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At the Red Carpet Club

Wednesday afternoon, I was in a United Red Carpet Club at Dulles International Airport, waiting for my flight to Heathrow. I had a few minutes before I needed to grab dinner, so I found an unoccupied corner, took a seat, and proceeded to log on and get some work done.

I hadn't been there long when a large group came in and sat down across from me. It consisted of one American male with a group from an Asian country -- a leader of the group (male) and three aides (one female and two male), the entire group in business attire. I kept on working, but couldn't help overhearing that the group was from Indonesia, the leader was the Indonesian Minister of Defence, and the American was an escort from the State Department, assigned to see them to their onward flight (to Rome).

The Indonesians seemed far more knowledgeable about world events than did the American. Their discussion turned to Poland at one point, and one of the aides explained to the American that the Polish Prime Minister and President are identical twins. "Really?" asked the American. The Indonesian repeated it. "Really?" he said once again. I piped in. "Yes, it's true," I said. "They're identical twins." Then, in a jokingly conspiriatorial tone, I half-whispered, "But they're kind of crazy." The Indonesians all started laughing, including the Minister. The American looked nervous and said, "Uh, he's not an official representative of the State Department." I said, "Well, I think the word The Economist used was 'unstable', actually." More laughter. More nervous looks from the State Department functionary.

(Actually, The Economist didn't use the word "unstable". What they called the KaczyƄski government was "vengeful, paranoid, addicted to crises, divided and mostly incompetent" (article here). But I was close.)

I had to leave for my flight soon after that -- though not before the Indonesians nearly had to explain to the American what a blog was. Ah, civil service.


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