Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reunited (with the Bank cafeteria) and it feels so good!

Today Zara invited me to lunch at the Bank. What joy! It's been too too long. As I approached the visitor entrance on 18th Street, I was filled with excitement, anticipation, nerves...and hunger!

Zara looked stunning, as usual. And she was very actively engaged in helping me get good shots for the blog.

We reveled in the Bank's glorious art collection as we entered the building.

I liked both of these pieces quite a bit, actually. This one with fish sticking out of the wall was supercute. And the one below reminded me of a vulva & spear piece we have on view at NMWA right now, except this one is more focused on the spear aspect.

Finally we went downstairs to the tray station. I didn't realize, till that moment, just how much I had missed those purple, lime and fuchsia trays. But they replaced the displays of daily offerings with monitors exhibiting the dishes, an "improvement" I hope they'll reconsider. Hovering around digital images of the delights du jour is just not the same as jutting into the hordes of Bankers vying to make these difficult decisions all at once, carefully studying the sample dishes laid out to make our mouths water...

Entering into the cafeteria, finally, after all this time...it was like coming home.

Needless to say, I was the first one through the line.

It was a special occasion for a mysterious IMF friend. He would not let me publish any pictures of him on this blog, because he is a secretive politico, one of those Washington types who makes it difficult to understand what he really does. But I'll tell you he's a European economist and we'll call him "Mr. Big" (this pseudonym is not of my choosing...). This is the back of his head.

Mr.Big actually got really into posing and he became a model...model, making expressive faces exhibiting a range of emotions. But he made me promise to label each of the photos of his face with "DO NOT PUBLISH," and I am a woman of my word. Mr. Big was also quite willing to take pictures of us, and I thought this backdrop was just fantastic, Bankers enjoy SUCH plush and aesthetically pleasing seating.

I appreciated Mr. Big's enthusiasm, especially considering his initial resistance to cooperation. I think at first he thought I was out to ruin his career or something, and you can't be too careful in Economics. He did allow me to photograph his meal.

And after he warmed up a bit, Mr. Big told me about IMF bylaws and things that were mysterious and exciting, explaining Bank/IMF governmental structure for me, illuminating me with tales of complicated statutes and tricks of the trade. We talked about video editing and summer music festivals.

I had a delicious curry and tomato rice dish- I especially like the African & South Asian station, and I made a bee-line for it. And I just love their raspberry iced tea. It's so exotic.

Svelte Zara had a rainbow roll. I know it might look like a normal rainbow roll, but Zara assured me that the rainbow rolls from the Bank are even more mouth-watering and flavorful than any other rainbow rolls anywhere, and I sure do believe her.

When we left the cafeteria, we walked across the street to the Ethiopian/Italian bookstore coffeeshop for the requisite post-Bank Lunch espresso. Mr. Big was getting birthday greetings left and right, and I enjoyed meeting more Bankers and IMF folk. For me, of course, it was overwhelming and wonderful, much like being at the red carpet on Oscar night. But they were so humble and modest, those Bankers, as though they didn't even realize their privilege and magnetism. We ran into Johannes on the street, and he expressed dismay that I was cheating on him. But I think deep down he understands the fundamental freelove that is the World Bank Lunch. Goodness knows, we evoked the name of our beloved Gerold repeatedly during this lunch...

Slowly, I had to prepare to head back to NMWA. It was hard to leave, of course, another emotional rollercoaster. But I made sure to flick off the "President's" residence on my way back to work.

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