This is my second time on their show and between my two guestings, which was basically a matter of two months, I feel a lifetime has happened. Of course, I’d been to six countries and a couple of cities in the Philippines, plus had a near-death experience in the Tokyo earthquake in-between; and so maybe that’s why I feel I’ve lived a whole lifetime between these two guestings. It’s like I came full circle between that first time and today.
Here are some photos of DJ Vince and DJ Tracey clowning around with their favorite magazine, by the way.
Then my day was taken up with meetings, all very successful. I’m happy to say we’ve concluded some significant deals for Travelife today -- the results of meetings and and lots of hard work hatching up plans the entire week. In fact, things have been so crazily busy that yesterday, when someone’s assistant rang me seeking face-time for her boss this week, I looked at my schedule on my computer and said to her: “Thursday at 630 AM or at 11 PM, or Friday at 1045 PM.”
But none of those worked for her boss. How about Saturday? She asked. Nope, I was scheduled to attend a cooking class with a top French chef from France at 9 AM and then was completely unavailable after that. And I so didn’t want to do another 630 AM meeting on a Saturday because I've been doing this all week. That’s how busy my week has been.
The party itself was great fun, and as usual I bumped into many people I knew of all generations and professions and was able to catch up. It was a treat to catch up with so many people in one go, especially as I just have too few chances to meet up with friends in Manila. I even bumped into some people who'd joined the Travelife Turkey Tour in November, and we spent a fascinating few minutes talking about the joys of bird watching -- which is a great passion of theirs.
ONLY FOR THE BIRDS
Apparently the Philippines has 200 rare bird species, which is both unusual and amazing. "The entire Philippines can fit into one province of China, but they have only 100 rare species," one of my bird watcher friends said. I then asked: "Is the Philippines tops for rare bird species then?" I mean if we were ahead of massive China, we must be pretty near the top. Someone answered: "No, we're more in the middle, especially compared to countries like Costa Rica."
Tonight certainly was one of the most enjoyable embassy parties and I think much has to do with the fact that Ambassador Brinks is a warm and friendly ambassador who doesn't take himself so seriously. I stayed way longer than I expected to; and on the way out, Ambassador Brinks accompanied me until the door. There was one bunch of tulips from the Netherlands by the side of the door and he gave them to me on-the-spur-of-the-moment. It was the very last bouquet and I was so pleased to receive it.
MAKE MINE A HERRING
It was also at this cocktail party where I witnessed the pretty fantastic sight of formally dressed Dutch people holding up long and large pieces of herring above their heads and eating it by slowly dropping the herring into their mouths from above, inch-by-inch. I'd found a place to rest my plate and eat at the ambassador's long dining table, and somewhere down this table were a row of Dutch people sitting upright and literally pouring the herring into their mouths from above.
"You've got to try that," said Consul Tony Rufino, with whom I'd been eating with and exchanging some gossip with. "You're Travelife, after all."
It looked very unusual and in all my visits to the Netherlands, I'd never actually witnessed such a scene. But he assured me that this was indeed the proper way to have herring. I was set to try it as well, in my formal saree and all, but I they'd run out of herring by then. Apparently it was very popular.
NOSTALGIA FOR THE 80s AND 90s
The last event of the evening was a rendezvous with the Travelife staff, both present and former, at a very nice bar and lounge that we’re thinking of using for a Travelife thank you party for our advertisers. Great music was playing -- the band was actually playing songs from the late 80s and early 90s -- and finally I could relax.
Could the day have actually gone any better? No, this was one of those almost perfect days.