Yesterday I went on the Around the World Embassy Tour for the Non-EU countries. Next weekend will be the EU countries open houses and I plan to go to some of those as well. There were almost thirty different embassies that opened their doors and welcomed guests with food, music, cultural presentations, and more. I made it to twelve different embassies in the five hours that I was downtown. We started off in Namibia where we saw arts and crafts as well as a slide show featuring beautiful scenes from around the country. Next it was on to Rwanda were there were more crafts, including some really beautiful baskets and jewelry. They also treated us to Rwandan coffee – delicious! The next stop was Botswana where we were treated to tastes of pounded goat meat and a dish that included black-eyed peas and corn. They were also showing clips from the HBO series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency based on the book series which is set in Botswana. After these three African countries we set off for Australia. The line for Australia was long, but they handed out samples of Vegemite to us while we waited. Once inside we were greeted by a didgeridoo player, members of the Australian armed forces and were offered samples of Australian wine, cheese, and lamb. They also had a display of Australian reptiles on loan from the Baltimore Aquarium. Around the corner from Australia was Kazakhstan, which was one of the most beautiful embassies. There were ornate carved wood doorways and displays of golden artifacts from the fourth and fifth centuries BC.
After leaving Kazakhstan we hopped on the shuttle bus up Connecticut Ave to near the University of the District of Columbia. In this area of the city are several embassies in newer buildings. The first one we went to was Pakistan where we bought some delicious Pakistani food – chicken kabobs with pita, and enjoyed listening to some live music. Although the embassy was in a new building they had included references to Islamic architectural motifs throughout. After Pakistan, we headed next door to Nigeria where there was more music and a nice display of arts and crafts. At this point time was running short so we headed to the last group of embassies that were open in this area: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Bahrain. It was a fantastic day and a uniquely DC experience.