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Around-the-World Embassy Tour
Passport DC is a month-long event in May with more than 100 international events and activities that educate visitors and residents of the Washington, D.C., area about our global community. Every first Saturday of the month is the signature event known as the Around the World Embassy Tour. With D.C. home to more embassies than any other city in the world, usually over 40 embassies (in 2013 it was 44), representing six continents, invite the public with a rare behind-the-scenes look into their stately mansions and exclusive compounds to experience their country's food, art, dance, and music. Out of the 44, I crossed over the border into 10 countries in one day: Indonesia, Haiti, Belize, Barbados, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. (Yes, when you are in an embassy, you are officially on that country's soil). So I chowed down on the Kyrgyz Republic's national dish known as plov (lamb and rice), drank Haitian coffee and Barbancourt rum, sampled rendang and sambal spices from Indonesia, sipped Turkish coffee, savored barbecue chicken with beans and rice and panty-ripper cocktails from Belize... and heard the sounds of "Gangnam Style" blaring outside the South Korean Embassy, saw samba and capoeira performances at the Brazilian Ambassador's residence. And there was hand-shaking and mingling with ambassadors and diplomats.... Talk about a full day of cultural immersion!
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