In Washington DC, I was a diplomat for a day. I drove down wide boulevards where Secret Service agents paced in cargo pants and tactical vests. The Washington Monument on my right, the White House on my left, our black convoy cars eased through rush hour with a police escort and all the trimmings.

It's nice not waiting for the traffic lights but the sirens get on your nerves.

I made small talk with a man from a Swiss delegation who dreams of seeing the All Blacks. An Indian diplomat in a shimmering sari offered me rich masala chai. I took morning tea in the kind of hotel room you don't see on

In Washington DC, I was President for the day. We drove in convoy with the Secret Service to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


Normally, foreigners aren't even allowed inside the grounds. I needed three types of accreditation just to get through the gate. Up the driveway, past the fountain, I quickly snap-chatted my friends. "You realise," my buddy replied, "at this exact moment, a sniper is trained on your head."

I don't want to be rude but honestly, the White House could do with a wash. The lawn? Sheesh. Get my granddad on to that thing. And is there anywhere to park the car?

There are still several niceties at the Obamas that I haven't yet installed at mine: soldiers from every arm of the military formed a guard of honour to the White House entrance.

Inside, a magnificent bust of Abraham Lincoln's head, photos of Jackie Kennedy and the Clintons. Waiters and servants hurried quick and clean in dinner coats and bow ties.

I walked past a string quartet, up a momentous marble staircase, to the White House dining room, glistening and gold.

David Cameron left. Justin Trudeau right. Barack Obama sat in the middle. And just as I paused to breathe it all in, a man with a suit and an earpiece grabbed me by the arm.

"Get. Out. Now."