Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Journal Interlude from November 12, 1999

Back in Brasilia [after leave at home]. Had quite a homecoming. Got back to not only an overflowing desk but also a slightly fraying, yet still impending cabinet visit. Arrived Wednesday in time for a somewhat frantic tussle with State Department lawyers over the wording of an agreement for signature during Secretary Cohen’s visit. Lost the tussle but learned an important lesson and some useful info for the future. (We will eventually do the agreement anyway.) On Thursday, I used the holiday to catch up on work and -- after watching two episodes of the final five of my favorite Brazilian telenovela taped for me while I was gone -- went off to meet the Secretary at 12 midnight.

On Friday, still not caught up on my trip induced sleep shortage, went into the office early to do some work and then to the hotel for a 9:45 briefing. Spent the rest of the day with the Secretary: meetings with the Senate President, the President, the new Defense Minister, lunch with the Defense Minister and the senior military commanders, a photo event at the Embassy, a press conference and a late afternoon meeting with the Foreign Minister. In between, rode with the Secretary. Had a chance to chat with him (and in between events, with his attractive wife). A decent man and a Republican. We talked about business but also ourselves. I told him about A... attending St. Albans. He told me he is leaving politics after the Administration leaves office. He later told the Embassy staff that he appreciated the sacrifices we folks abroad make in the public service, like the Charge living without his family.

This weekend is another three-day one thanks to another Brazilian holiday. (I like getting two sets of holidays.) I will be guest of honor at the Marine Ball tomorrow and have my rented tux hanging in the closet. I also hope to sleep.