Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Beautiful Bethesda - Benihana & "Heights"

We visited beautiful downtown Bethesda for the first time since arriving in Maryland. It really is a happening place compared to Rockville. It was hip and young, with a plethora of restaurants, theaters, lights, music, and (of course) people. It reminded me a bit of Old Town Pasadena. With, of course, property values to match.

While in town, we had dinner at Benihana, family-style Japanese hibachi place where everyone sits around the grill as the chefs perform tricks and make scrumptous meals. The best part of the Benihana experience is that if you don't have enough people in your party to take up an entire table, you will often be seated with others. And, in the ideal situation, the others will be quite interesting. This outing was one of those ideal situations.

It's fascinating how much detail complete strangers are willing to share over dinner. We sat with 4 women. A mother, her adult daughter and her 2 adult nieces. In the course of one dinner, here is what I learned about our table-mates:

1. The adult daughter is looking for medical schools to apply to. She wants to be a surgeon, specializing in reconstructive surgery. She likes a rural environment and was curious about schools in Minnesota and Illinois, though her ideal place to live would be Brimingham, AL, even though she admits they could be racist there and she is black.

2. One of the adult nieces lives on a street only a few blocks from our house.

3. The other adult niece has cheated on her husband, but only twice, which is OK since he cheated on her first and she doesn't intend to do it any more, unless he doesn't get his act together.

4. The mother has never cheated in her 25(?) years of marriage, not even the "Jimmy Carter way." Apparently, Jimmy Carter said he never physically cheated, only in his heart. The mother lives in DC and, when asked what she thought of Marion Barry, gave a 10 minute lecture singing his praises, complimenting his ability to find work for youth, how he kept young people off the streets, and how he worked tirelessly for the people and city of DC. She presented this in a very astute way, getting us hooked on his good points before curtly mentioning his addiction to crack only at the end of her dialogue. And when she did mention it, she said "Sure, he did crack, but that only helped keep him able to fight for the citizens of this city 24 hours a day... He was never as good after he got caught." She was a well-educated and interesting woman. We found out she is a dentist as well as a professor of dentistry at a well-known institution and, since we don't have a dentist out here, she will very likely become ours now. She also talked about racism and how South Carolina has changed over the years (for the good).

In other news...

- We saw the art-house movie "Heights" this weekend while in Bethesda. A wonderful film, I give it 2 thumbs up. Well-written, well-acted, low budget... basic movie-making at its finest. I'm sure better than any of the summer blockbuster junk that is out right now. It's about relationships and life choices... and how much life can be altered in just 1 day. Not exactly like "Sliding Doors", but thought-provoking in the same way. Go see it! Next on the list: Penguins.

- We also headed back to the farms to pick more blueberries and raspberries.

- I finally have an appointment to have my knee checked out. As of this writing, I've already abandoned bicycling, walking the stairs, and another company softball game. I don't have a scale, but I feel like I've put on at least 5 pounds in the past week. Sigh. Big, big sigh.


At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Rae said...

That's what the mayor's name was...I forgot and was trying to remember!

Nice story!

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Adam R. said...

I really like Bethesda. It's not as cool as some places in the District, but it's about as exciting as Maryland gets, I think. :)

My mother used to live there, right in the downtown area and very close to the Metro station. Her apartment was in a very convenient location. From there, it was only 10 or so minutes on the train to get to Dupont Circle.

Then she moved to Olney. :(

She's nowhere near a Metro station. She's nowhere near anything, in fact, really. :)

I know that housing is expensive there, but, depending on where in Bethesda one lives, one can live quite well without a car there. So, one can save money that way.


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