[korean feasts and cyprus diaries]

Topic: The Mission

Unfortunately, due to the NYC transit strike, I missed last night’s marathon holiday banquet. Something new under this ambassador, the banquet consisted of a lavish buffet, a raffle at which dozens of gifts were given out, and a hired master of ceremonies who conducted interviews and game show-like activities in between speeches by just about everyone. The entire affair lasted a grueling four hours, I’m told, and for obvious reasons most of it took place in Korean, so it was hard on my speechwriting colleague.

On a different note, one of the diplomats just dropped by my office with an odd holiday gift: a yearbook-sized, fake-leather-bound 2006 “Cyprus Diary” with gilt pages. Essentially a glorified day-runner, it’s obviously a production of the government of Cyprus, and includes a map of the European Union (which Cyprus recently joined), a map of Cyprus itself (undivided), and pages of basic info about the country, including a lengthy section on “The Cyprus Problem,” which I haven’t read.

So far, though, I’m still waiting on a new wall calendar. Last year we got one from the Korea National Tourism Organization (whose URL has a grammatical error) and an even bigger one from Asiana Airlines. With a week to go, though, all I’ve got is an awkward little “Dynamic Korea” desk calendar from the Korean OverSeas (sic) Information Service.