Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Halloween Day in the Life

Posted in Foreign Service Life, Generalities at 3:53 pm by graceandpoise

A few of my friends are fond of doing the occasional “day in the life” post.  Yesterday was a pretty unusual day, but most of my days aren’t worthy of actually sharing here anyway.  So without further ado…

0730 – Wake up to use the restroom.  Nervous about this bidding thing, so stay awake to check my email.  Email has a message that may point toward possible good news, but I won’t know for a few more days.

0745 – Decide to go back to bed and sleep in a little.

0815 – Still lying in bed wide awake, thinking about what that email might mean.

0830 – Give up and get out of bed.  Get onto the internet to see if anything’s going on in the world.  Read interesting article about an old map.  Give my husband a kiss as he heads off to the gym.

0900 – Realize I am hungry and haven’t had breakfast.  Go to the fridge and stare at it for a couple of minutes.  My normal breakfast (yogurt) doesn’t sound good today.  What does sound good: the yummy, super-meaty pasta sauce I made Thursday night with plenty of red wine in it.  Spoon plus leftover pasta meat sauce equals breakfast.

0930 – Pick up a “fluff” book and read for a while.  Have to wait to take a shower because the municipal authorities are doing some work on the water supply lines and have said there will be no water until 10:00AM.

1015 – Shower.  Talk to my husband as he comes home from the gym and gets cleaned up.  Start to get ready for work (yes, work on a Saturday – as I mentioned, a bit of an unusual day).

1115 – Gather my halloween costume components; put those and my husband’s halloween costume components together in a bag to take with us to south Mumbai.

1140 – Leave to catch a taxi to south Mumbai.

1245 – Arrive in south Mumbai.  Touch base with my USSS contact running the show at the Taj Mahal Hotel.  Go with my husband to Indigo Deli for some good food for lunch.

1345 – Back at the Taj Hotel, husband goes off elsewhere.  Touch base again, set up camp in the lobby.  Send a few emails/text messages back and forth to people coordinating things, and field a few phone calls.

1420 – G.W. Bush and his team arrive at the hotel.  Greet and touch base with his staff, make sure everything’s squared away with their arrangements.  Spend the next several hours chasing down bits of information, chasing down people’s passports to prepare for the next morning’s departure, and passing messages between various individuals.  Meet Mr. Prem Watsa, dubbed “the Warren Buffett of Canada” – super-nice guy.

1830 – The CG (guy who heads up our operation in Mumbai) arrives.  Connect him with Bush’s Chief of Staff, sit with the two of them for a while before going upstairs together.

1900 – Arrive at G. W. Bush’s suite.  My original plan is to hang out in the hallway while the boss-man goes in to have his chat.  This plan goes out the window as I am ushered inside.  Sit down in on a couch in front of a coffee table that is literally covered with fruits, chocolates, flowers, etc – all seemingly provided by the hotel, and all untouched.  GWB originally assumes I am the CG’s wife (whoa!) and is quickly disabused of that notion.  He really doesn’t have much (read: anything) to say when he asks where I’m from and I say “Seattle.”  Has plenty to say when the CG says Oklahoma is his home.  All in all, the chat goes well – it turns out Bush is pretty personable in person (no great revelation here), and no political-type subjects are discussed.

1930 – CG wants to get a photo with Bush, as do a few other consulate staff who were instrumental in organizing the visit.  Bush comes out of the suite on his way to the evening event, stops for these few photos in the hallway.  Again, he’s pretty personable and asks the staff their names.  Again, my plan is to hang out by the elevator waiting for the CG to have his photo done.  Again, this plan goes out the window when Bush looks straight at me and beckons me over – so there’s a photo out there somewhere.

1945 – My role with the Bush visit is pretty much finished, so I see the CG off into his vehicle to go back home, touch base with my security-type colleagues and Bush’s staff people, make sure everybody knows the arrangements for the crack-of-dawn departure the next morning, and leave.

2010 – Arrive at the consulate-owned apartment building after my most quintessentially South-Bombay-rich-snob-esque taxi ride yet (Taj Mahal Hotel to Altamont Road).  My husband meets me with a plate of pizza (homemade by a friend/colleague) because I’m now starving again.

2030 – Join the consulate Halloween party after going downstairs to a friend’s apartment and changing into my cobbled-together costume.  Several hours of partying ensue.

0130 – Help to usher out the last few Halloween party guests.  Spend some serious time bringing glasses, bottles, cups, etc back from outside to the bar area.

0230 – My husband and I lock up the bar, go back downstairs and try to keep quiet in our friend’s living room while changing out of our costumes, then catch a cab back home.

0315 – Upon arriving home, realize I’m hungry again.  Again with the spoon and the meaty tomato sauce.  Yum.

0325 – Collapse into bed.

It was a rather extraordinary day, and I’m glad it’s finished.  The visit has been occupying a lot of my time over the past couple weeks, and my husband was in charge of setting up and running the Halloween party (which, incidentally, had a guest list of about 600 people – thank goodness not all of them actually came!) which had him pretty stressed as well.  Today, I’m trying to do as little as possible.  Aahhh, Sundays.


  1. Chantel Sloan said,

    That is so funny! I loved reading about your encounter with GW and that he beconed you over for a picture . . . too funny! What did you dress up as this year? I can’t wait to hear where the bidding leads you next . . . I love keeping up with all of your adventures! 🙂

  2. juliloquy said,

    So, just another day at the office, eh? Quite different from my everyday these days. Loved reading about it.

    • Well, not quite “just another day.” This kind of stuff is pretty rare (both the ex-prez and the party). My “everyday” types of days are far, far more boring, and have about 4 stages (wake up, work, home, bed).

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