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Khirad On December - 19 - 2010

A fitting way to start the journey up Embassy Row. With Gandhiji leading the way.

I was led to believe that India gave open tours. Boy was I crestfallen when the doors were locked.

Actually off Embassy Row, but I’ll fit it in. Indonesia.

Can’t recall which embassy had this little number in their gardens.

The only question in this picture is, is that the Dutch flag, or Luxembourg’s? Oh yeah, and Turkey only has like 10,000 embassy installations.

Egypt too. Ever wanna get a sense of our strategic alliances? Walk Embassy Row. Ireland got itself a pretty nice piece of corner real estate, I might add.

Had I visited a week later, the EU countries were all giving open houses. That would have been fun!

Seriously, they need a big statue of Aphrodite or Zeus in front here. And for goodness sakes get a gardener! Don’t forget the Windex when you clean the windows, either!

I forget whose this is. All I know is that it’s not France, but a country that seems counterintuitive. Oh yeah, and we’re totally not ignoring you, Estonia.

I had to peek in to make Sure Orally Taints wasn’t there harassing the staff.

To the left was Kenya, Vietnam, and then another Turkish installation. Can someone say awkward?

A khatchkar, commemorating 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia (they were one of the first to officially adopt the religion).

I got chills.

This wasn’t that long after the earthquake. It seemed full of activity.

This was just too perfect. I wish more of them did something like this to reflect their national character.

I got the distinct impression that this looked like the compound of a drug cartel kingpin.

Speaking of compounds…

The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. Totally bums me out that I didn’t go in. I stood in front of it, looked at the guy waiting outside the door, and got nervous, wondering if it was prayer time and left after standing there for a few minutes. It really does eat me up I didn’t go inside. It was one of the things I most wanted to do in D.C.

Rock Creek Park which runs through Embassy Row.

I just knew whose embassy this once was. When I got back that night, I looked up my hunch and was proved right. Can’t find any period photos of it in its prime, though.

Potsherds and debris are left there to make a point, I think (can’t really see them here). Seems like it’s left from crumbling completely just for that purpose.

I mean, c’mon. This could only be the British Embassy. This is how one treats ones former colonial overlords! They also give tours, I thought, but by this time it was so confusing, I felt overwhelmed and tired from walking on a hot spring day, and I almost didn’t care anymore.

Likewise for those socialist Finns of the international left. This could only be the Finnish embassy.

Norway has a distinctive swallow-tail flag for use as its state flag and war flag. Being the same flag how do you know which is which? After it’s too late, of course. Crafty Vikings!

I can only imagine how much gaudy gold furniture is inside this place.

If you look close enough you might see Prof. Jill Biden. (no, not really, don’t strain your eyes!)

This is where the time is kept, at the Naval Observatory. I had to reset my pocket watch here.

See what happens when you allow yourself to get enliberated? A nice cottage embassy like this. You’re welcome, Iraq.

And with the talk of Egypt, we can’t forget our other favorite authoritarian Arab BFF. They had a pretty nice place too.

Something about this made me laugh. The Salvadoran Consulate.

Guess whose ’embassy’ I found!

Zed’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Georgetown. What more fitting end to such an international day? (And the waitress was gorgeous, I might add.)

On this day, also went to the National Cathedral, but decided to split up the day into two posts. The National Cathedral will constitute the next installment. Hope to see you there.

29 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    Okay, answers:



    Not to be confused with the Netherlands


    We got Vatican, though there were some good guesses.

    As to the old embassy?

    After the Shah was deposed by Islamic revolutionaries and Americans were taken hostage at our embassy in Tehran in 1979, normal diplomatic relations ended. All Iranian diplomatic properties here were seized, including the chancery and the ambassador’s residence. Over the years, the State Department has used the chancery for offices, including one that dispensed diplomatic license plates. The residence has twice served as the Decorators Show House to raise money for the National Symphony Orchestra and has been rented out to individuals.


    Thus, the final one is of a little girl taking off her mandatory hejab after exiting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “Interests Section”.

  2. Kalima says:

    Beautiful pictures Khirad, and you must have brought the blue skies and sunshine with you that day.

    With my failing vision, I found it hard to even see many of the flags, sorry.

    I’ve always wondered if it is really such a good idea to have so many different Embassies clustered together in such a small area. The Embassies here for instance are very much in different parts of the city or rather wards as different areas are known as here. I’ve always thought it seemed safer that way.

    • Khirad says:

      Indeed. New ones are being built around town, but they are still mostly located along two streets. International Square and Drive in Cleveland Park is also a newer section away from the others. As such, being on foot, I was not able to see Pakistan, Israel, etc.

      And totally lame, I forgot to upload my photo of Japan’s chancery building.

      Speaking of, how lucky did Portugal get?

      • Kalima says:

        I was expecting dreary with Japan, I wasn’t disappointed. It really is like so many other government owned buildings you see around the city here. It’s almost like they are too shy to spend our money, but don’t mind stealing it at all.

        I love the colour of the Portuguese Embassy, something very comforting about red house bricks or red roofs for that matter.

        Thanks for the extra pix.

        • Khirad says:

          If they can’t all get buildings representative of themselves, they should at least paint them in their colors!

          I must say, the Japanese chancery was definitely Japanese, and yet somehow depressing.

          You nailed it. I would not have been aware that this is a common government style there. It’s almost Soviet in its bleakness -- while its lines are Japanese.

          Back to the original, there’s a few countries I’m definitely glad aren’t near each other!

  3. Questinia says:

    I am only more and more impressed by

    1) DC as an incredibly elegant city.

    2) Your phenomenal luck with weather!

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    Those buildings/mansions were gorgeous! Although, I know how you feel about wishing each country has a building reflecting its national identity. I would love to see Embassy row look more like Epcot (just kidding, but at least a bit more representative of their architecture.)

    But, I suppose, that would mean that all American embassies in other countries would look like--what? What is out national architecture? The trailer? A ranch house? I don’t think we have an architectural tradition, do we?

    And BTW, really good photos!

  5. choicelady says:

    OK -- the crumbling ruin -- S. Vietnam? And I LIKE to think I’m up on world events…

    Beautiful, funny, thoughtful, and gorgeous all rolled into one. I’ve never “done” Embassy Row for two reasons: never had time (usually there in the winter), and I knew the husband of the woman, Ronnie Karpen Moffitt, who was bombed along with Chilean Orlando Letelier in 1976. Kinda took the sparkle off the area for me. Those are amazing buildings though, and it IS the whole world clustered together, so it is fascinating to see your trek and what you found.

    I thought the gold chairs would be Brunei though. Or a Marcos era leftover from the Philippines. Had not remembered -- never remember -- the Vatican rates as a “nation state”.

    And yes -- Myanmar is tres creepy.

    Thanks, Khirad! And for the picture of the Ethiopian feed. One of my favorite cuisines. Yum! We will live vicariously through you on this and all you did on this amazing trip. We await the National Cathedral!

    • Khirad says:

      I just looked that up, and her plaque is in Sheridan Circle, my preview picture. Had I known…

      Luis Posada Carriles sure got around, it seems.

      Ooh, Brunei -- totally a good guess. Right basic flag colors, right sense of glitter and pomp.

      South Vietnam not a bad guess from the front, but the dome is more Middle Eastern. 😉

      I’m being a total brat. I always annoy people like this. :-)

  6. PatsyT says:

    Keep it coming Khirad!
    You are giving Rick Steves some competition!
    In an American Way 😉

  7. kesmarn says:

    The Salvadoran Consulate right next to Breugger’s Bagels in a strip shopping center?? Maybe there should be a Krispy Kreme Donut shop on the grounds of the British Embassy?

    Khirad, this is wonderful. Thanks so much, again. But --OK, I know my brain is very sluggish tonight — but I do hope you plan to supply an answer key. I don’t know the answers to a few of the teaser questions!

    E.g. Which country would have a lot of gaudy gold furniture? Since Alaska is a state and not a country? Help me out here!

    • Khirad says:

      I do sometimes forget my knowledge of flags is a little inhuman.

      But, the Pope might have to have a word with you for not recognizing this flag. 😉

      And there may have been a teaser too many in there.

      Maybe if I’m feeling charitable later. Mwahahaha.

      I’ll let others give a crack at them first.

      • kesmarn says:

        Hey! I couldn’t see that papal coat of arms from here!

        Don’t turn my name in the the Inquisitors! Nooooooooo….

        On second thought, there are a couple of Jesuits I’d like to have a word with…

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