- It was unexpected to discover statues of José Martí and Simón Bolivar at the southern entrance of Central Park.
- Americans have a problem with the air conditioning, wherever you go it’s at its maximum level. Brrr…
- Americans queue naturally, wooow.
- I had to be in four different hotels in seven days and they all had free wi-fi, I just needed to pay for Internet at the airport.
- I’m damn fortunate where, when, and with whom I travel — despite the heat wave and the electric storms we suffered that week.
- I’m homesick (beer-wise) when I travel abroad.
- New York is a decrepit city, absurdly chaotic, which is consuming itself as a sign of the empire’s decadence. I’d like to live there in ten years, maximum.
This is a cut from The West Wing, you can blame this TV series of not answering your e-mails lately. Well, actually you should blame my new flatmate, a politics freak –he’s a nice guy tough– traveling with the seven seasons of The West Wing in his laptop.
But what I really wanted to show you is this couple of magicians, Penn and Teller, they’re absolutely crazy! I highly recommend you to have a look at some of their videos (like Cups and Balls), unlike other magicians, they love showing how they do their tricks. Terrific.