Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Latvian Wisdom

The Ball was indeed a wonderful time, nothing like the feeling of wearing your "own" tux. In actuality a rather tame event, though you have to marvel that however prestigious the school, you can count on seeing the same intelligent, good looking students dancing around stupidly and drinking cheap vodka. Looking forward to Tom Wolfe's deconstruction of it all in his new book (once it hits softcover, of course). I don't think anyone will be complaining, least of all any Turks: the food was fine (though isn't everything after copious champagne and stella?), a full 15 person choir lit up the stage for the opening hour, backgammon boards on the dinner tables, and we witnessed some pretty impressive belly dancing. It was rather dark so sadly many of the pictures just could not capture the moment - though I will forward to Tim what I have. If only the one of me surrounded by the harem of belly dancers turned out... I did have a hilarious moment in climbing onto a chair to get a better vantage point on the dancing, off on the side wall where an elder group of guests were sitting. Why are these guys so old, I wondered at the time. Only later did the line from Oxblog sink in: "The official host of the OUEAS Ball is the Turkish Ambassador to the United Kingdom." So Tim, note in the belly dancing picture, the guys head in the foreground is likely an esteemed guest of His Excellency Akin Alptuna. As was the guy (not pictured) who swore loudly when he attempted to sit back down and noticed I was standing on his chair. And so the encounters with history continue. The quote of the ball? Made quite early on by a Latvian friend in the BCL/Mjur program. After a psuedo-intellectual discussion on the Ukrainian elections and the consequences for Eastern Europe as a whole, I start chiding him for not showing up with any ladies. We have a saying in Latvia, he rebuts. "Why bring wood to a forest? And so why bring women to a Ball?" Point taken, my friend. And let such moments of laughter continue.

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