Thursday, July 28, 2011

Juju juices, Syrian food and a girls' night in

Good morning from the studio of the radio station of 94.7 FM, on a really early morning after a very late night. Yesterday was a completely busy day that began with a morning meeting with the Cambodian Ambassador, followed by a very important board meeting, and the two cocktail parties and a really fun dinner.

One of the last cocktail parties was the 25th Anniversary Party of the Philippine Star at the ballroom of the Makati Shangri-la. This was a really well-attended event star-studded with VIPs, including so many friends and partners of Travelife Magazine. Congratulations to our wonderful friends at the Philippine Star.


Then it was so quickly 9 PM and I headed off to join a group of very well-placed, well-traveled and incredibly private ladies for a belated birthday dinner at a friend's house nearby. I'd intended to just stop by for a coffee and a quick catch-up with everyone as it had been a really a long day, but it was so fun that I ended up staying till way past midnight laughing and chatting on her terrace. I don't have too much time for an evening of girls' talk these days; and if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I hang out more with guys than with girls. But that's mainly because I do business with more men than women.

This group of girls are probably among the most well-traveled ladies on the planet. You name it, they've been to it. And they're very fun. I traveled with some of them to India last year and it was an incredible 12 days or so of good food and endless shopping.

Anyway, my friend has a most beautiful house, reflective of the many exotic places she's visited and the cultures she's encountered. Her walls are a perfect shade of red, accented by tasteful art and comfortable and graceful furniture. What I like best are her unusual lamps, located all over her home, giving off a truly wonderful effect.

She had the most amazing lamps on her dining table and on the terrace and in the living room. Her dining room lamps were particularly beautiful and they really added glamour to her dining experience. "Where did you get those lamps?" I whispered to her almost as soon as I sat down, and she replied: "Bangkok." Her other lamps included a handmade lamp for candles by a famous local pottery artist, and a couple of Arabic lamps handcarried from her many trips to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.


When I walked in, they'd almost finished dinner, which was an authentic Syrian feast of mezze and hot meals, and a scrumptious dessert. The table was set in a truly lovely way and they'd saved a place for me at the end; I've been on the Juju juice detox the whole week -- and I feel amazing as a result -- and I'd already had a few plates of foie gras and other dangerous things to eat at the Philippine Star party, so I was really determined to end my evening here with a cup of tea.

But when I saw the dinner laid out so beautifully, all my defenses crumbled and I succumbed to a whole plate of Arabic spreads and salads, followed by another plate of rice dishes with lamb and chicken. Yes, I'm on the Juju detox and I basically had two dinners last night. I also had a big merienda at my board meeting yesterday afternoon, as the board of directors I met up with love to eat; and their boardroom sideboard was groaning with arroz caldo, chocolate sapin-sapin, pansit which I ate with really spicy chorizo and puto, all courtesy of the X/O46 restaurant nearby.


The conversation last night was also very stimulating -- and this was what prompted me to stay way past my usual bedtime. We'd talked about the joys of dancing the tango in Argentina -- one of the ladies had just done this, and she did the rounds of all the tango venues in Buenos Aires -- and about life in London. Three of the ladies had been to boarding school in the UK as kids, so there were a lot of authorities in the room. We also talked about Turkey, which we all loved hands down, and discussed our upcoming trips to Italy. Two of us were headed for Italy in a few weeks, although I have trips to Malaysia and other countries coming up before that. It was an evening of talking all about a Travelife.

And I began writing this in the studio at 94.7 FM and I'm ending this in the studio of 99.5 RT. Yes, I've been typing this while talking on radio. Talk about multi-tasking. And I'm guesting on 99.5RT DJ Neil Pagulayan's show from now, and keeping him company on the air this morning since his partner's away today. Just another day in our never-ending and never-endingly eventful Travelife. Have a wonderful Friday wherever in the world you are.


with Margarita Fores
and the Embassy of Italy & Bacchus Epicerie
September 8 at Whitespace

TRAVELIFE Gastronomic Tour of Italy
September 17-25

For reservations and information, please contact:
Bernice or Rachel at TRAVELIFE
813-8400/ 892-2620


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