Washington, DC: Surviving the Around the World Embassy Tour
I am almost ashamed to admit this, since I have been a DC resident for almost 12 years. Yesterday was my first time attending one of the Passport DC events.
- Avoid, like the plague, any embassy singled out in the Washington Post as a “must go to” place. The Post has wonderful intentions in highlighting which embassies will have food and alcoholic beverages. But everyone reads the Post. Guatemala, one of the embassies noted in the Post this year, did have a local beer available to sample. The line wrapped around the block.
- Go early. I made the mistake of going at noon. The crowds seemed to die down by about 2:00 p.m. (but make no mistake, there were still a ton of people there). Also, many of the embassies run out of goodies or run out of food later in the day.
- Decide which embassies you want to visit and wait it out. It became evident very early on that going to the 10 embassies I wanted to go to was not realistic. So I then decided to go to Indonesia (because I have a trip planned there later in the year), Guatemala (to taste the beer of course) and then Sri Lanka (because someone told me there was no line to get in).
- Dress appropriately. You will do a LOT of walking. Comfortable shoes is a requirement. You should probably also carry sunblock as well as a bottle of water.
- Set low expectations. After waiting in line to go to the Guatemalan Embassy and getting my free sample of beer, the embassy experience it self was very under whelming. Take this event as what it is–a chance to visit an embassy for free. Don’t expect a life changing experience.
- Consider paying for a more meaningful experience. Part of the reason I think I was underwhelmed was because I have been to some pretty fantastic embassy events. The group Things To Do DC (www.thingstododc.com) organizes embassy events that usually include native food, open bar (featuring drinks local to the country), entertainment, and sometimes even a visit from the Ambassador of the embassy. The events can be a bit on the pricey side (usually starting at about $50 per person), but this is a great option if you are looking for a more in depth and meaningful embassy experience.