My first impression of Washington DC upon arrival in May is surprisingly mixed. And what I mean by this is Washington had a very familiar face and at the same time totally surprising smell and taste. I feel like we have seen these 2-storey buildings, trees-lined alleys and perfectly perpendicular streets in all those American movies we watched. So, the picture turned out to be very familiar. What has not recognizable, however, was the smell.
It is surprising how important the smells are in our perception of the surroundings. And in Washington, they were completely strange. In May, Washington’s trademark cherry trees finished blooming, but the city was wrapped in the smell of blooming linden trees. It is a local variety of linden tree, American Linden tree (Tilia Americana) with huge leaves and enormous trunks (have a look at those beauties at the small park at the intersection of 12th, L Street and Massachusetts avenue NW), as opposed to modest Tília cordáta common in Russia. The sweet and fragrant smell of lime trees was accompanied by all sorts of other completely foreign smells, notably fried food, chemical detergents and some other indistinguishable odors.
The taste was novel, too. The small street vendors offered all varieties of Latin American and Asian fast food, countless sandwiches, pizzas and wraps. And snacks, entire rows of snacks in the supermarket! It was truly amusing to see all those isles fool of morning cereals and various chips and crackers. Luckily, there are enough fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to Californian warm climate and rich soils.
I am so much looking forward to the exciting year ahead in Washington, DC.