BANGKOK, Thailand -- U.S. Secret Service agents have knocked on the
door of a hole-in-the-wall shop run by two turbaned Sikhs to take
delivery of a special package for President Bush - five Egyptian cotton
shirts in blue and white.
Thousands of miles from Washington,
the Bushes have stitched close ties with the Bangkok tailors. Over the
years, they have turned out clothes for not only the president, but his
father and other family members.
"This time, I don't think he
will have time to have a suit made," said Victor Gulati of Rajawongse
Clothier. "Besides, we would have to remeasure him."
case, Gulati and his father, Jesse, are standing by their mobile phones
during Bush's 24-hour visit to Thailand that starts Wednesday evening.
he does order a suit they'll tell us at the last minute," Victor Gulati
said, recalling how former President George H.W. Bush gave them half an
hour's notice before coming to the shop in 2006 to order jackets for
his sons and himself.
The president's own last order of two
suits and five shirts came during his 2003 stay in Bangkok for the
annual meeting of leaders of Pacific Rim nations. The tailors had three
days for fittings then.
The place obviously has earned the seal of presidential approval.
Beef. It's what's for lunch in Seoul.
Korean President Lee Myung-bak had to be careful earlier Wednesday
about what Bush was served for lunch at the presidential mansion.
U.S. beef off the menu, and Lee would look like he was kowtowing to the
thousands of South Koreans protesting against U.S. beef imports.
American beef and it would fuel the demonstrators' belief that Lee
cares more than anything about cozying up to the Americans.
The issue was resolved by serving both.
two leaders ate Korean beef, dining on "galbi," or grilled short ribs.
And they ate U.S. tenderloin steak, known in Korean as "anshim,"
according to the president's office.
Back in April when Bush
hosted Lee at the Camp David presidential retreat, they dined together
on Texas black Angus beef tenderloin.
Just hours before that
meeting South Korea agreed to lift a ban on American beef that was
imposed after the United States' first case of mad cow disease was
discovered in late 2003. Lee's government said it would allow virtually
That triggered weeks of massive angry
protests against U.S. beef imports. The protests mostly died down after
Seoul won amendments to the beef deal to ban American meat from older
cattle and other safeguards. U.S. beef imports resumed July 29,
although many larger South Korean stores and restaurants have refused
to serve the meat due to the backlash.
Bush knows the drill: Down in front.
When Bush joined Lee for meetings at the South Korean presidential estate, photographers jockeyed for position.
a standard activity for the media scrum that follows the president
around the globe. This time, the scene went awry when a string of staff
members from the South Korean side walked in front of the
photographers, temporarily ruining the shot of the two presidents.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey," one photographer said as the diplomatic session began.
Bush laughed, then retorted: "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!"
It wasn't the only time he poked some fun at the press.
his news conference later with Lee, which took place outside in the
scorching sun, Bush clearly noted that some members of the U.S. press
corps were sweating.
"Thank you very much for your
attention," he said. "Thank you for your questions. Why don't you go
find a shade tree to stand under?