From the first, it was apparent that the evening was going to echo the Marx brothers. Perhaps it wouldn’t have if I had made a more auspicious choice of taxi-drivers; one has growing cause to lament the habit some embassies have of passing out taxi permits to their nationals the minute they arrive from the steppes.
My driver was an Afghan, probably one of the few taxi-drivers in Washington who had never heard of the White House. However, once informed of the seriousness of the occasion–a state dinner for the Prince and Princess of Wales–he raced down Pennsylvania Avenue with a will, exhibiting a good deal of impatience when the mounted police, Princess-watchers, and protestors forced him to slow down.
My invitation asked me to present myself at the East Gate. In the process of making the White House terrorist proof, the East Gate has also been made taxi-proof, and…
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