Saturday, May 14, 2022

downtown singapore, i find myself in the long bar at raffles drinking not singapore slings, but a stream of coffee negronis and munching an ever replenishing bowl of complementary peanuts, shells thrown upon the floor in tradition. it's quite simply the perfect environment for me, the 1920's plantation design, the weird parallel lines of ceiling fans, the piano jazz and the ability to swing, the clientele a mix of sophisticated exotic looking slim  wraith like women along side the more disheveled writer types, sporting crumpled linen jackets and wide beaten brimmed hats. the immediate thought is which one of these women holds the opium. 
i am sat on a round table directly underneath the classical wobbly fan, a malay woman in a tight black dress shimmy's over to join me. she asks where i am from.
'just in transit, on my way to europa.'
we exchange awkward pleasantries although i am filled with supreme confidence in this environment, i wish i could roll a spliff but singapore is a place where they frown severely upon that kind of activity and the only life sentence i want is stress free. that leaves a range of exotic cocktails to experience, and let me tell you the barmen are very generous with their serves. i wouldn't say i am drunk but i'm in an altered state of consciousness and it's becoming slightly surreal. 
we chat a little about malaysia and the east, she's some sort of rich daddy type daughter, basically shopping and pursuing the hedonistic lifestyle daddy's wealth allows, the good life although unfulfilling must have obvious benefits. suddenly i'm caught in a conflict, i mean who doesn't want to swan around on a luxury yacht port to port drinking cocktails and looking glamorous, surrounded by bikini clad nymphomaniacs. yep, that has a certain appeal.
i have to return from an internal fantasy as we talk about the famous writers that have all stayed here, after all i am on hallowed ground. 
joseph conrad, kipling and sommerset maugham spring to mind as fellow expats. my malay temptress has read kipling, whereas i have read conrad and dabbled in maugham. 
i'm very drunk, things are getting blurry, i have no idea what words are escaping my mouth, the colours are all so perfect, the atmosphere of a time period i remember i'd forgotten. i have been here before and now i am again. i fall on the floor, what happens next?    

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