Friday, July 19, 2013

10 minutes to dress up for a long gown sit-down dinner, and the strangest dynamics I've ever seen.

I'm going to blog with more details about today once I recover from it.

It was another enjoyable but terribly busy day that ended with a black-tie/ long gown sit-down dinner at the Makati Shangri-la, with a private concert by the Philippine Philarmonic Orchestra.

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Of all the annual social events in Manila, this is one of my favorites.

The annual sit-down dinner concert of the Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines (JSSP) is one of Manila's most exclusive invitation-only events, and most of those who go either love music or love Austria -- or both.

Almost every ambassador who is in town (vis-a-is on summer holidays, as it is the Western summer holidays now) was present last night. Meanwhile, the non-diplomatic guests included people like Washington Sycip.

In fact, I'd joked that I'd been attending a farewell dinner for an ambassador almost every single night of the past two months, on the days that I've been in Manila, as so many ambassadors are leaving the Philippines this July and August.

Then, I said that the only reason there was no farewell dinner for an ambassador tonight was because all the ambassadors were at the Makati Shangri-la for this black-tie dinner.


Unfortunately I was terribly busy today.

So while most people take an hour or two to get ready for a long gown dinner, I literally got dressed in 10 minutes.

I didn't even know what I would wear at the start of those 10 minutes, but by 8 minutes, I'd picked something out and was doing a 60-second makeup job before heading out the door.


Sometime in these hectic two days, this friend and I were discussing and also throwing jokes back and forth about this pretty amazing trip to the luxurious wilderness that we're planning together again.

And this afternoon, after a private joke about the hours in the day -- somehow related to our trip -- I burst out laughing at the silliness of it all.

It certainly helped take the edge off the day.

I wish I could blog our conversations as some of it is painfully direct, while some of it is just plain hilarious. But I can't. Besides, most of it consists of private jokes no one else would really get anyway.

Scroll down to read about a conversation never in the making...


But just one example:

Me: "I'll send you the details of the trip I've worked out in a series of easy-to-understand emails."

We've divided the work again, you see. After choosing a country and a time frame, it was up to me to decide on the hotels and the general flow. That's almost done. And as I know he's a terribly busy person who doesn't have time to read long emails, I was planning to send him the most updated itinerary in as simple a format as a I could manage.

He's supposed to work everything else out after I've chosen the hotels and decided how many days we're staying in each.


Travel Companion: "Easy to understand? That's for low IQ people like myself, of course."

Of course, he doesn't mean this at all, and I know it.

But I reply anyway: "That didn't come from me..."


Travel Companion: "I was trying to give you an opportunity to say 'not low IQ, but low EQ."

He's rather proud of how smart he is, you see. Meanwhile, I am forever teasing him about how dense he is -- just because he wants to be. This part's true.


Me: "Good god. You have zero EQ. And mostly by choice."

We talk like this all time. It must be the strangest dynamics in the world for two people planning a trip together. But somehow it works and the trip's lots of fun.

So between a terribly busy schedule and some pretty amusing exchanges about an upcoming trip, it's simply a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

Every single day.


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