Friday, January 20, 2012

A Salon de Ning Night

Everyone needs at least one really fun Salon de Ning night once in a while. And mine was so long overdue. Finally it happened tonight.

The beautifully-printed invitation for Salon de Ning’s anniversary party with a Bollywood theme came sometime back and of course I’d made up my mind to go from the very start. The Peninsula throws great parties and I like everyone at the hotel, and most especially Pen GM Sonja Vodusek; so I definitely try to attend every Pen event as long as I'm in town.


But if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I've also been trying to live a quieter life compared to last year, paring down the socials to allow me to focus more on the really important work at hand. Last year was just crazy in terms of schedules.

And this year, Travelife Magazine is exactly at that point where we're expanding to a fourth media dimension (television) and it's taking up all my extra concentration and energy, so I've had to slightly pare down my schedule.

But tonight I made allowances for the Salon de Ning party and I even found an Indian-print dress to wear as it was a Bollywood-theme party. And I asked a friend to come along with me even if I knew it would be fine to go alone since I would know at least half the room anyway.

What a fun night it was. Lots of people were in Indian dress and almost all the ladies were wearing a bindi on their forehead. They had Indian dancers in the middle of the evening; and in one corner of the room, two artists were painting flowers and images with henna on anyone who wanted to have something done.

"Should we get something done?" We said to ourselves. I was so tempted to have at least a small flower painted on my hand. But then one of the waitresses told us it would last for a week and I was just wondering how I would go through a week of meetings with flowers painted on my wrist.


So we concentrated on the champagne instead, and happily so. Moet was literally flowing like water and the waitresses kept bringing glasses to our table, so my friend and I were downing it like shots. I don't usually drink a lot but tonight, there he was daring me each time to empty my glass so we could have another.

"You've been babysitting that too long," he would say, referring to a champagne glass half-full that had gone just slightly warm. That meant I'd been nursing it for about ten minutes instead of five. And so of course we would both do a merry bottoms-up.


We talked about all sorts of things, too, and for about half of those things, we found reasons to toast to. When I wasn't drinking champagne, I was laughing my head off at the things we were toasting to. For example, we toasted to the person who introduced us, to Colegio de San Agustin, to confidence (and I can't even remember why we toasted to this now), and to living life like we won't be here tomorrow -- among about a thousand things. I didn't exactly count but I wouldn't be surprised if we'd drunk at least a dozen glasses of champagne each by the end of the night.


At about 10 PM, the band Mulatto came on and they played really nice songs from the 80s. Some of the songs I knew, and some I didn't. We were sitting for the first part, just listening to the band but mostly talking and toasting. But at one point, we were sufficiently inebriated so that my friend suddenly said: "Whatever song is coming on next, we're going to dance." I thought he was kidding, but yes, we did end up on the dance floor and it was really fun.

And while we were dancing, he said to me: "Do you know I don't even dance?" He could've fooled me because he certainly was working that dance floor as if he owned it.

It had been a pretty busy and serious week, and a Salon de Ning night with way too much champagne was exactly what I needed to take the edge off. Even just a little bit, and even for just a little while. Just another evening in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

* * *

To commemorate the resilience of the Japanese people
one year after the Great Earthquake,
and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese culture.




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