4 June 2013 – 0800hrs
Flying over what must be the northern Alps of Italy Switzerland. Snow covered and gleaming. We’re due to land in Bologna. Arrived in Paris – Charles de Gaule airport this a.m. after a long but very comfortable flight on Air France. They are up there with Singapore Air as far as I’m concerned. Very good. Nothing budget about them except the fare. Poor Rachel, this is her second visit to Paris neither of which time she has seen that grand old dame of La Belle France. The first time we were just changing trains underground, and this time . . . just CDG airport. A grand airport mine you, and very busy.
Why Bologna? Why not, I say. It was, actually, much like throwing a dart at the map. It simply puts us near the Adriatic Sea for a crossing into Croatia, but also serves to whet Rachel’s curiosity for Italy. I can’t say I am not looking forward to it; it is new territory for us, even though neither of us can speak a word of Italian.
Singapore, once more, did not disappoint. Though it is as humid and hot as ever, we are both very fond of that contrary place. Yes its people are disciplined and the down town is ultra-modern, verging on Disneyfied, but where we stayed (this time in Geylang – a predominantly Muslim area) is very raw and very Asian. Incidentally, there is also a high percentage of hookers in this area – and most of them look great, Rachel even commenting on how they dress so well. One of the reasons we are able to enjoy Singapore so much is that we have two very good friends there. As in all our past visits, they went out of their way to meet up with us. This time we didn’t stray much out of Geylang; it suited our and their purpose of feeding and watering us. The street food in Geylang (basically on every corner) is of a very high standard and typical of whichever of the many ethnic cuisines you care to select. Actually, we were spoiled rotten. Our friends, as is their wont – claiming it is their (Singaporean) custom – wouldn’t let us pay for any damned thing. This actually extended to their organising and pre-paying for a taxi to the airport on our departure. We ate both afternoons of our stay at a very basic table at one of the nearby, basic eating/drinking places (I struggle to call them restaurants) and, with us all watered by copious amounts of beer and/or hot and cold drinks of the Asian type, they would choose and purchase dish after dish of delicacies from the surrounding eateries and bring it or have it delivered to our table. It was, in our humble opinion, some of the finest Asian cuisine we have had to date – and I am aware that the prices are exceedingly low (this is not at all to diminish their generosity). Some of you would frown at the surrounds, the traffic, the apparent lack of hygiene – it was not salubrious by any means, but the food . . . ahh, the food. Now to land in Bologna on a glorious but slightly chilly morning! The journey begins –
But the lack of a good sleep causes some problems . . .