We received a message. We were summoned to breakfast by the ambassador of, shall we say, a friendly but sensitive nation. The summons set my temporary employers atwitter. What was this about? Had we transgressed? Who was going to escort us, for clearly an escort was necessary? Oh, the questions, the decisions!!
Saturday morning at 8 we drove up to the gates of the diplomatic residence. The gates rolled back, The Ambassador flung the door open to greet us, ushered us through empty – and I mean bare, devoid of all furniture, furnishings – reception rooms to a simply laid dining table. We sat. Maids appeared. Freshly squeezed orange juice was poured, bowls of papaya slices, rings of banana, mango were proffered in turn. Maids hovered silently. Plates cleared. Toasted rolls were presented, followed by freshly brewed coffee. And for an hour The Ambassador talked. Informatively, about aspects of their work relevant to ours. No diplomatic incident loomed.
A little after 9 The Ambassador rose, escorted us back through the lifeless reception rooms. He jumped into his four wheel drive, with bodyguard, and was driven off in a flurry of gravel. We followed, more sedately. And the maids were left in possession of the ambassadorial residence. An abandoned set awaiting the players in the next one-scene drama.