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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sitting on an old man's lap

I stared down at a mountain of ground, raw beef. It was the size of the great pyramid of Cheops, the colour of Petra. Shaven-headed priests sauntered in between colonnades of flesh, and Ron was expecting me to eat it. We were in an Ethiopian restaurant somewhere in Georgetown. A change from fried chicken at least.

The day had begun with a huge breakfast, followed by an exhaustive tour of Washington. At Arlington I was impressed by soldiers with ruthless haircuts, snapping to attention like razor-sharp robots, and at Arlington I saw a man cry over the grave of Bobby Kennedy. This was the sixteenth of August.

On the Seventeenth, the day was devoted to long and serious meetings, so serious I couldn’t remember a thing the following day. Washington, however, its white, austere buildings, sweeping green lawns, and bold blue sky, I remember very well, along with its intense and sticky heat. But in terms of statuary, one above all beats everything else. Jefferson and Lincoln looked cold and dead: Einstein on the other hand looked warm and alive. I loved the chocolate flake and ooze effect, the way his face changed from different angles, and how children sat on him and appeared at home as though on their granddad’s lap.

No time to wonder. Tomorrow New York.

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