Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dancing Adults, A Most Terrifying Sales Pitch and A New Assignment

It has been an eventful few months in ole’ Washington, DC. While Son spent a month with Grandma in Bulgaria in August, the Diplomat and I decided to find the fun side of the city and to prove to ourselves how youthful we are. During our month of child-free frivolity, we discovered a very cool bar in the basement of the Hay Adams hotel called Off the Record, which with its red velvet walls and old-fashioned luxurious cocktails feels like something out of 1930s. After a few martinis coupled with Moscow mules, we decided that it was time to go dancing. Our first stop was the old classic Black Cat, which features live music, cheap drinks and 99.99% patrons 23 or younger (the Diplomat and I formed the 0.01%). After 30 minutes of being jostled by said youth, we gulped down our scotch and left in a hurry.

The next weekend, determined to find our path, we ended up at the Living Room, a hip and relatively new club, which was decidedly a step up. This time around, the average age of the cavorting dancers was a much more mature 28 and so the Diplomat and I ventured on the dance floor ourselves. It was wild, unabashed fun for about 20 minutes until we realized that everyone around us was absurdly drunk and what we took for dancing in the beginning was more like swaying back and forth, trying not to fall down. We left soon after that. Not one to be deterred by such trivial setbacks on my path to fun, I decided to research and find that one elusive place in Washington, DC where people our age went to hang out, dance and not feel 107 years old. I went straight to Google and typed: “clubs for adults in washington, dc.” I think y’all can guess what results I got out of that. So, we are back to good old foot research and once I find that elusive cool spot, I will certainly let you know.

Once Grandma and Son came back, we decided that we needed to show them some really good time, and show them what a Virginia beach looks like. To cut the cost of the lavish weekend down, we booked ourselves in the Sheraton in Norfolk, VA using points. Turns out, Norfolk has a newly developed waterfront area with several hip restaurants and one bar with a mechanical bull and waitresses dressed in cowboy boots, fish net stockings, thongs, and Hooters-style …uum, let’s call them blouses. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated and that bar happened to be next to the waiting area of the BBQ restaurant. As a result, Son was glued to the bar entrance, claiming it was because of the bull and that he was not hungry. After spending Saturday in Virginia Beach, playing endless family games of Uno and frolicking in the water, on Sunday, we planned on going to Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg. The thing is, I had come into this great deal where we would get 4 tickets for the price of one in exchange for one teensy weensy little timeshare presentation to last a mere one hour. MAYBE an hour and a half. So, bright and early on Sunday, we headed to the hotel where the presentation was to take place. While we were waiting, I was pleased to see that the sales people were going fast through their spiel and seemed cognizant of why people were there – to get free stuff.

We started off rocky – we grabbed breakfast and the sales person (Bob) insisted that we finish before he began, no matter how many times we asked him to get going. Then he also insisted in taking our plates and tossing them in the trash. During all this, he was “establilshing rapport” with us, which largely meant him telling us he is a retired military and his wife Connie and him have bought one million trillion timeshares and it is, like, the best investment ever. An excruciating hour and half later, as we were writhing in agony listening to his pitch (which made no sense whatsoever – do you really believe that Williamsburg is the third most visited tourist spot in the U.S.??), he sadistically made us go on a 30-min tour of the property to show us how amazing it was (it was not). Finally, we sat back down and he asked us which unit we would like to buy. We said – none. He was astonished. Like –outright shocked. Speechless even. Once he regained his ability to speak (endlessly), he asked us in rather rude disbelief, “Which part of this did you not understand???” At this point, I was reaching a very high boiling point (I had planned to be at the park an hour earlier) and told him flat out that we are out. Naturally, he had to go to his manager, a large, rather menacing looking lady standing across the room, who listened to him, squinted her eyes at me angrily and strode over to us, plopping herself at the table with a fierce thud. She began pitching to us rapidly, in a very pissed tone, at which point I interrupted her and told her we were promised to be there for an hour, and it was already going on 2.5. She stared me down and suddenly yelled, “You are here because you want something, RIGHT??????” Errrr, yes, m’am, I said meekly in submission. So she ordered me to shut up and spend five minutes going through the pointless motions. Finally, the top boss came, signed off on the paper and let us go on our merry way to the park. I have never worked so hard to get something for free. And I am pretty sure it was my last. To his credit, the Diplomat did not say one word to me during and after, and eventually, much fun was had by all in Busch Gardens.

Most recently, we decided to brave the Thanksgiving traffic and go up to NYC to celebrate the holiday with old friends. Oddly, there wasn’t an ounce of traffic and we got to the Big Apple fresh and easy. We spent a couple of lovely days eating, drinking and catching up with our friends, and made it back down to DC on a sunny Saturday afternoon, again with not a trace of traffic. What kind of Thanksgiving miracle that was!

In other news, we have our next assignment – we are Kyiv bound in the summer of 2019! This was a dream assignment for us, but it was a nail-biter until the very bitter end – for a while, we thought we were going to Ghana and the Diplomat was already checking out golf country clubs in Accra. Instead, we will be shopping for sleds and fur coats. Which is just fine by me, thank you very much!


  1. I like reading your posts since I decided to take the next foreign officer test. They are fun and helpful. I hope you enjoy Ukraine. I lived there until I came to USA at 13. I hope to end up in Russia since I can still speak Ukrainian and Russian well.

  2. I chanced on your blog because I was searching for pros and cons of working in the foreign ministry here in Ghana. I'm a bit confused because as a profession quantity surveyor I've just been offered a job with one of my dream construction companies, called AECOM here in Ghana and the offer is very good. However, i also passed the foreign ministry exams and I've been scheduled for the final step, which is the interview before the year ends. You see, I've always wanted to travel, experience other cultures and I got married in 2017 and I'm expecting a baby sometime next year. My husband is open to any decision i choose. I know the foreign service is a different field in terms of my profession but I like the idea of being a diplomat and the many benefits that comes with it. The truth is I don't mind swapping my career to be in the foreign service but if I'm to take such a decision, I want to be sure it will be a great experience without regrets. I know the US is entirely different from how things work here in Ghana but as soon as you mentioned Ghana in your blog, I felt this great urge to ask for your opinion and especially with you being a mom as you think I should go ahead with the foreign service if I pass the interview, which I have a gut feeling I will.