Friday, August 27, 2010

Embassies of Washington, Part 12 (Middle East)

Salaam and good evening, my friends. Today is our Middle East special, as I have finally snapped the Saudis' elegant edifice between the Kennedy Center and the Watergate. Four of these embassies are in the International Drive area featured in the last post (along with Bahrain's and Kuwait's, who I sadly ran out of room for in this group of ten, but you'll see them soon), the others scattered in residential neighborhoods across town. From the top: Egypt, the highly inconspicuous Iranian interests section of the embassy of Pakistan, and the embassies of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Embassies of Washington, Part 11 (International Drive, Van Ness)

Washington's Embassy Row stretches along two miles of Massachusetts Avenue, full of historic buildings as well as more modern showpieces. International Drive and International Court, a bit more remote in the Van Ness area, is the Embassy Row of the post-9/11 universe. 17 embassies occupy these streets, along with a State Department building. I visited the Austrian and Slovak embassies at the north end of the stretch on EU open house day last May. The other 15 countries are Asian, Middle Eastern and African powers and wealthy kingdoms, and their fortresses are fairly well-guarded, much like the more recently constructed embassies of the United States abroad. China's new home in DC, designed by I.M. Pei and one of the largest embassies in the city, is the showpiece of the bunch. I'm doing a special Middle East edition next, so those six will have wait, while I posted my picture of Slovakia's embassy back in Part 3. Here are the remaining 10 embassies from today's trip: Austria, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, the People's Republic of China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and Singapore.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Embassies of Washington, Part 10

Today's batch of diplomatic buildings includes the embassies of Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Ireland, Mongolia, Myanmar, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe (an embassy which I like because of its lawn sculptures, although it often looks abandoned and flies its flag less frequently than any other embassy I often walk by). We've now hit 100 embassies photographed and posted here, so we're more than halfway through the project. The inclusion of Belarus and Tajikistan today completes the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin would be proud. Overall, we're at 24 of 27 European Union members, 16 of 23 other European countries, 19 of 34 American countries (leaving out the USA itself), 15 of 42 Asian countries, 22 of 53 African countries, and 4 out of 14 countries in Oceania.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Embassies of Washington, Part 9

Some of the world's sovereign states are quite small, and financial resources for diplomacy are not unlimited. Therefore, a number of countries which are small and or extremely poor (like the Democratic Republic of Congo) do not have their own embassy buildings in Washington, but make do with a suite in an office building. An alternative is a moving into a diplomatic building with all your friends, which is what five of the six independent members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States did. This nice building on New Mexico Avenue houses the embassies of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The OECS is a tight-knit group, sharing a currency that well predates the euro. Guess which of these smallest countries in the Western Hemisphere decided it needed its own embassy closer to the White House? Here's a hint.

Since we have some extra room for pics today because of OECS cooperation, I've broken the one photo per country rule for India and Iraq. Like many countries, India has multiple buildings in DC, but they haven't built a showpiece reflective of their anticipated 21st Century power yet. There is a lovely statue of Mahatma Gandhi in front of their ancient chancery building on Embassy Row, so I focused the shot on that. I like the elephants at the entrance to their consular wing, so you get a picture of that too.

America has finally exited Iraq, sort of, and I celebrate by posting pics of three of Iraq's buildings in the city. The chancery is way up on Massachusetts Avenue north of Observatory Circle, near my house. The big building in Dupont Circle which I had always thought was their main building is actually their consular wing. And on 16th Street, I recently discovered the representation in the United States of the Kurdistan Regional Government... perhaps a nascent independent state?

Also this week we have Barbados - the seventh-smallest country in the hemisphere and home of the United States's single embassy covering it and the six OECS countries - and France and Panama. The photos are in alphabetical order: Antigua and Barbuda plus four, Barbados, France, India chancery, India consular wing, Iraq chancery, Iraq consular wing, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Panama.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Europe, Eat Your Seal Heart Out

A bad day for seals - the European General Court in Brussels has suspended the EU's ban on seal products from coming into force as an injunction was requested by Canadian and Greenlandic Inuit groups. Like Roger Clemens being indicted, this brings back memories - of the Governor General of Canada eating a raw seal heart on TV last year to protest the ban.

Flashback to Clemens on Capitol Hill

Roger Clemens has been indicted, deservedly, for lying in his testimony before Congress on February 13, 2008. This is the only time I have been inside the Capitol, as I attended after writing a story for Kiplinger about how steroids had been good for baseball's bottom line, while the game lost its innocence in the process. That's me in the back, right in front of the cameraman in green and behind the hand of Charles P. Scheeler, the guy testifying in between Clemens and Brian McNamee, in this New York Times photo.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Embassies of Washington, Part 8

As I continue my quest to photograph all of the embassies in Washington, I discovered the last treasure trove of them, the very wealthy neighborhood of Sheridan-Kalorama between Massachusetts Avenue (Embassy Row) and Connecticut Avenue, Florida Avenue and Rock Creek Park. There's lots of ambassador's residences there as well, but also embassies including Afghanistan's, Serbia's, Syria's and Yemen's. And Monaco's. So I think I've got 100 after today, but you'll have to be patient. Today we have a bit of a Balkan special: Albania, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Paraguay, Senegal, Serbia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.