Lily Strelich
Apr 29 · 4 min read

We asked, you answered. An illustrated guide to the District’s icons.

A very silly Tumblr user mapsontheweb made a very silly map of responses to the question: “People getting off planes in Hawaii get a lei. If this same tradition applied to the rest of the U.S., what would each state immediately give to visitors?”

The map is delightful.

The only problem? Poor lil DC isn’t on there!

So we decided to answer this question ourselves — with help from 153 of our Loyal Readers who were kind enough to be on their bullshit with us. We’ve broken down your responses here, complete with illustrations by yours truly.

1. A little bit of mumbo sauce in my liiiife

DC’s homegrown sauce was the favorite by far. 18 of you said mumbo sauce and 7 of you said mambo sauce. Apparently you’re both right, thanks to legal battle over name rights.

Some of you also gave serving instructions, and we appreciate your attention to detail.

“They would get Nickelodeon-style slimed, but with Mumbo sauce.”

“Bound copy of the Mueller Report, covered in Mumbo sauce.”

“Mumbo sauce. Then all your friends move away.”

2. Y’all are a bunch of softies

A classic. 13 of you recommended we give guests cherry blossom bouquets and leis, bless your sweet and earnest hearts. Don’t ever change. Other kind and generous offerings to our visitors:

“Materials to make your own protest sign (posterboard, markers, etc.)”

“The baggie of Benadryl, Claritin, and Zoloft at the bottom of my purse.”

“A helmet for scooter and bike rides.”

“A WMATA pocket map.”

…plus several calls for instructions on how to stand right, walk left.

3. Also a bunch of pencil-pushin’ nerds

The Mueller Report got several votes. Also a whole-ass 8 of you said pocket versions of the Constitution??? Thank you for reminding us a portion of our city is just a big horny JSA conference, ugh.

Other must-have business accessories:

“A business card.”

“A name badge on a lanyard.”

“An invitation to join their network on LinkedIn.”

4. DC flavor pairings

Thank you to folks who believe every visitor should do their homework first.

“A half smoke with a copy of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.”

“A $15 Old Fashioned and a copy of Street Sense.”

“Binder of printed Popville comment sections.”

This feels like a pretty good starter syllabus. Hoping the Popville comments, like everything else about Popville, are meant to serve as a cautionary tale.

5. Statehood 101

Looks like providing educational opportunities for visitors is a big priority for you. There were several mentions of taxation without representation but special thanks to the performance artists who want to give visitors a truly immersive learning experience:

“Charge them $1, ask what snack they want, hand them a wet napkin full of steamed Brussel sprouts. Taxation without representation.”

“I would take 50% of what’s in their wallet and give them nothing in return.”

“No gift. Riffle through their pockets and take any loose change or cash, duct tape is put over their mouth, and then they’re kicked in the ass to move on. (Taxation without representation.)”

“An example of a DC driver’s license to indicate that yes, we are a federal district with our own boundaries and laws.”

6. Hard-hitting responses that are hard to draw

Y’all didn’t pull any punches.

“Crippling debt and *mild* drinking problem.”


7. …and our winners

“The two-dimensional husks of rats that get run over and baked into frisbees on the asphalt in the middle of summer.”

“A pupusa.”

“A lei… made of Jumbo Slices”

(are the droplets grease? humidity sweat? tears over dc’s lack of statehood? who’s to know)

If anyone wants to put together the petition to get this going, let us know.

…or have an idea for a silly survey? Send it our way:

OR if anyone wants to teach me how to use literally anything besides the default brush setting on Illustrator, tweet @lilystrelich


Connecting Washingtonians to their city, to their communities, and to one another.

Lily Strelich

Written by

writer & illustrator | editor/art director @730_DC |



Connecting Washingtonians to their city, to their communities, and to one another.

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