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Sunday, November 10, 2013

BUTTERFLIES IN DC

Yes, butterflies in DC.  But, first, I had brunch at Juniper in the Fairmont Hotel close to Foggy Bottom. The salad was fabulous:


The Mimosa (orange juice and vodka) was endless.  I had a strange French Toast, crispy, with a syrup laced with balsamic:


The meal cost $50 plus tip.

I then caught the Metro to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the Mall.  Yes, there were dinosaurs:


Or, at east a lot of bones.  A shark photo caught my attention:


But here is a cute fish:


I think it's a fish.  Then, of course, the Hope Diamond:


Have you ever seen a blue diamond?  
  • Formed around a billion years ago, it was found in India sometime in the mid 1600's, and was originally more than 100 carats large.  
  • Now 45.52 carats, it is the largest deep blue diamond in the world.
  • The curse of the Hope Diamond:
    • King Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette (couldn't find a painting of her wearing the Hope so Miss Piggy's photo will do--yes, she actually wore it when she visited the Smithsonian!), were guillotined, after which the diamond was stolen.
    • The English Hope family from which came the name, bought it, but had a lot of bad luck, and the final owner, Lord Hope, went bankrupt, at which time the stone again disappeared.
    • Somehow, the Hope ends up with Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, who was deposed.
It is said that the Hope Diamond is worth $350 million, but the most expensive is the Cullinan Diamond (3107 carats, with the largest cut at 530 carats) at $400 million, worn by Queen Elizabeth II:  


I can go on and on, but let me get to butterflies, for I paid for two entries at this museum today:
  • Live Butterflies, a butterfly pavilion:

At $5.50, the room was hot and humid (and I was wearing attire for the freezing weather outside), and I've putted in balls from longer distances than the short walk.  Anyway, here is another shot of Monarchs:


The IMAX 3-D film ($8 for 45 minutes) on Flight of the Butterflies was fascinating.  This is the 40-year research story of how it was determined that Monarch Butterflies migrated from Mexico to Canada and back.  But some of them end up in South America, Bermuda, Florida and California, and they are also found in Oceania.  It takes three or four generations to make the trip.  The caterpillar eats milkweed (in Hawaii they consume crown flower leaves) while the butterfly consumes nectar.  


Birds usually don't eat Monarchs because the milkweed makes them taste really bad. 


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