Saturday, April 21, 2007

Day One: I thought you wanted a bagel!

Today is the day I have been working towards since I started here at GAA. Today is the official arrival of our speaker from the Treatment Access Campaign, Monalisa Ngqisha. She arrived safe and sound at Dulles this morning at 6am. So needless today this morning was a very early one!

Once I got to the airport I waited eagerly outside of customs to greet Monalisa. After living and breathing this tour through all the travel details and event arrangement for the last several months I feel like I know her already.

Once she got through customs (nearly three hours after landing!) and we got preliminarily acquainted as we moved our way towards my car I asked Monalisa if she wanted any breakfast. I distinctly heard her say she wanted a bagel. I mean at 9 am if you ask for something that begins with a b and has a g in the middle and is 2 syllables -- it must be a bagel right?

As I got Monalisa settled at the hotel I remembered the aforementioned bagel and I dashed down to a little stand to grab one for her. I went back upstairs all pleased with myself that things were going so smoothly. As I handed her the bagel and fruit I purchased she looked at me like I was off my rocker.

"What is this?" Monalisa asked with a beautifully lilting South African accent clearly having no idea what this round bread-y object with a hole in it is.
"It's a bagel." I replied clearly confused and crestfallen over my apparent mistake.
"Is it sweet?"
"'s a's like a breakfast bread."

By this time I was mortified. I had no idea what she was asking for and she was exhausted. So she tried the bagel seemed satisfied and I told her where the hotel restaurant was so she could track down this elusive B food.

When I got back to the office, I asked around. No one seemed to know what the food could have been. So David decided to take matters into his own hands and ask Monalisa himself.

Turns out she wanted a burger.

And yes telling this story still makes my face turn red in embarrassment.

Luckily our tour briefing went well this afternoon and all of our travel details are secured. Look out Rock Hill, SC. Here we come!


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