Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Decoration day

Not long ago I heard a young man ask why people still kept up Memorial Day, and it set me thinking of the answer.  (Oliver Wendell Homes, jr Memorial Day speech May 30, 1884)

In honor of Memorial Day we present a speech from one of our family members.
Thank you Duncan for allowing us to publish your speech. 

Hello today i am talking about life in the foreign service.
The foreign service is a part of the U.S government that deals with diplomatic relations with other countries.  The foreign service requires you to live years and years away from home. Like at a post or at a boarding house like this one. But in this life, you move around a lot and make new friends just like you guys. So here is my story.
I started on the 4th of july in 2008, in Guam ( For those of you who don’t know what Guam is, it is an island in the western pacific near the Philippines where Americas day begins).  It was my last day there for a long long time. I then got on a plane to go to the capital  of the United States, The heart and soul of the U.S government, Washington D.C, where my mom, dad and I Started our training. At the state department foreign service institute where I took several courses like security,protocol,and a team building course. Then exactly a year after we arrived in D.C. I departed for Florida for a month and then to JFK while my parents were going to their
Yes, a war zone on their first post. But so far it has worked out alright. But unlike here, they're living standards are different. At home they have guards 24/7, spikes on the wall, bars on the window, Kind of like a prison. and instead of going to work in a cadillac, or a big land rover, they go to work in whats called a
FAV (fully armored vehicle).It has thick protection, heavy tires, bullet proof glass and more. Usually when going to work they see camels,donkeys,monkeys,and crows that literally whistle at you. But it is pretty safe in
islamabad because there are are many types of security, frontier guard, rangers,  islamabad police and islamabad traffic police all manning checkpoints to and from home and the diplomatic enclave where the U.S embassy is located. But some times the terrorist do get past and set off a bomb. In the beginning of their tour there bombs went of every day. And They still do. just think about that for for a minute. The risk of getting
attacked every day. But they will be done in pakistan soon.
In june i will be picked up from school and we will go back to washington to get ready for the next post, like additional training. In order to prepare for life in Bridgetown, Barbados, we need to buying  clothing,recreational equipment and things like that.Then after all of the things we need to do are done, we leave for post.  And then where do we go after barbados, Nobody knows. Life is very difficult in the foreign service. Some times i am separated from my friends and family. However this is the career that my parents have chosen and i as part of the family i support and encourage what they do.  I find the good points in this life by making new friends and learning that children are the same no matter where they come from.
Thank you for listening to my speech

Duncan is currently a 6th grader attending school in Switzerland.  We wish him and his family best of luck in their next tour.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nice photos, interesting articles

If you are looking for an unusual website, please take a moment and visit PARSA

Let us know what you think.  Did you enjoy the photos? 
Did you watch the videos? 
Is anyone a penpal with the children?

Do you have a website to share with us? 

See Spot run. Run Spot run.

 What do you think of the shift from the printed page to digital?
                    Want to read more about it?
Check out this site http://www.futureofthebook.org/  

The printed page is giving way to the networked screen. The Institute for the Future of the Book seeks to chronicle this shift, and impact its development in a positive direction. The Institute is a project of the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

One major consequence of the shift to digital is the addition of graphical, audio, and video elements to the written word. More profound, however, is the book's reinvention in a networked environment. Unlike the printed book, the networked book is not bound by time or space. It is an evolving entity within an ecology of readers, authors and texts. Unlike the printed book, the networked book is never finished: it is always a work in progress.

As such, the Institute is deeply concerned with the surrounding forces that will shape the network environment and the conditions of culture: network neutrality, copyright and privacy. We believe that a free, neutral network, a progressive intellectual property system, and robust safeguards for privacy are essential conditions for an enlightened digital age.
*taken from The Future of the Book website

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sometimes you need a friend...

Life seems to get more complicated everyday, especially when you travel the world.  Ever have questions about visas or need advice on passports?  For all of your travel related questions it is always a good idea to visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website http://travel.state.gov/ 

Rading has never been easier...

Need a gift idea for that UT person tha has everything ?  How about a PlayAway book?  Never heard of it?  It is the latest thing in audio books.  Each unit comes totally ready to go, a complete book, battery and headphones-just play and go!  http://www.playaway.com/about-playaway/  I love mine, it is great for waiting in airports and was super nice at the pool. 

What's for supper?

Does anyone else frequent Farmer's Markets?  It seems like these days everyone is  aware of what they are eating and where it came from- and if you aren't maybe you should be!   If you live in the Falls Church area I'm sure you have been to the farmer's market on Saturday morning.  http://www.fallschurchva.gov/Content/Government/Departments/CommunityServices/RecsParks/FarmersMarket.aspxIf you haven't....... well you should try it. 

Did you know there are great Farmer's Markets in the DC area, say like Foggy Bottom.?!  They have fresh veg and fruit, plus cheese and bread to name just a few things.  If you are living here or just passing through check out the closest market in your area by going to


Anyone have a favorite farmer's market that isn't on the list?  Want to share your favorite?  Come on, other UT people might enjoy visiting.  :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

You mean it's not just a metro stop......

Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. The area is thought to have received the name because its riverside location made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric trait that did not prevent the neighborhood from becoming the original location of the United States Naval Observatory. Foggy Bottom is west of downtown Washington, in the Northwest quadrant, bounded roughly by 17th Street to the east, Rock Creek Parkway to the west, Constitution Avenue to the south, and Pennsylvania Avenue to the north.

Foggy Bottom, taken from the Francis Scott Key BridgeThe name Foggy Bottom often is used as a metonym for the United States Department of State because its Harry S Truman Building headquarters is in the neighborhood. The main campus of the George Washington University (GW) also is in Foggy Bottom, as are the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Friendship Lodge Odd Fellows Hall; and the infamous Watergate complex, site of the Watergate burglaries which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation. GW has grown significantly over the past decades and now covers much of the neighborhood, which has many historic old homes and numerous mid-rise apartment buildings.

Foggy Bottom is served by the Foggy Bottom-GWU Washington Metro station, with service by the Blue and Orange Lines.

Foggy Bottom was also the name of a line of beer by the Olde Heurich Brewing Company, which was founded near Dupont Circle in 1873 by German immigrant Christian Heurich. In addition to its main brand, Heurich, Olde Heurich's most successful products bore such local names as Senate and Old Georgetown. During the 1950s, Heurich Brewing also sponsored the city's professional baseball team, the Washington Senators. Industry consolidation led the brewery to cease operations in 1956. In 1961–1962, the brewery buildings were razed to make way for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Heurich, Jr., and his two sisters donated a portion of the brewery land to the Kennedy Center in memory of their parents, and established the Christian Heurich Family as one of the Founders of the national cultural center. Although the firm was founded in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, the modern beer was brewed in Utica, New York.


you want fries with that...some healthy sites for the weary traveler

Wonder how many calories in the burger you're eating, yea I know sometimes you don't what to know but if you do http://www.acaloriecounter.com/fast-food.php

What's that you need vegetarian and the kids gotta have chicken .....here is a place you can find that menu http://www.menupages.com/

These boots are made for walkin .....http://witur.com/    find all kinds of walking tours and more.

I would rather bike than hike http://www.rentabikenow.com/default.aspx  this site helps you rent a bike no matter where you are.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Umm where did I put my keys.....

Wonder if Einstein had the same problems?

According to Dr. Bill Klemm, Texas A&M University, you might be having problems with your memory because you are not using "the four R's":
•Register: Concentrate and really “log in” the information first. Don’t overwhelm your brain with more than five new items to memorize at a time.
•Relate: Assign each new memory a mental image—“Barbara with blue eyes,” for example.
•Rehearse: Repeat what you’re trying to remember right away. Address a new person by her first name as soon as you learn it.
•Recall: Test yourself in the hours after learning the new information.
Taken from http://www.spryliving.com/

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grow your own.......


ContainerSeeds.com offers a wide variety of vegetable, fruit, herb, and edible flower seeds especially selected for successful container gardening.

You can have a productive and beautiful garden in containers: it just takes a little know-how and the right varieties.

Our variety packs are proving to be very popular. They enable container gardeners to try several different varieties at a very reasonable price.

find more ideas at http://www.containerseeds.com/

Something's fishy......

Al-Faw Palace
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Al Faw palace, illuminated during the change of command ceremony between III Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps, early February 2005.
The Al Faw Palace (also known as the Water Palace) is located in Baghdad approximately 5 kilometers from the Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. Saddam Hussein commissioned its construction to commemorate the Iraqi forces' re-taking of the Al-Faw Peninsula during the Iran-Iraq conflict.
Al Faw Palace is situated on a former resort complex about 5 kilometers from the Green Zone, which is now referred to as the International Zone or IZ. The complex contains numerous villas and smaller palaces and is now one of the largest US/Coalition bases in Iraq (Camp Victory/ Camp Liberty). The palace contains over 62 rooms and 29 bathrooms.[1] Many of the rooms have now been converted to serve as offices, and since 2004 the Palace has been used as the headquarters for the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I), along with the Joint Operations Center (JOC), which serves as 'Mission Control' for the Multi-National Corps - Iraq (MNC-I) and all operational aspects of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There is an artificial lake surrounding the palace that has a special breed of large bass dubbed the Saddam bass, as well as large carp. Saddam formerly used the palace for duck-hunting expeditions.

Because of the very light damage to the Al Faw Palace and other structures located on what is now Camp Victory, it is widely presumed that the planners of the 2003 invasion intended that this area would be used as a headquarters and main base area following the liberation of Baghdad.[citation needed] The resort is surrounded by high walls with preconstructed security towers, which contributes to more readily maintaining surveillance and security for the former resort.

for more reading about the fish follow their blog at
thanks karl :)

Gifts to arrive after Mother's Day.....

(from the website mashable.com-one of my favorite sites)
7 Ways to Customize Your Real Life Online

A few months ago, we wrote about customizable gifts you can create and have delivered with a few clicks. From photo books to t-shirts to M&Ms, the web is blossoming with products that can add a whole new meaning to “personal branding.” Here’s a second wave of products you can customize on the web to suit just about any lifestyle.      Want to see the entire article visit http://mashable.com/2010/05/02/customized-products/

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tips From the Field

OH those long air flights and delays....and more delays.....I recently discovered Nintendo DSI-I love it!  Try  the brain games and the puzzle games; I was able to keep busy for the entire trip!  I tried it because some experts recommend puzzles and brain teaser to keep the brain young and who knows maybe it will work... if I can just remember where I put my keys......