The Swedish Ambassador

It is a few days before the most important Swedish holiday, Midsommer. Or, if you prefer, one of the major drinking occasions.

The new Swedish ambassador to Germany is an economist by trade - and another one of those Alpha Women. She invited WiseMan to the party she was throwing, and he took me along for company. Nothing like standing around with a bunch of strangers waiting for the food.

The new ambassador is very charming, bubbles over with enthusiasm, enjoys a good laugh - and is quite a networking person. It was a pleasure to watch her work the crowd, dragging men in ties across the lawn to be introduced to other men in ties, or calling them to come over. She herself, replete in a summer dress and a flower in her black hair, was actually barefoot most of the evening, having discarded her shoes for dancing around the Midsommar pole.

I joined right in that, I love folk dancing like this. In Sweden this involves dancing in a circle, singing children's songs that include doing gestures like playing the violin or being a rabbit. Rabbits play an important part in many drinking songs as well.

The food was traditional: Swedish flat bread, new potatoes, sour cream and chives, smoked salmon, and four different kinds of herring. The ambassador announced that her cook - a fascinating guy in a white cook's uniform but with his wild black hair bound up in a black and white pirate's headband and wearing scruffy sneakers - had flown up to Sweden the other day to get the ingredients. And to get the snaps.

Swedes are soooo chauvinistic about their potatoes. They think that only real, Swedish, potatoes taste any good. These were great, where ever they came from! The herring was so good, I liked the mustard herring best, washed down with some Skåne Aquavit.

I met some interesting people: folks at the embassy, journalists, diverse VIPs, and the Alpha-Woman-Husband, who is a professor for literature. One of the VIPs is also an Alpha-Woman-Husband, I joked that they should round up Angela Merkel's husband (a professor in Berlin) and start their own club. Actually, I was only half joking, as they need to be defining their role. Do they fade into the woodwork, like Merkel's? He should have been in Heiligendamm, entertaining Cherie Blair and Laura Bush. Do they run around worrying about the food and the help? Do they do their own thing? They need a support group, I think!

The mosquitoes were as bad as any Swedish summer, this they could have left out of an otherwise wonderful evening.

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