Top stops for Passport DC’s Around the World Embassy Tour

Wish you were in Fiji right now? So do we. And while it's no substitute for real travel, you can get a fix of international culture during the month-long series of embassy tours, street parties and food and drink tastings that is Passport DC.


The Bolivian Embassy during the Around the World Embassy Tour 2013. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC/Jason Morenz )

First up: Saturday's Around the World Embassy Tour, when 52 non-European embassies -- from the League of Arab States to Zambia — will welcome visitors. (For fans of Europe, the Shortcut to Europe Open House is May 10.) Some logistics: Most embassies are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; actual passports are not required, though many embassies require photo ID; and shuttle buses will be available for travel between embassies. Visit here for a shuttle map and list of participating venues.

New to Passport DC? Don't be daunted by the choices and the inevitable long lines to get into some of the embassies. We got a sneak peek into what each embassy has planned for visitors and identified some that you should make time for.

Bolivia
3014 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
The embassy of this landlocked South American country will have music, dance, food and, because Bolivia is a big producer of fair-trade cocoa, chocolate tastings. How can you miss out on free chocolate?

Dominican Republic
1715 22nd St. NW.
The Dominican Republic is somewhere we daydream about during winter (or really, any season). If you're feeling beachy, the island nation's embassy will have rum tastings, food and traditional folk dancing.

Ethiopia
3506 International Dr. NW.
Food and coffee lovers will want to stop at this African nation's embassy, where you can take part in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony (considered a mark of friendship and hospitality in the country). There also will be food, music and cultural exhibitions.

Pakistan
3517 International Ct. NW.
Expect dancing, sales of henna and traditional jewelry, and presentations about the Southeast Asian country's history and its role in the origins of Buddhism.

Thailand
1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Thailand's embassy has quite a lot to offer: Food (pad thai anyone?), traditional and classic dance and jazz, Thai massages, a muay Thai (kickboxing) demonstration, soap carving and more.

What to expect at some of the newcomers :
If you're a Passport DC veteran, there are seven newcomers: the League of Arab States, which represents more than 20 nations, Congo, Fiji, Gabon, Kenya, Philippines and Uganda. Here's what some of them have planned.

Congo
1726 M St. NW.
The African nation will host folk-tale presentations for children, an exhibition of paintings and sculptures, a gospel singer and a language class.

Fiji
The Embassy Row Hotel at 2015 Massachusetts Ave.
Win two tickets to Fiji while touring the nation's embassy.

Gabon
2034 20th St. NW.
The West African nation will have dances, art, traditional music and batik (a traditional cloth) displays.

Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
Try suckling pig and watch a fashion show with traditional outfits or demonstrations of martial arts and wood-carving.

Margaret Ely is a producer and reporter for Local Living and Weekend. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.
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