For the past ten days I've been down I. Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I was measuring primate carpal bones for my Master's research project. It's been pretty fun (if you're into measuring bones, which I am). I've got a pretty good sample now, but the real work still lies ahead in sorting through this data with my various means of analysis. I'm leaving it rather vague on purpose, as I don't want anyone to steal my ideas quite yet.
The SMNH is an amazing museum. The exhibits are masterfully designed and the staff are all really nice people (both the researchers and the security guards). Being a visiting researcher I got the added benefit of being able to stroll through the museum on my own before it opened and after it closed. That's a luxury which is entirely new to me. As someone who has a deep seated and borderline irrational hatred of lines I couldn't ask for anything better. Still, even with other people milling about this is quite a beautiful establishment.
I found the city of Washington itself to be rather quiet, but I guess that's par for the course when it comes to capital cities. And like most other capital cities Washington is eerily clean. Too clean, much too clean. Even with my brand new Wal-Mart sneakers I felt as though I dirtying up the sidewalks as I strolled down to the museum every morning.
Getting to see all the famous landmarks which were familiar to me via popular American film and television was pretty cool. I even stumbled across a Marathon one morning. The thought of joining in and going for a 10 mile run with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth did cross my mind, but I'm pretty sure Eddie Izzard already did something like that.
Now it's time to pack up and fly home to Toronto. I've got that "Got Anthropology?" talk coming up soon (April 23: more details here). If you're in the area please come by check it out. It shall be both entertaining and enlightening.