brookside gardens in wheaton & an evening in bethesda

Saturday, September 7: After visiting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s burial site at St. Mary’s Church in Rockville, I head to Brookside Gardens, Montgomery County’s 50-acre public display garden situated within Wheaton Regional Park.  The gardens include several distinct areas: Aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Style Garden, Trial Garden, Rain Garden and the Woodland Walk. The Formal Gardens areas include a Perennial Garden, Yew Garden, the Maple Terrace, and Fragrance Garden.  Two conservatories offer year-round displays, including a butterfly garden which I don’t visit today.

In the gardens today, some areas are blocked off for construction and others for a wedding.  There’s quite a bustle of activity everywhere.  I wander around enjoying the gardens for a couple of hours. (Brookside Gardens)

Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slideshow.

After visiting the gardens, I head to Bethesda, intending to go to Jaleo for some Spanish tapas.  Sadly, when I arrive, I find the restaurant is closed for this week only for renovations.  Just my luck.  I walk around Bethesda and finally settle on Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant because it has an outdoor cafe.  Bethesda really is trying to create a European environment, with a plethora of outdoor cafes; sadly I feel that nothing in America can ever feel like Europe because most of the cafes are chain restaurants.  They’re generally not locally owned restaurants such as what one would find in Europe.  I stupidly order the salmon special, a bad move considering that not only is it outrageously expensive, but it’s also not a Mexican dish.  From now on, if I’m eating in a Mexican restaurant, I need to stick with what they do best: Mexican!  At least my Corona Light fits the bill.

Salmon topped with crabmeat and sauce from Uncle Julio's
Salmon topped with crabmeat and sauce from Uncle Julio’s

After dinner, I head to Bethesda Row Cinemas. I have noted four movies I’d like to see; their start times are staggered one after the other at 10 minute intervals.  Since I didn’t buy my tickets online and since now there are assigned seats at movie theaters (a recent phenomenon in the U.S., as seats were not assigned in movie theaters the last time I was here!), I find the only movie that has a reasonable seat (not in the 1st row but in the 4th!) is Museum Hours.

IMDb describes the plot as such: In the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, Johann is a security guard who finds a special quiet magic at the institution. One day, a Canadian woman arrives on a compassionate visit to the city, and the two strike up a friendship through their appreciation of art. That relationship helps put all the other goings on at the museum and in the city in perspective as Johann observes and participates in them in a world where art can say so much more than a casual visitor might know (IMDb: Museum Hours).

I find the movie to be very slow-moving; at the same time, it’s interesting in the way that it depicts our human existence as bleak and mundane in drab wintertime Vienna. The only relief from the boredom and grayness is the art in the museum, which adds a meaningful dimension to the lives of the characters.

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