The survey of Swedish Foreign Ministry staff led to an avalanche of complaints. Foreign food was a big source of disappointment. One diplomat in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, complained that “the cheese etc is always the same and the breakfast cereals are extremely sugary.”
In Khartoum, Sudan, another diplomat complained that it was hard to get enough fruit and vegetables, as the risk of contracting a stomach upset was so high, according to the Riksdag & Departement newspaper.
Foreign habits irked other Swedish envoys. The Swedish mission in Belgrade complained that there was too much smoking when meetings were held away from the embassy. Staff at the consulate in the Russian Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad said they suffered from “permanently staying in a run-down and poky environment.”
Leisure activities in many parts of the world were not up to much. In Algeria, diplomats complained that there was only one golf course, which was in poor order and was never watered. Diplomats in Nigeria noted that “travel in this part of Africa has a very limited recreational value.”
If the survey makes the combined ranks of the Swedish diplomatic service seem a bit whiny, the purpose of the survey might provide an explanation – it is being used to decide how much diplomats are entitled to in hardship payments while on postings abroad.