By K. Quincy Parker / Press/Cultural Attaché Embassy of The Bahamas
More than three thousand people got a taste of The Bahamas this past weekend, when The Embassy of The Bahamas to the United States participated in two events that raised the Embassy’s profile in Washington, DC, exposing the metropolitan DC community to Bahamian culture and furthering cultural relations between the neighbours.
On May 2, The Bahamas Embassy hosted a special breakfast for two groups of tour operators as part of Cultural Tourism DC’s second annual “Passport DC.” At the breakfast, Bahamas Ambassador to the US His Excellency CA Smith touted The Bahamas as a glittering jewel in the Atlantic Ocean, and an ideal climate for investment in both tourism and financial services.
The guests at the breakfast, affiliated with Mid-Atlantic Tour Receptors, questioned the Ambassador on many points, suggesting that The Bahamas remains an area of prime interest for these entrepreneurs, who were looking for group travel experiences to sell their clients.
After the breakfast, The Bahamas Embassy threw open its doors and thousands of people poured in, seeking a little of “The Bahamian Experience” in Washington, DC. Before too long, the line to get into The Bahamas Embassy stretched down Massachusetts Avenue –in that section known as Embassy Row – and bent around the corner onto 22nd Street.
As the guests entered, they sampled conch fritters and – to the great delight of the adults – ‘Sky Juice,’ the colloquial nom-de-guerre for gin, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut water. In addition to the popularity of the fritters and the drinks, DC residents and visitors also got to participate in a small but enthusiastic Junkanoo rush-out, and hear the Calypso crooning of Ray Smith. They learned to ‘play’ the saw, beat the goatskin drum and ‘knock the conch style.’
At the end of the day, just under 3,000 people had crammed themselves into The Bahamas Embassy, where they mingled with the embassy personnel and other Bahamians who had come to represent their country.
In the aftermath, Ambassador Smith – who was present and glad-handing the line of waiting participants for much of the day – said, “this was a most successful day, a chance for us to let The Bahamas shine.”
The following day, May 3, The Bahamas had a booth at the Organization of Women of the Americas (OWA) annual Food Festival of The Americas. The Bahamas booth offered hundreds who braved the steady rain that soaked the grounds of the Organization of American States (OAS) the chance to sample the peas and rice, macaroni, chicken, fish, conch fritters, rum punch and, of course, the ubiquitous ‘Sky Juice.’
A smiling Ambassador Smith, who was present in a straw hat and bright yellow rain slicker, said, “This is wonderful.”
Toward the end of the day, the DJ was handed a recording of Junkanoo music, and once the sounds of the drums, bells and horns lit up the square, it was as if the Boxing Day or New Years Day parade had overtaken that little patch of Washington, DC.
K. Quincy Parker is a Press/Cultural Attaché Embassy of The Bahamas.
Ambassador Speaks – Bahamas Ambassador to the US His Excellency CA Smith engages tour company owners on the various attractions available in The Bahamas, and answers their questions about things like Destination Weddings. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]
Dornell @ Breakfast – Tourism Officer Dornell Watson highlights the aspects of The Bahamas’ tourism infrastructure that would be particularly attractive to group travel planners. She was addressing a special breakfast for travel company owners hosted by The Bahamas at the Bahamas Embassy in Washington, DC. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]
Question & Answer – Bahamian Wanda McPhee answers questions about The Bahamas from guests who swarmed The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, DC, over the weekend. It was part of an event called Passport DC. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]
Waiting In Line – This young lady was one of thousands who towed lengthy lines to get into The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, DC, in order to get a taste of Bahamian culture during Passport DC. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]
The Personal Touch – After addressing the VIPs during a special breakfast, Ambassador CA Smith walked the line, talking with the DC residents and visitors who queued up in great numbers to see and taste The Bahamas during Passport DC. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]
The Artist Known As Malcolm – Artist Malcolm Jones and his sister, supporting The Bahamas at the OWA Food Festival of The Americas. [Photo by K. Quincy Parker]