Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The President came a'calling

He and the first lady and a few hundred of their closest friends and colleagues (and all their stuff) came to Kyiv Monday night for a day full of activities on Tuesday. My friend Cliff had the unenviable task of being the 'Airport officer' coordinating the dozens of flights and hundreds of people moving through.

I was the embassy site officer for a wreath-laying at the memorial to the millions who died in the Famine of 1932-33. Very contentious issue as it was basically a man-made Famine by the central Soviet authorities.

Anyway, it's in a big open square, thus security issues. Fixed through a big build-out that provided some block to line of sight from around the area.

Here are some photos from the event. During the event I was standing up top with the press. These aren't my photos, but taken from a site without citation for who took the photos, so I also can't give credit.

The two first ladies walked over from a nearby building they were at for a previous event. President Yushchenko met them there as President Bush pulled up from a meeting with the Prime Minister.

These two young women (and two unpictured guys) in traditional dress handed the memorial thingies to the Presidents and First Ladies. The traditional dress doesn't do much in terms of warmth, so they were quite cold as we put them into position about 30 minutes prior to the event. Being ever chivalrous, I gave my coat to them to share.

Standing while a bell carillon played a bit. I believe the guy behind them is President Yushchenko's interpreter. Too bad he got in the shot.

Approaching the memorial.

At this point I was just off camera to the right.

And again, I'm back by the photographers in the background.

And that was my site. Very nice. 3 days to construct the scaffolding and drape it with black and red fabric, etc.

Working with the White House advance and the Secret Service was very interesting. An amazing amount of work goes into the President's travel.

AND, in even BIGGER news, our new computer power cord arrived yesterday and was waiting for me at my desk this morning, so I'm typing this from home.

I'm off Friday for a long weekend in London. Staying with Ford and planning to eat curry day and night.


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