Friday, December 3, 2010

Bahrain Dec 3

Ok so YES we did have lunch at the palace of the King of Bahrain today. It was something...all the marble, gowned sheikhs and colossal chandeliers you could hope for. The food was also fantastic, which was a bonus.

We weren't eating with the king, mind you. Clinton came to pay her respects and have lunch, and (as I guess is the practice at any royal palace) we in the retinue were shown to a separate room where they laid on the feast. Lots of lamb, chicken tikka, rice, stuffed grape leaves...the whole kebab. I didn't really get to snooop around the palace (see entrance above) but did pay a visit to the bathroom and was gratified to discover what at least looked like gold-plated fixtures.

Otherwise it's been a pretty exhausting day. We followed Clinton to a meeting with the Bahrain foreign minister in the morning which was followed by a press conference. She said a few things about Iran and about the Middle East peace process, so that was two stories going right there.

Then the palace, then on to the U.S. Embassy for the traditional meet-and-greet, then to the Bahrain museum for another one of her "townterviews". We were all dragging at this point and maybe she was too because she said, in response to a question, that being secretary of state would be her last public job.

We're now at the Ritz, waiting for the "Manama Dialogue" -- a security conference. Everyone is expecting her to say something more about Iran, but with the Geneva talks looming next week she may not want to go too far. We'll see..she could surprise us yet.

After that, 17 hours back to Andrews AFB. But at least I had lunch at a king's.