Crash-bang, take two

I boarded a State Department bus last Sunday afternoon to go for a week of counter-threat training outside of DC (affectionately known as “crash-bang”). It was a great week refreshing a lot of skills I hope I never have to use. The training was fun and effective – all very hands on and the instructors are real pros. They also have a great sense of humor which helps keep things in perspective.

The best thing about the class was meeting a lot of new folks who were my classmates. Al, who runs disaster recovery around the world for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, who’s been at virtually every natural disaster you can name. Vince who has his hand in every new embassy built overseas and also has a colorful personal history growing up in Brooklyn back in the day. Mark who works for NASA, who’ll be speaking to our astronauts on their way to the international space station later this week. We had a really good group of folks!

I got back Friday evening, in time to put my feet up and relax a bit. John made us reservations for dinner last night at the Blue Duck Tavern, and we had a delicious meal. Amazingly, John recognized our waiter Shankar, who used to wait on us ten years ago when we frequented Harry’s in Clarendon – he and his cousin Ram (both from Nepal) were two of our favorite waiters.

I also had a blast from the past this week – our shuttle driver for training used to be a shuttle driver for us at the Oakwood in Falls Church. Through him, I made contact with another shuttle driver I always had a fondness for, a guy from Ethiopia, and we had a fun chat on the phone over the weekend. The more things change…it’s fun to see familiar faces on these stints back in DC!

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