Travel the World Without Leaving D.C.

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A pal and I ventured to Colombia, Singapore, Haiti, Croatia, Korea, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic in less than five hours this past Saturday without ever leaving D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

How’d we do it? We attended Cultural Tourism D.C.‘s Passport D.C. Around the World Embassy Tour event. Over 30 embassies and ambassadorial residences representing Africa, Asia, Latin America, and non-EU Europe opened their doors to the public as part of an ongoing series of events taking place throughout this month.

Colombia offered us strong coffee and live cumbia; Croatia, a video about the country and a tiny display of collectible dolls dressed in traditional embroidery; Korea, pop music videos and tae kwon do demos; Singapore showed off its regal building and little girls daintily performing classic dances. Haiti’s display most impressed me (and, in the spirit of full disclosure, they were the only embassy to give us a bite of a beef patty pastry and a swallow of rum punch). The walls of Haiti’s embassy were covered with mounted photos of the rubble and destruction brought by the debilitating earthquake of nearly four months ago. In the main entrance hall, a video of the tremor looped. It was an impressive reminder of all that the country has gone through.

We ended our ramble around the world at the embassy of the Dominican Republic, talking to Dominican artists, buying some tasty arroz con habichuelas (rice and beans, Dominican style), and watching embassy staff leisurely play dominoes at a table perched on the sidewalk.

Through its array of Passport D.C. events, Cultural Tourism D.C. aims to celebrate international culture and provide D.C. natives and visitors a better understanding of other countries and cultures. The fun continues this Saturday, May 8th, with open houses at EU embassies and consulates. On Saturday, May 15th, the Meridian International Center will host the fourth annual International Children’s Festival. And the National Asian Heritage Festival will conclude the month-long event on Saturday, May 22nd, with a street fair on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between 3rd and 6th Streets.

Photo: © Bruce Guthrie/Cultural Tourism DC