Sunday, June 29, 2008

Embasy Row

N 38 52.736 W 077 01.507

Today was our final day as tourists in D.C. We had an ambitious schedule. We were to walk Embassy Row, see Georgetown, go to the White House Visitor Center, and finally to a show at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Well, we started out with the Embassy Row walk. We had lots of fun and took a zillion pictures. However, by the time we got back to the bus, we had been walking for four hours straight in the heat. We were beat and our feet hurt. We canceled the rest of today's itinerary.

We have pictures of hundreds of embassies, but here's a few of the best. Above left-to-right, top-to-bottom
  • Unknown
  • Embassy of Estonia
  • Unknown trio
  • Kenyan coat of arms
  • Embassy of Belize plaque
  • Residence of the Embassy of Great Brittan
  • Entrance to the New Zealand Embassy
  • Libby at Churchill's foot
  • Buffaloes on the left. Buffaloes on the right. Damn the buffaloes, full speed ahead.
Most of the embassies were very beautiful. The USA is (for the time being) the richest, most powerful nation on Earth, so this is where countries would spend the most to make an impressive embassy.

We saw more black Hondas with DPL license plates than any other brand of automobile. That's surprising, and a positive plug for Hondas; they ought to make an ad.

Some embassies were embarrassing. Haiti appears to have spent more on their embassy than they ever spent on their populace. A beautiful Islamic embassy sits across the street from GB. It is abandoned, rusting, and the ceramic tiles are falling off. We guess that it must have been the embassy of Iran. Unbelievably, the Embassy of United Arab Emirates was padlocked and had peeling paint. I presume that they must have moved to more grand and richer quarters, but they ought to remove their name from the old place. The Embassy of South Korea had a huge pile of old newspapers piled in front of their front door. It looked like 3 months worth of papers. They should ask their neighbors to take in the newspapers when they're out of town.

On the modest side, a simple plaque on a door under a staircase leads to the basement office of the Consulate of Madagascar. That was charming.

The Islamic Center is very beautiful. We're not sure if it is an embassy or what.

The biggest, grandest and most beautiful of all Embassies, is that of Great Brittan. (What else would you expect?) The GB embassy compound seems to occupy two city blocks right next to the Vice President's Residence. No doubt, they bought the land in 1780 or so when land was cheap to buy.

The second most beautiful, and by far the most stylish is Sweden House.

The second grandest embassy we saw was that of New Zealand. The NZ compound was also huge. It appears that it may have been carved out of the GB embassy property. We didn't see the Canadian Embassy, but we did see an arrow pointing down an alley to it. Sounds like a juicy bit of diplomatic scandal there -- perhaps 200 years old. Why did NZ get such grand treatment from GB but not Canada?

We saw mansions for the Daughters of the American Revolution, The Daughters of American Colonists, and The National Society of Colonial Dames of America. Jeez, what a bunch of snooty matrons.

Coincidentally, I saw a sign today at the night club right in front of this marina. The night club is called H2O at Hogate. Hogate? I thought that referred to the Don Imus scandal. It reminds me though. In modern DC, they ought to have a mansion for the American Ho Society.

There are a few private homes sprinkled among the embassies. Assuming that they don't belong to ambassadors, one wonders who would pay out so many millions for such an address? Extreme diplomat wannabes maybe.

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