Wednesday, July 17, 2013

8 courses for dinner, a private museum tour, and a recital by 2 top opera singers in one of the biggest houses in Forbes Park.

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Tonight I enjoyed a most wonderful evening of good food and music.

It was another farewell party for another ambassador I'm close to, and these dinners are always happy and fun, but also sad.

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THE TROUBLE WITH GOODBYE

I hate goodbyes, and I always try to put off the real goodbye until the very last minute.

Someone tonight said, when I told him how much I hate goodbyes: "This is the age of the Internet and global travel -- especially for you. There's not many people you won't ever see again."

I sighed and replied: "But it's so different when you've been living about five minutes away, and then suddenly you're living 15 hours away."

NEAR OR FAR SHOULDN'T MATTER



Even for a never-ending Travelife, a 15-hour distance is a pretty big stretch.

Although technically, distance and logistics should really be of little consequence. If you want to meet up, you'll always find a way.

And if you don't, even a short distance is like a trip to the moon. There are some people who live only five minutes away but who I never ever see.



SORRY. NO PHOTOS TONIGHT.

Anyway, I have to tell you about tonight -- although, unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the evening as it just wasn't the kind of affair I could take my camera or Blackberry out and snap away.

I usually can manage one or two photos even at a sit-down dinner. But I didn't dare do it this time around, for some reason.

It was a round table so everyone could see everyone else, and it was a pretty formal night. Most of the ladies were in pearls and fancy cocktail dresses.


WHAT A HOUSE.

Without sounding too crude, the house I visited tonight in Forbes Park is probably one of the biggest homes I've been to in this area, which is already an area of McMansions.

Even Mr. Jaded's house a few streets down, which can seat 500 persons at dinner, falls into 4th or 5th place compared to this.

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"THEY'RE IN THE MUSEUM..."

I was the second to the last person to arrive.

When my car pulled up to the front door, a butler came out to open my car door. Then he said to me: "They're all in the museum."

Yes, the house has a museum with a revolving collection, right on the grounds.

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So I walked over to the museum, which is on one side of the property, and someone was waiting there to open the door for me.

Inside, I saw about five ambassadors and their wives, and the editor of one of the country's largest newspapers.

Fortunately I knew everyone so it was a matter of going around and saying hello.

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WE KNOW EVERYONE EXCEPT THE HOST

Interestingly, we all knew each other; but the person we didn't know at all was the host of the party.

The host of the party was a good friend of the ambassador who is leaving, and so the host had decided to throw him a farewell party.

Then our host asked the ambassador/ guest-of-honor to give him enough names to fill a large round table, and the ambassador and his wife had given him the names of their friends.



Then the secretary of the host had called everyone else's secretaries to coordinate an invitation.

The ambassador said later on in a speech: "I was asked to provide some names to invite, and we decided to invite only our good friends -- people we've become close to during our stay here."






THANK YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP

I can't tell you how touched I was to be included in this table of friends that included some very important people in Manila.



And how kind of our host tonight to invite a table full of strangers for a tour of his very impressive private museum, an eight course meal, and a private concert of opera favorites by two of the country's top opera performers.

Sorry, no names this time, as it was an incredibly private party hosted by a very private person.

THE STORIES OF MY SEATMATE

But tomorrow I'll continue this story and tell you about my seatmate at this dinner.

He was with President Obama both times he won the presidential elections, and he knew Charlie Wilson -- as in Charlie Wilson from the movie that Tom Hanks starred in -- personally.

It truly is a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife. Every single day.





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