40 Years Later...

Trip Start Feb 23, 2006
Trip End Jun 24, 2009

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Monday, June 30, 2008

Today marks another milestone for me on this trip. It's the 3rd birthday I've had since I left on this adventure. The first was spent in Gili Trawangan with Ms. Samantha partying at Rudy's bar where Jacko, my bartender, kept trying to send me to the moon with no transport required. Last year, I was working in China and spent the day watching the reflection of the willow trees on the lakes in Shenyang while contemplating life, the universe and everything until Gemma got off work and helped me celebrate the rest of the night in memorable fashion.

Today, I find myself in Singapore 40 years after I accidentally found my way to this realm. I can't believe that they haven't realized the mistake and recalled me yet. My friend C had a great idea to take me to High Tea at The Raffles Hotel. I always find the best presents are the ones that people would never get for themselves, but would enjoy immensely! For me, there's nothing better than yummy food and lots of it. High Tea in typical colonial fashion included your choice of many varieties of teas. I had a Mango flavored tea instead of my usual Earl Grey (hot). Of course, they had finger sandwiches and scones with butter, cream and jam. They also had ice cream, all kinds of cakes, little crepes, éclairs and all manner of chocolate. They even had a Chocolate fountain. How Brilliant is THAT!? Eeeemmmm..... Chooooocolaaate Foooouuntain. I can see Homer right now with his mouth open underneath the fountain. Sorry, I don't have any pictures, but I was too busy stuffing my face to take any.

The Raffles Hotel is full of warm tones and solid dark wood railings and finishings. Although it's not all that fancy by today's standards, it just screams old world opulence. In it's day, I'm sure it held a charm for the rich and famous like Rudyard Kipling sitting in the writer's bar just off the main lobby. I bet he wrote a chapter or two of the Jungle Book sipping a cocktail while listening to the piano player tickle the ivories at this oasis in the jungle.

A funny thing happened to us on the way to the Hotel. We were waiting for the train when C got a call. After a long confused conversation, she turns to me and says, "OH SH*T!". I'm expecting that it was work and that she had to go home. But instead of some pressing issue, she says, "I won the trip to Beijing to see the Olympics". I look at her with a quizzical look on my face and say, well that's not the typical reaction you usually hear when someone wins a $10,000 trip to Beijing to watch the Olympics (for 2). The poor operator is probably thinking that she normally has a pretty fun job telling people they've won a once in a lifetime chance to go watch the Olympics. 

 I remember just after I arrived in Singapore when we looked up the answer for the trivia question of the Olympic record for the 100M sprint.

(It's currently 9.84, but unless the runners die from Beijing air inhalation, that record looks like it's gonna be broken this year as some Gay guy has run it in time trials in 9.68 already and 2 others are running in the high 9.7s.)

I said something to the effect of Good luck, what are the odds you're gonna win that? Well, miracles do sometimes happen. Last year when I was in Beijing, I said something to the effect that you couldn't pay me to go to the Olympics. It's gonna be a mad house! Traffic will be a bear, but when everything is booked and taken care of for you, it can't be too bad. This is the 3rd time in 2 years that I've said I'm not going back to China and yet here I am again, going back to China. Maybe I should get some SCUBA gear and take some air with me. Some people have said that I lead a charmed life. In this one instance, I can't really argue that point. It wasn't even me that won the trip. I was just standing next to C when she won it on my birthday. I've always believed in parking Karma and I know it is transferable to anyone sitting in the car. Maybe contest Karma extends to those standing next to you on public transportation?

How's that for a 40th Birthday present!!!? Thank you C!!!

Travelers Tip: Skip the Singapore Sling. Do not under any circumstances order this over priced tourist trap. If you are really curious what it tastes like, go home and mix some fruit punch with dish washing detergent shake it up and serve over ice. Don't bother adding any gin because they don't either.

Editors Note: I feel the same as I did when I was 23 and traveling around the world, but everything aches a bit more now. Thank you very much for reading my stories. I had over 1600 hits this month.
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prettyjulie130 on

Happy our birthday! Sounds like a pretty nice friend you've got in C - have fun at the Olympics!

rcys on

Re: Daaaang.
Ya, it was a great bday present! Unfortunately, now I'm having difficulty getting a visa for China because I'm in Borneo and they say they can't issue a visa for me here in Kuching. I'm going to be so PISSED if I can't go to the Olympics because of some stupid bureaucratic bullsh*t.

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