So last night in Tokyo, living a Travelife, I made a five-course French dinner for some VIP guests visiting from abroad.
It was quite a fun evening, with the conversation zinging and zanging in all directions.
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THE EVENTS LEADING TO THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
At one point, we were talking about the Russian revolution and the French revolution, two events in history that I happen to know a whole lot about, just because I've probably read every single thing written about these events.
It became quite a dinner topic, when I recounted how Lenin had been so unprepared for the leadership chance that the abdication of the Czar presented in 1917, that he had to rush back to Russia from Switzerland when history started happening.
So few people know this, outside of the groups who study Russian history.
DIARY OF A FRENCH AMBASSADOR
My readings on the Russian revolution, for instance, have been so comprehensive that these even covered the diaries of Maurice Paleologue, the French ambassador to the court of Czar Nicholas II in St. Petersburg at the time of the revolution and that hopeless and tumultuous era preceding it.
Ambassador Paleologue was a most astute observer and a tireless recorder of events.
Not too many people have read his works, but these constitute perhaps one of the most fascinating accounts of the events leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917, from a third-party who was nevertheless in the inner sanctum.
VISITING THE CEMETERY OF PASSY
I was suitably impressed with his works to search for his grave in Paris.
I guess no one ever goes to visit him at the cemetery in Passy these days, and he's probably all but forgotten.
But one day, I went there by myself to see his grave. He truly did historians and history enthusiasts a great service, by recording ever so diligently the life and events in the last days of Imperial Russia.
MY FAVORITE THING TO DO IN THE WORLD
We also talked about cruise experiences, which is another thing I'm so passionate about.
It's probably my favorite thing to do in this whole world. And I recalled, to everyone's amazement, how I only ever sail with Silversea, if I'm on a private holiday.
So, of course, I've accrued a respectable number of sailing days with this cruise line.
2300 SAILING DAYS WITH SILVERSEA
One of them was a very nice couple from Switzerland. My VIP guest almost dropped his fork when he heard this.
He exclaimed: "2300 sailing days?"
It was simply unfathomable to someone as busy as him -- and probably to many other people as well. A typical cruise lasts about 7 days, after all, so you can imagine just how many cruises they went on to accrue 2300 days.
6.5 YEARS ON A SHIP?
Being a numbers guy, my VIP guest was already making the necessary calculations in his head as we all talked.
He said: "That's about 6.5 years if they do two months of cruising a year. Unbelievable. We're in the wrong business, obviously."
By "wrong business," he was referring to the guys seated around the dining table, all regional CEOs of some of the most recognizable names in world of global finance.
A WONDERFUL PASTA
FROM LAST NIGHT'S LEFTOVERS
For starters last night, I grilled very fresh giant Hokkaido scallops with a dab of Echire butter and Camargue sea salt.
It was perfection itself.
And today I still had some leftover scallops from the sack I bought, and I had friends coming to lunch.
So I quickly made a very nice pasta of scallops, baby clams and herbs, for just another nice meal in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.