In Washington, DC, a task as seemingly mundane as walking to Subway to get a 6" veggie sub can easily be turned into a reality check on the importance of this location in the world. Within a 5 block circular radius of my office are the major centers of foreign policy: the US State Department, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States. In addition, the George Washington School of International Policy is located across the street. The fact that I work in the center of this international policy hub is usually not even noticeable, but today I was given my first reality check.
Walking out of my building and towards the Subway, 1.5 blocks away, I noticed the presence of large black SUV's, a few police cars, and a small band of protesters across from my destination. I thought it was a weird spot to protest something, since we are pretty far off the tourist path and not close enough to the white house to draw any of that press. When I got close enough to see the signs (as in standing in the middle of the protesters) I could see that they were directed at President Zelaya of Honduras, who was ousted in a coup this summer. They were not friendly towards him, equating him to Chavez and other very left leaning Latin American government leaders. Interesting, I thought, maybe one of the Ambassadors is speaking at the George Washington campus. I moved on to more important things, lunch, but when I got back to the office, I looked up the events at the GW International School to see what was really going on.
Turns out, President (or former depending on your opinion) Zaleya was speaking there and was due to be leaving just as I was walking to Subway. I guess I hadn't thought that running into an ousted Central American President was possible today, but here in DC it is all about perspective. Most people I know wouldn't be impressed by my mid-day encounter, but I thought it was pretty cool.