Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Chinese dinner at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Tokyo, and about a villa in the south of France


So last night in Tokyo, living a Travelife, I had a Chinese dinner with my friend Mr. Billionaire. The last time I saw him was at Paris airport last month, as I was on my way out of Paris to Doha.

I've been at Paris airport twice in the last four months or so.

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DOUBLE COINCIDENCE
AT PARIS AIRPORT

Trip #1 was in the spring, after traveling around the Czech Republic and France. Then Trip # 2 was just this summer, after a driving foodie voyage around France and Spain.

Mr. Billionaire lives in Tokyo, among many other places.

But in these last two trips to Paris for me, I'd actually bumped into him both times at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. As if Paris airport was just Shibuya Station in Tokyo.



ZERO ODDS 
EXCEPT IN A TRAVELIFE

What are the odds of that happening?

Zero, unless you're on a never-endingly eventful Travelife. Although I have to admit that the odds of bumping into him in Paris' airport are higher than bumping into him in Shibuya Station, even if we both live in the general area of Shibuya, as neither of us takes the train in Tokyo.

And last night, we had dinner in Tokyo.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO



CHINESE FOOD
INSTEAD OF TEPPANYAKI

He asked me, about where to have dinner last night: "Where do you want to eat?"

I replied: "Teppanyaki. Somewhere really delicious please."

But then yesterday afternoon, typical Type A personality, he completely forgot about my request and sent me a message: "Let's go and have Chinese. You'll like this place."

I was fine for anything anyway, so it was okay.

KARIN, THE CHINESE RESTAURANT
AT THE ANA INTERCONTINENTAL TOKYO



So we went to Karin, the Chinese restaurant of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Tokyo. It was very nice, and I just loved their dim sum.

Over a great meal, I asked him: "So, how's your villa in Cap Ferrat?"

A VILLA IN CAP FERRAT, FRANCE



When I saw him in July at Paris' airport, he'd told me he had just bought a "modest" villa with a view in Cap Ferrat. "Something not worth writing home about," he'd said then.

Last night, in answer to my question, he said, without looking up from the crab shell he was wrestling with: "I've sold it."

I looked at him very surprised. He'd just bought it on a whim last July, after all.


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SOUTH AFRICA



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THE FOR SALE SIGN DID IT.
AND ABOUT A LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY.

When he had finished wrestling with his crab, he looked up.

Seeing my surprised expression, he continued, grinning: "Someone offered me an amount I couldn't refuse. The agents had forgotten to take out the "For sale" sign, you see -- typical France, of course -- so some tech guy from Palo Alto saw it from the outside and called the agent with an unbelievable offer."



He continued: "He didn't even go inside the house. Can you imagine?"

"Apparently, this guy saw the sign and the property from afar, as he was driving by, and then he supposedly jotted down the number. When he got to his hotel, he gave the number to the concierge and told him to buy it. At least this is what my agent said."

I still had this surprised look on my face, and he was obviously relishing every second of it.

AN UNUSUAL TASK FOR THE CONCIERGE



So he said: "Can you imagine a hotel concierge in the French countryside, being handed a number scribbled on a scrap of paper, and then being told to buy a villa for four million euros?"

He then grinned and said: "I'll bet that kind of request doesn't happen very often to him. I wonder what sort of tip he was given for a job like that?"

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CZECH REPUBLIC


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Okay. When he said four million euros, my focus got diverted from the fact that he'd sold his recently purchased villa, to the fact that it was actually a villa that cost him four million euros.

So I said: "You said it was a small property not worth writing home about."

When we'd talked in Paris, you see, he'd acted like his spur-of-the-moment villa purchase had been no big deal -- like he'd just bought the second floor of a nondescript village store for forty thousand euros.




He looked at me and said: "It is. Or I should say, it was, as it's not mine anymore."

I replied: "Must've been pretty nice, though, for it to cost four million euros." When someone lays down a figure for a property on the table, I can't help calculating images in my head.

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A REALLY GOOD DEAL

He laughed and replied: "I said I sold it to him for four million euros. I didn't say I bought it for four million euros. It's not my fault if some people don't do due diligence when buying a house."

Then he added, with a wink: "But now that I'm flush with cash, I can buy myself a nicer villa I can actually write home about..."

And with that, another interesting day ended in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



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