World Baseball Classic: It's hard to say how significant the World Baseball Classic, which is envisioned as a sort of equivalent to soccer's World Cup, is. But, as a person who has made the effort to go to baseball games in a couple of foreign countries (Japan and Dominican Republic so far), I couldn't resist a quick trip down to Miami to watch the Pool 2 finals.
I am not sure if the event was why prices were high, but I decided it was best to use miles one way on American and pay for a flight on United coming back. It turned out that there was low mileage availability in first, though not in coach. Hmm, 25000 miles for either class? What a tough decision! That gave me a chance to check out American's domestic first class which is, let's just say, unimpressive. The only plus over United is that you can order your choice of meal in advance. But there was no predeparture drink, the food was bland (and the salad dressing was awful), there were no free headphones for the (overhead, not personal) video. This was a mainline plane, not "express" service, so really quite shabby.
Because of high prices closer in, I booked a room at the Miami Marriott Dadeland. This is quite a ways south of the airport (and the ballpark) but is actually quite convenient since it is adjacent to the Dadeland South Metrorail station. A two buck ride is well worth it for a room that is half the price of something closer and it saved me the cost of a rental car, too. The hotel was quite nice. Unusually, there was an internet terminal (like the ones in the business center) in the room. I would stay there again. It is also a short walk to the Dadeland Mall, which is not exciting, and to a local supermarket.
The ballpark is a bit of a hike from the Civic Center station (and not well sign posted), but there is also shuttle service available. The weather was lovely, so I didn't mind the walk. The game itself was between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I didn't have any particularly strong feelings either way, so I could enjoy the play, which was of a reasonably high standard. And the fans on both sides were lively and knowledgeable. All in all, it was worth the trip.
A Behanding in Spokane: Browsing the listings on Goldstar, I saw the Keegan Theatre's production of A Behanding in Spokane. It caught my eye because it was written by Matt McDonagh, who wrote the movie In Bruges. The play had a similar, macabre humor. The story involves a one-handed man, a couple who claim to have found his hand and are trying to sell it to him, and a motel clerk who has always wanted to be a hero. It was very twisted and very dark - and very funny. The highlight was Bradley Foster Smith's portrayal of Mervyn (the motel clerk). This is definitely not mainstream fare, but well worth seeing for those who can handle the rough language and grotesque absurdity.
Swiss Embassy Residence: Then came an MIT Club of Washington dinner at the Swiss Embassy Residence. I'd actually been there before, but the weather was nicer this time, making it easier to appreciate the view from the living room. Before the talk, there were drinks and hors d'oeuvres (quiche and some sort of pinwheels with dried beef.) The program itself was very short. They showed two amusing Swiss tourism videos and followed that with a 10 or so slide presentation on innovation. Then came a buffet, the highlight of which was raclette (toasted cheese, served with potatoes and cornichons). Throw in intelligent conversation and this was definitely my type of evening.
Cinderella: Cinderella is not a ballet I would normally go out of my way for, but I had no real objections to it as part of my season subscription to The Washington Ballet. I thought they did a good job with it, especially with the portrayal of the stepsisters (played by Luis Torres and Zachary Hackstock - and, yes, it is traditional for men to play them. The really mysterious thing about this ballet has to do with the prince's search for the woman whose foot fits the shoe. There are bits danced by a Spanish woman, a Tunisian woman, and an Asian woman. Obviously, this is symbolic of how he is searching the ends of the earth to find her. But why does he go off to all those far-flung places before searching in what is practically his own backyard? And why can't he recognize the stepsisters as the two horrible creatures who were throwing themselves at him all through the ball? Just how dim is he?
And, on that note, I will shut up and dance away.