By Traci Carl, AP, March 13, 2007 04:43 PM ESTMERIDA, Mexico — Is anyone feeding the president?
At every stop on his seven-day, five-country Latin American trip, including here on Tuesday, President Bush has been fixated on food.
It began with Bush's first event in his first country, when he and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrated a new ethanol alliance. "I appreciate the fact that you're about to buy me lunch," Bush told Silva. "I'm kind of hungry. Looking forward to eating some of that good Brazilian food."
In Uruguay, at a news conference with President Tabare Vazquez, Bush said he couldn't wait to dig into some Uruguayan beef - something the tiny nation wants to sell more of to the United States. "You've told me all along how good it is, and after we answer a few questions, we're about to find out," Bush told his host, later praising the country's abundant blueberries, too.
In Colombia, part of Bush's agenda included time with locals growing crops as alternatives to the illegal coca from which cocaine is made. The vendors' stalls were filled with honey, chocolate and coffee.
Next came Guatemala, where Bush hauled some lettuce onto a truck - something he later called "one of the great experiences of my presidency." "I'm looking forward to the dinner that you're hosting for Laura and me," Bush told Guatemalan President Oscar Berger in another news conference. "I'm not going to talk too long because I might get too hungry." Later, Bush's stomach was either really growling - or it was a ruse to end the questioning. He signaled an end to the joint appearance by asking Berger what was on tap for dinner. "We have tortillas with guacamole and beans," Berger assured him.
In Mexico on Tuesday, Bush was down to business with President Felipe Calderon. Among the items on the agenda: a working lunch, scheduled for earlier in the day than locals usually dine. Bush, speaking Spanish to Mexican reporters as he started touring the Uxmal ruins, said his lunch was good. "I'm full," he declared.
So now that I discovered this charmingly human side of Bush, I asked him if he would like to go back with me to Vietnam and we'll eat our way down from Hanoi to HoChiMinh City. His answer:
Là, t'es content, KCA?