So I’m back to the morning NJ-NYC commute – waking up at ungodly hours, rushing out the door, applying make-up in the car, stumbling off the train half-awake. The smell of pastries, piss and sweat wake me up as I exit Penn Station. Ahh, brings back memories.
There’s a new addition to my morning routine, though. About a dozen obscenely cheerful, painfully beautiful women in bright colored bikinis and heels greet me every morning offering free bananas. WTF?! Trust me, I could not make this up even if I tried. Curiosity finally gets to me so I take a banana today. I am told they can help me get a bikini body. This must be some sort of nightmare. Allah, you have a cruel sense of humor.
The Ambassador wants to go for coffee soon after I get in. Not one to say no to free food, I oblige. We walk down to Au Bon Pain. Klutz that I am I spill my coffee.
“Nadia, you’re not supposed to say thank you. You’re Pakistani; don’t you know that in Pakistan the men do everything,” the Ambassador says, after I muster an embarrassed thank you as he cleans up the coffee I just spilled on the table.
I nearly drop my coffee again. What… why was I not notified of this? Where are these chivalrous Paki men? Evidently I’ve been hanging out with the wrong generation.
Chivalry is indeed, alive and well at the UN. Doors are opened for you. Meals and drinks are paid for you. Every man smiles at you. I think this may have something to do with the high ratio of old full-bellied men working with young supple-bodied women – just a theory. Even the Saudi interns are dressed in skirt-suits that would make Monica Lewinsky blush. I guess the application of the Saudi burqa law is relative to your geographic proximity to Mecca. The Desis, ironically enough, keep it conservative – the Pakistani women seem to have a strict shalwar kameez and chappal dress code, while the Indian women prefer their saris.
In the Security Council Chambers it’s easy to spot the US Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, he is loud and overly cheerful. While all the others hunch over and (pretend to) study the Darfur documents in front of them, he leans back and stares directly at the speaker, a little smirk showing up on his face every now and then. Oh, the joy of representing a superpower.
The guy to my left isn’t even paying attention, he’s chatting away on AIM. Tsk. Tsk. Reminds me, I need to start bringing my macbook.
Proving that it is a small world after all, I run into a friend of a friend. He doesn’t remember my name, but remembers my Element. It’s OK I tell him, it was about 1am and he was a little inebriated when we met. He is working with the Pakistani mission. We agree to meet for coffee after 40th Anniversary of Palestinian Occupation session. Israel’s seat is conspicuously empty. The nation statements start to get repetitive. I turn to eavesdropping to keep myself from falling asleep. The bubbly redhead next to me is also a Nadia. She is Turkish and planning her wedding.
It turns out the dude at the Paki mission also has an Element. He confirms that the Pakistani women have an unwritten rule to wear only shalwar kameez. It is expected of them.
The cafe is full of smoke. My throat is killing me. This may have something to do with that fact that the UN is probably the only place left in NYC for smokers to smoke indoors.
I’m exhausted. I walk back to Penn instead of taking the subway, saves me a little spending money, it’s a beautiful day and, well, if I’m to get that bikini body I have a lot of catching up to do.
*A friend sent me this link… and I have to say it perfectly sums up my thoughts on the UN and diplomacy right now, lol: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end.php