Saturday, September 02, 2006


Well, I never. I never thought I'd be booked into a spa resort in the paradise that is called Thailand, and postpone my trip to Thailand in order to extend a stay in Singapore. Against all odds, this is exactly what has happened.

Fort the tenth time in as many years, I arrived at Changi airport in Singapore. My hosts (pictured at left, Derek and Cath Kwok) had sent a chaffeured Mercedes to pick me up from the airport. From Mongolian taxi drivers threatening me physically in attempts to extort extra tugrug fare from me to a polite and friendly Singaporean driver who offered me chilled (!) water and classical music, the effort did not go unnoticed.

Cath (or Tina Turner, if you knew Cath in Tokyo) and I spent our mornings trying absolutely no more than five minutes of yoga, subsequently rewarding ourselves with muffins and cappuccinos, and ambling around Orchard Road. After all, we both had already lived here a combined eight years. What more was there to see? As it turned out, a new spin on an old theme would keep me here in Singapore a few more days.

I chuckled to myself as a I passed a sign on Orchard Road for a "Flosstival". You really have to marvel at some of the interesting gimmicks that Singaporean businesses come up with. In the case of the "Flosstival", a local bakery was advertising an event featuring a type of savory bun that is topped with "pork floss", or, well, just what it sounds like - very, very thinly shredded pork. Imagine the texture of horsehair, the flavor of pork, atop a hamburger bun; you have now grasped a pork floss bun. And with just a tad more imagination, come on you can do it, imagine a festival based around pork floss buns. You have, by now, surely come to the realization that there is no other title for this even than the same gimmicky title that this bakery owner concocted, the "Flosstival". Without further adieu, I moved on. And quickly.

That evening I met with the Kwok's and Eddie and Melanie Listorti (pictured at right in above photo). We dined at Il Lido, a beautiful breezy modern Italian restaurant on Sentosa, a small island off the coast of Singapore. Champagne, whites, reds, truffles, antipasti, seafood, even cigars (subscription members may ask for a copy of Cath and I trying Cubans): I was in heaven.
Best of all, I hadn't seen any of them in several years. And here we were, having dinner in someone else's country, as if we had not missed a beat.

At 5am, we finished not missing a beat. At a club. Yes, I am ashamed of myself. But proud to say that at lunch the next morning, after many years of avoiding them, I finally ate chicken feet. I think I'd have preferred the pork floss. I spent the remainder of the morning arranging for a later flight to Thailand. I'll spend a few more days with these old friends, be it with truffles and champagne or floss and feet.

No comments: