Around the world in 80 days 30 embassies.

Foreign Embassies are an integral part of the cultural landscape here in the district but unless you manage to get invited to fancy parties at Ambassadors’ residences, you may not have many opportunities to see what lies beyond the security fences of these beautiful residences and buildings. Luckily, once a year, passport DC offers you a chance to get a glimpse at the diplomatic life with Passport DC, a month-long celebration of the vibrant international culture that is present in Washington D.C. The event kicks off on Saturday, May 1, with the Around the World Embassy Tour featuring more than 30 embassies. Having learned my lesson from trying to visit too many embassies too far apart in too little time previously, I have a plan for this Saturday and I believe it to be both tasty and manageable:

1) First stop at 10 am will be at the Embassy of Colombia (1520 20th Street, NW) for a good cup of coffee. Let’s face it, I’m not a morning person so I’ll need the caffeine to fully appreciate the beauty of the Ambassador’s Residence, which will be open for tours.

2) From the Colombian Embassy it’s just a short stroll to the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti (2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). This former French colony has gone through a tough time since the January 12 earthquake and there won’t be any food and drinks there. Instead, you can appreciate Haiti’s cultural heritage and how it was affected by the devastating earthquake. The exhibit also highlights the current situation and reconstruction plans under the National Heritage Preservation Institute and the Ministry of Culture.

3) By 11 am I’ll be standing in line outside the Embassy of Japan (2520 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). The Embassy will be offering special guided tours of the Japanese teahouse which is hidden in its grounds. The Ippakutei is influenced by the 17th century teahouse at the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto and is considered the greatest of its kind outside of Japan so I can’t wait to see it, even if it means lining up for a little bit to get tickets, which will be distributed at 11 am for scheduled tours between 1 pm and 4 pm.

4) Just in time for lunch, I will make my way to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Korus House (2370 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) because let’s face it, I’ll be hungry and they’ll be serving Korean barbeque, kimchi, and other snacks! They’ll also be re-dedicating the Korea Cultural Center and offering Taekwondo demonstrations and family friendly workshops.

5) Pretty much next door is the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic (2360 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). I know next to nothing about this Central Asian nation so why not?

6) At this point I will either be tired of waiting in lines or I’ll try and check out a different area… If I head home, the Embassy of Australia (1601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) is on my walk back so I might drop by for some didgeridoo music and a taste of Aussie foods like lamb, cheese and vegemite. Otherwise, I’d love to check out the Embassy of Brazil (3000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) near Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan. The Residence of the Ambassador of Brazil was designed in 1908 by John Russell Pope in a late Beaux-Arts, early 16th-century Italian Renaissance style. It’s not open to the public every day so this is quite a rare opportunity.  In the same part of town are the Embassy of the Republic of Benin (2124 Kalorama Road, NW) and the Embassy of Nepal (2730 34th Place, NW) so we’ll see how much time I have to do everything!

Coffee, kimchi, vegemite… the Embassy Open House allows you to take a culinary tour around the globe and view beautiful art and architecture, all without leaving DC! A perfect staycation!

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