Gathering on the open-air stage with a cross breeze that could cut through any gauzy frock, the crowd of DMV glitterati pretended not to notice as they schmoozed about the space most recently occupied by Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr.
Virginia VIPs, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, wife Dorothy, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) were in attendance, as was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose name drew more than a few not-so-hushed “Really?” reactions when it was called during the shout-out portion of the evening.
But the biggest star of the night wasn’t from Virginia at all. Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United States and the ball’s honorary host, was more than just a name on the program.
Cultural touches from the Middle East were everywhere. Guests entering the makeshift ballroom were first serenaded by a musician playing an oud, an Arabic string instrument similar to a European lute. Henna artists were on hand to draw complex designs on excited patrons (“I can’t wait to show my 10-year-old daughter!”). Arabic coffee was served along with the cocktails.
“He got a better reception than the governor,” whispered one guest after the ambassador left the stage, extolling values that Americans and Emiratis share. The rest of the table nodded in agreement before heading to the hookah.
Read more Reliable Source: