With the Americas meeting finally winding up at midday, I bunked off with Julian Baker, Director Caribbean, for lunch and then… decided to take the rest of the afternoon off.
Julian - or Bats as he is better known - is one of my oldest British Council friends. We go back 25 years to when we started playing football for BCFC in the mirthfully named Human League. Over a mango & chicken sandwich, we thought long and hard about when we last saw each other and it turns out it was a shocking eight years ago.
Bats started his overseas postings in 1998 and has lived in Venezuela, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda (briefly) and now Cuba. Being Director Caribbean prompts cliched images of an old-style Representative sipping cocktails on a verandah with string quartet and tropical sunset. It does sound glamorous - but is far from it. Bats runs a whole series of English, education, development and cultural projects in quite tough countries. Cuba (where he and his family are based) is safe but basic and hard to get things done, while Jamaica and Trinidad are quite dangerous. He has a handful of staff and a tiny budget.
So we walked and caught up, missing about what's next for each of us, through Polanco and Chapaltepec Park and up to the Castillo. Great to catch up.