Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crime Writer in Washington

This past weekend, I got a four-day pass out of computer hell and went to the nation's capital just in time to greet the re-opening of the government.  Planned events included dinner with a friend of a friend, a ball at the Italian Embassy, a two-day sojourn at the home of a dear college classmate, and a book presentation to the members of two book clubs.

I booked a hotel that I thought would be near the embassy.  It turned out to be in Chinatown:

When I arrived the place smelled like hotdogs.  I would have preferred the aroma fried dumplings and soy sauce.

I went out for a coffee in the afternoon and found some things of interest in the area around the hotel:

As it turned out the hotel was comfortable enough and the eau de Hotdog was soon replaced with the scent of Fabreeze.

Dinner on Thursday was at the Cafe Milano, which bills itself as frequented by important politicians, government staff members, and lobbyists.  My dinner hosts turned out to be two of the most gracious people I have ever met.  City Councilman, and mayoral candidate Jack Evans and his wife Michele.  Lovely does not begin to describe how very nice she is.

I was invited to the ball at the embassy because I had made a donation to the CAG, Citizens Association of Georgetown--which involves itself in historic preservation, a cause I support.

I had never been to an embassy party before.  I expected the surroundings to be elegant in the extreme.  I thought the building itself would look like this (the former Italian Embassy):

Instead the new building looks like this:

I KNOW I reveal my lack of sophistication when I say that the new building looks more prison-like than embassy-like to me.

The guests at the party made up for the lack of swankiness in our surroundings.  The food was wonderful; the Italians haven't changed in that respect.  While there, I got to speak briefly to a heroine of my youth as a fighter for women's rights--Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is now the member of the US Congress representing Washington.  I had invited my friend Judy Lobbin to go with me to the event.  She and I also had a wonderful conversation with the Ambassador from the Netherlands.
Eleanor Holmes Norton addressing the crowd

Jack Evans, second from left.  Eleanor Holmes Norton, next to Jack.

Here is how Judy and I looked when we returned to Chinatown after the ball was over.

I spent the next two days at the home Judy and her husband Fred, where they hosted about twenty book lovers and I presented Blood Tango.

When I arrived home on Monday, computer hell still awaited me, but the respite had restored my patience.  I will soldier on, running from old machine to new in pursuit of progress on the techno-front.

© 2013 Annamaria Alfieri



  1. Annamaria--Thanks for the pictures. I get to D.C.occasionally to see Shakespeare (the plays, not the playwright). I would think that there would be readers in the D.C. area that would be really excited to read Blood Tango.
    When I think of mysteries set in D.C., I always remember a Leslie Ford novel with a great title--Washington Whispers Murder."

  2. What do women wear to an embassy ball? Looks like both long and short in your pictures. How do guests know what to wear - are there directions? tjstraw

  3. Steph, I passed the Shakespeare theater several times on my way to and from a great coffee and gelato bar. I looked longingly at the posters--Bardolator that I am. Thelma, your question was one that made made me VERY nervous. I asked a lot of advice from people swankier than me. In the end, I wore what I always wear, that pouffy long silk skirt and a silk top. My best jewelry. I envy men. They put on a tuxedo and wear the same thing every time and it is always right. But don't get me on the subject of how unfair fashion is to women.