Passport DC

7 May

Hey all! Sorry for falling off the radar the past couple of days – I have been so busy living life that I haven’t had time to document it! I think that’s the best way to do it. I did get up to some pretty great things this weekend, the highlight being Passport DC’s Embassy Tours. The embassies of over 40 countries opened their doors to the general public and I spent most of Saturday going on my very own world tour without even leaving the city! It was very cultural, very informative, very D.C. 

My roommate and I started out pretty early in the morning and spent almost the full six hours (it was from 10 AM – 4 PM) touring various embassies around the city. By the end of the day we were totally wiped! We came home with quite a haul, though – a straw fan from Nicaragua, a guide book from Kazakhstan, an apron and some wooden spoons from Mexico, and Nando’s Peri Peri sauce from South Africa! Having no idea that we were going to be given free stuff, we ended up lugging a lot of stuff around from embassy to embassy which made us look pretty put together, I’m sure.

Some highlights from the embassy tours:

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The beautiful Embassy of Mexico – each state was represented in tile mosaic along the ceiling.

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A carnival costume from Trinidad & Tobago – this thing was MASSIVE!

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The most charismatic woman I’ve ever met! Her name is Tebelelo Seretse and she is the ambassador to the US from Botswana. After a wonderful speech about what makes her country a great place to live (and visit), I went to thank her and shake her hand. In reply she said, “I do huggies” and gave me a massive hug. She just exuded joy and listening to her talk put the biggest smile on my face.

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Traditional Botswanan food – I tried a mopane worm (top right)! Apparently it’s hugely nutritious (full of protein) and a delicious among African bushmen. It was sort of chewy and crunchy, but I’ve tried worse 😉

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I was reunited with my beloved guava juice when we reached the Embassy of South Africa. If there is anywhere to buy fresh guavas in the United States, please let me know! I always eat a kilo of them as soon as I go back to Egypt.

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Stopped by the Embassy of Ghana to say hi – Stefano spent a summer there and really enjoyed the people and culture.

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Taking a much needed trip to visit my people. I’m a dual-citizen, but this was my first time in the Egyptian embassy!

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One of my food purchases was roz bil laban, Egyptian rice pudding. It tasted almost exactly like what my grandma makes. I will have to find a way to replicate it and post the recipe on the blog! This milk-based, creamy dessert is best when topped with cinnamon, raisins, and a healthy sprinkle of shredded coconut.

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Egypt being very stereotypically Egyptian. One of the activities was teaching kids how to write their names in hieroglyphics.

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An absolutely MONSTROUS woven rug that was hanging on the wall in the embassy – it must have been at least 25 feet tall! It shows all of the major cities in Egypt – I’m from Alexandria, the city at the very tippy top that’s right along the Mediterranean Sea.

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This was a painted rickshaw on display at the Embassy of Pakistan. I know the history between Pakistan and India, but it’s amazing how much of an Indian feel goes along with Pakistani music and food. I loved all the bright colors and the message on this display 🙂

There were several other embassies, but we only made it to about half before we ran out of time! Next May, I want to make sure and visit all the countries we missed this time around. I’m really looking forward to next weekend when the EU Open House occurs and all the European embassies are open to visit. I’ve been to the French embassy before, but I’d love to visit Italy’s!

The Passport DC event was really one of those times where I gave thanks for the city I live in. Free cultural events happen all the time and for a jet-setter like me who is not doing any traveling anytime soon (this will be my first summer since high school that I won’t be traveling abroad), it is nice to ease my wanderlust a bit by having these activities available. Thank you, DC!

Food For Thought: Have you ever been to any of these countries? What’s the strangest food you’ve ever tried?

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4 Responses to “Passport DC”

  1. Dawn H. May 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Oh wow, I wish I had known about this event – looks like an educational and entertaining day! Strangest food – probably tongue. Such a weird texture to chew down.

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta May 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Make sure you go to the Europe-only one next weekend!

      • Dawn H. May 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

        Oo, thanks for the heads up!

  2. bezzymates May 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Great event. We had a similar event like this in Toronto called Carivan. The host countries were in restaurants or banquet halls. I love the idea of using the actual embassies.

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