Luckily, I got a ride to the airport as someone was flying from Tokyo to London yesterday, and he very nicely took a car out to the airport two hours earlier than his own flight to bring me as well.
As we had time after I checked in, we had a cup of tea on the second floor of Tokyo's airport at a specialty tea shop that brewed a good pot of green tea.
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LATE AS USUAL
The result of this, however, was that I was late to board, and once again the very last person on the plane as usual -- in spite of my New Year's resolutions to try and get to airplanes earlier.
The flight itself was uneventful, although I have to say that I had a very good lunch onboard.
I chose the Western menu with a wagyu in a red wine sauce for a main course, simply because I'd been having way too much Japanese food the whole week.
RICE WITH MY BEEF STEW
Frankly, I wasn't expecting much either from the wagyu stew or the red wine, as I've rarely had stew or wine I can rave about with gusto on a short-haul flight, even in business class.
WHAT A SURPRISE
The stew was delicious, especially with the rice.
As for the wine, I didn't even bother to ask what the wine was, since the options from the stewardess -- even in business class -- were a small individual bottle of red wine or a glass, without any other explanations.
However, this too turned out surprisingly drinkable, and very nice with my meat dish. I think I had two glasses just because it was so enjoyable.
|The appetizers onboard my flight yesterday|
TWO PARTIES LAST NIGHT
And when I got to Manila, it was straight to work before two parties on the diplomatic circuit last night.
The first was a farewell cocktail party at the home of a European ambassador, and I came on the dot knowing I would have to do a French exit in exactly 50 minutes.
And then I got into my car and headed one block down to the home of another ambassador, who was hosting a formal sit-down dinner in honour of a visitor.
WHAT AN ENJOYABLE DINNER
That was really very enjoyable, especially as everyone at the table was such a good conversationalist, beginning with the good ambassador himself.
There were so many jokes and interesting stories in spite of the very eclectic crowd.
ONCE UPON A POPE
For example, did you know that Pope Francis once worked as a bouncer at a nightclub?
I fell off my seat when I heard this, but the gentleman who told the story swears it's true. In fact, he says this little-known fact is in the official Vatican biographical records of the pope.
There were dozens of other really funny or nice stories, and I hope to recount some of them over the next few days, in Manila, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.