Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Friday, June 04, 2010

If I had a million dollars

On the shuttle bus that takes me from the MRT station to the office, I heard this question, ‘’what would you do if you had a million dollars?’’ over the radio. A classic question. One that I used to write about in Spanish and Italian classes.

This time, I am not going to pretend to be noble. No, I am not going to donate parts of it to my favourite charity (I don’t have any, by the way), nor am I going to be ‘’moral’’ about it and gift it to the church.

And I am not going to do the usual wise thing – buy a house, invest, set up a business.

Neither am I going on a decadent outlet shopping spree in Milan, or a hedonistic wine tour
in Australia, or a narcissistic spa retreat in Phuket or Switzerland.

And no, I don’t need to participate in the latest chi chi activity - practice yoga at a scenic spot in Bhutan, or climb the highest peak in Everest.

I am going to do some of the things that I have always wanted to do, but never found the
time, or money.

I want to go to Peru, and see the inca site Machu Picchu. I want to see the Danube River, the longest river that links East and West Europe. I want to bike down the Death Road in Bolivia. I want to see the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. I want to trek the highlands of Haputale Gap.

I want to see the sunset at the beach of Constanza, and visit the romantic castle in Transylvania. In Budapest, I want to taste authentic goulash and parikas. In Marrakesh, I want to be lost in the souqs. In Istanbul, I want to visit Ilker and see how he eats pork, defiantly. In Alsace, I want to eat its German inspired French food.

I want to visit Alberto in Catania, and see if he still lazes in his cabin by the beach every summer afternoon. I want to go back to the breathtaking view at the bridge in Spoleto, and attend its arts festival. Then, I want to eat pizzas in Napoli, and listen to the charming dialect of Sicilia. I want to visit the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon, and many other nice museums there.

I want to go to Cornwall with Diane (we have been talking about this since the mid 90’s!) I want to be in Dublin for Bloomsday in June, and in Edinburgh for the arts festival in August. Yes, the entire arts festival, not just the fringe.

I want to walk around St Petersburg with Maria, and maybe steal a supermarket trolley with her. I want to visit Halina and attend the arts festival that she organizes in Poland. I almost went for it a few years back, but it was ruined by some office meeting.

And I want to go back to Kerala, this time to the Jewel of the Lakshadweep, the private Bangaram Island. And then to Kashmir to admire their paper mache crafts, Rajasthan to buy their fabrics, and Agra to see Taj Mahal. And oh, Mandalay, how can I forget this quiet, charming city with a beautiful name. If I have a daughter, I will name her Mandalay.

I want to visit Phnom Penh, to see the legendary FCC clubhouse. And then island hopping in American Samoa. And then to the seductive port city of Buenos Aires. Then I must, must see the vibrant nightlife of Sao Paolo, the Ipanema Beach of Rio de Janeiro, and then practice capoeira there too.

I want to go camping and canoeing with Andy and Pat again around Toronto, and attend the film festival, in September. And yes, Spain – I can never get enough of Spain. And Greece too – I want to go back to the Acropolis, and make sure I get to visit it during the full moon, and then visit Santorini island.

Finally, with Kayoko, I want to see Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan and Nara, a UNESCO site.

All these places that I want to see, are inspired by what I had read, but most of all, by people I have met, and friends who either have been there, or live there. Definitely not by what I had read in Conde Nast.

Besides visiting all these places, I want to dance Bhangra, Salsa, ballet and African dance every other day. I also want to practice fencing, fitball, yoga and pilates every other day. Not to mention running, and strength training at the gym. And I want to take up Kali Majapahit too.

Finally, I want to enroll in a pastry course in Cordon Bleu Paris, and take up a course on chocolate at the Ritz Carlton Paris. No, I don’t intend to be a pastry chef. I just want to learn and ENJOY.

All the above are for pure, selfish, unabashedly self centred enjoyment. They are for myself. I deserve every single one of them.

The lift landed on level 5 with a heavy thud. I have arrived at my office. My five minutes of wild dream ended. But it cheered me up.

Back to work.


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