Consular Corps Inaugural Ball
Over the weekend, about 355 diplomats, politicians, executives, and community leaders gathered to honor the installation of new officers for the Consular Corps of Hawaii. The Corps was started in 1824 by the British government's appointment of Richard Charlton, Consul for the Sandwich Islands. Today, the Consular Corps consists of six career Consulates General and 32 Honorary Consuls representing all continents, including Oceania. My husband is one of them - Honorary Consul of Denmark - which is why we attended.
This year, the Honorable Mark. Recktenwald, Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, installed the following officers:
Incoming Dean Leoncio R. Cardenas, Consul General of the Philippines
Vice-Dean Kusuma Cooray, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka
Secretary Nina Fasi, Honorary Consul of Norway
Treasurer Annie Kaneshiro, Honorary Consular Agent of Tonga
Auditor M. Jan Rumi, Honorary Consul of Morocco
Historial Niklaus R. Schweizer, PhD, Consul Emeritus
Us + Cindy
It was a gala event at the Royal Hawaiian, with the evening marked by a traditional grand entrance through a gauntlet of military swords. The evening began on the lawn with butler-passed Piper-Sonoma Blanc de Blancs, a 100% Chardonnay from Piper Heidsieck in Champagne, and pupus of vegetable lumpia and shrimp fritters. I was too busy joking with singer Jimmy Borges and his wife Vicki, or trying to keep my stiletto heels from aerating the lawn. I missed the appetizers, but that's OK.
We migrated inside the Monarch Ballroom for dinner, which was a Traditional Seafood Sabao with Shrimp Scallops (very spicy), Duck Leg Confit on White Beans and Kunia Vegetables, Roasted Chateaubriand with Morel and Cognac Sauce, Macaire Potatoes, and assorted Fresh Vegetables, followed by a fabulous taste of the Philippines dessert buffet. The line formed quickly to sample the Palitaw (a favorite), Leche Flan, Ube Ice Cream (another of my favorites), Mini Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, and Banana Flambe with Dulce de Leche.
Mayor Peter Carlisle gave a speech honoring the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii's Jessica Rich, and shortly thereafter turned the floor back to singer Cathy Foy, whose amazing versatility extends from doing show tunes and Hawaiian classics at the start of dinner, to Earth Wind & Fire and ABBA disco hits, as the crowd was encouraged to dance and enjoy the rest of the evening.
If I didn't have a child to tend to, I would definitely consider renting a hotel room in Waikiki and making a weekend of it. If you're going next year, my practical advice is: Add about 30 minutes to your commute to sit in a bottleneck for the last 3 blocks, including the line to valet the car. If you leave directly after the emcee signs off, you'll wait 30 minutes for your car, too. The traffic is horrible getting in and out of the hotel. It's the sheer volume of guests that created a slowdown, but it must be said that the valet staff are hard-working and courteous. This is said not to dampen the experience, but to hopefully enhance it for future attendees.
Other than that, it's a wonderful, interesting, fun experience that we enjoy because we get to taste fine food, listen to great live entertainment, get to know Claus' consular community better, and meeting the most fascinating individuals. Till next year!
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