Sunday, October 30, 2011

Remains of a smoked salmon

There I was this morning, having breakfast in paradise, at the luxurious Datai in Langkawi, Malaysia, when my Blackberry pinged and it was a BBM from my friend J in Manila.

“What’s wrong with 350MB files? And shouldn’t you just get yourself more capacity in your “new” Macbook Pro?” 

He wanted to know. He’d obviously read my blog entry yesterday where I’d written how I’d had to delete half of my iTunes just to be able to open his file; so I was so happy that my villa at the Datai came with two iPods fully loaded with thousands of songs. I’d also already told him this several days ago, but obviously he was reacting to the public potshot.

* * *

What I'm listening to now with the fully-loaded iPod provided by the Datai:
by Everything But The Girl
* * *
I shot back a cheery message. I’d just finished two glasses of the Datai’s specialty energy drink, which was a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, and was feeling especially perky. I texted back: “Good morning from paradise. No one sends 350MB Word files. We are talking about a simple document, after all. It’s not a video.”


J continued his usual critique of everything and anything in my life all while I was having my nasi lemak and prawn congee. He means well, I’m sure, but he has this endearing habit of always commenting on my life. 

Whether it’s my choice of Japanese restaurants, the fact that I flew to Dubai in July, why I put garlic after the onions for some dishes, and even how I once put together dinner for him without actually slaving in the kitchen for a couple of hours.

Yes, I agree that he should be grateful I even made him dinner at all, considering my jampacked schedule and the fact that this happened on one of my very few free days in Manila; but he doesn’t really see things that way. He wanted to see more effort rather than efficiency.


And this morning, there he was on my Blackberry again giving me unsolicited advice, this time about my computers. “Maybe you should just buy two Macbook Pros,” he messaged, after a couple of back and forths. 

Aha. Got him this time. I was smiling as I typed and as I pressed the key for SEND. 

I'd BBM-ed: “Actually, I have three Macbook Pros. But I only travel with one, of course.”

Finally, I had to ask him: “Are you BBM-ing me on this beautiful morning just to critique everything about me again? Because I’d rather have the monkeys for company at breakfast if that’s the case. They’re sweet and they don’t make my Mac break down with 350MB files.” I put a smiley face at the end of this.

Of course I'm just teasing him. 

He's actually kept me company in a virtual and rather surreal way on many of my trips, and helped me stave off boredom on many a car ride to the airport or a wait at some airport lounge. But he was editorializing my life this morning and it wasn’t my fault that I was in paradise and he was…well..stuck in Manila.


The Datai's breakfast area opens up into a gorgeous terrace with a pool, and there was greenery everywhere. Too beautiful for words. And this morning, there were also monkeys everywhere.

“Say hi to the monkeys then.” J said to me by way of reply.
And I just couldn’t resist it. I messaged back: “There’s actually a monkey here who reminds me of you. He keeps sticking his tongue out at me.”

For once, J agreed with me. “Those monkeys are so annoying. I know they’re all over Langkawi. Give the one who reminds you of me a banana.”


Then I replied with something I knew would make both of us laugh, because it would be so classic J: “I already did. But he made a face and pointed to the a la carte menu instead.”

Then I added: “And by the way, how nice it is to be BBM-ing you from the Datai and then also having this monkey in front of me. I almost feel like we’ve had breakfast together.”

At that point, the J monkey came over and picked up the few pieces of smoked salmon and capers that I’d left on my plate. Incredible. It could have been J. So I said to him: “PS: The monkey actually took the remains of my smoked salmon! That monkey really is you.”

A ping sounded again. “Hmmm. Remains of a smoked salmon,” he wrote. I smiled to myself as I read this. This was a reference only he and I would understand.

Before I signed off to return to my paradise, I typed out: “Sounds like a good title for a blog entry. Nice having breakfast with you.”


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