Menu Magic

Skydancing at 10.7 kilometres above sea level on the way to Bali…

A little earlier I was sitting in a coffee place at Changi Airport in Singapore disturbing the peace with my laughter. I was comfortably ensconced in a deep, lush, red velvet armchair sipping, or should I say slurping a mango smoothie and feeling rather replete having eaten dhal and rice and aloo and the like at the Indian restaurant upstairs – newly renovated and now obscenely expensive…well expensive for Singapore.

The owners of the coffee shop very thoughtfully provide magazines for their customers and I decided to take a journey through a well-known business travel magazine. My eyes were arrested by a startling image of the ‘Bird’s Nest’, as the Olympic Stadium in Beijing has been nicknamed. The article talked about the 2008 Beijing Olympics and how the Chinese government is attempting to ensure their population do not speak Chinglish when the round eyes are in town. Using some examples they quote (in capital letters) we could construct the following instruction for visiting foreigners:

“When you are by the pond TAKE CARE and FALL INTO THE WATER CAREFULLY and PLEASE DO NOT THROW ANY ODDS AND ENDS INTO it. If you are feeling the call of nature please progress to the PUBIC TOILET. In case of hunger go to the restaurant to eat fish balls, hot dog, small sparrow and CRISPY SKIN INFECTIONS.”

The latter (!) makes me think of all the wonderful things I have seen on menus over the many years I have been travelling around our planet, especially in Asia. Buried deep in my travel diaries are many quaint examples.

One evening a couple of years back, whilst waiting at the old and much-friendlier-than-the-new-one airport in Bangkok for my delayed flight to Singapore I was looking for somewhere to get a juice. I wandered into this shady looking bar that had a stained and dog-eared cocktail menu on the one empty table. The spellings were so, well, amusing shall I say, that out came my notebook and the following tale emerged as a result of having nothing more to do in that moment than play with the names of all 33 cocktails listed, leaving the spellings just as they were on the on the menu:

“The Tale of 33 Cocktails

With thanks to the menu writer at the bar/restaurant between Terminals 1 & 2 at Don Muang Airport, Bangkok…all spelling mistakes have been joyously retained.

Alexander was a young, handsome Black Russian. He had spent his life travelling Around the Wrold in search of his Cinderella. His travelling companion was a Bulldog called Godfather who, for the most part, was not a Bad Dog.

One day, while sipping a Ginn Fizz in his B&B in Manhatten, Alexander decided to take to the skies once more in his B.52. The question was…where to head? He’d drunk Whiskey Sours in Long Island, Irish Cofee in Cork and Slings in Singapore. He’d watched the sun rise in Tequila and picked Orange Blossom in Cherry Temples in Hokkaido. He truly was a man Of The Wrold.

This time, Alexander’s intuition sent him flying west, towards the isle of Blue Hawaii. His hopes were running high as the island came into view, so sure was he that he would encounter his Pink Lady on this trip.

Now, Alexander was known to be a bit of a Kamikaze in the skies and his landing technique was legendary. He and Godfather hit Blue Hawaii like a Torpedo. They both emerged from the wreckage of the battered B.52 looking totally Fruit Punched.

Alexander wandered the golden beaches of Blue Hawaii like a despondent Zombie, but no less determined to succeed in his quest. Badly in need of a Pina Corada he walked into a bar owned by a dude called Tom Collins. While Alexander sipped his cocktail and contemplated the state of his life, Godfather amused himself by chasing a Scorpion and a Glass Shopper along the beach.

Alexander was not a pretty sight – his face was Vioret with bruises. As he turned to leave the bar his malaise lifted like fog on a sunny day…because…there on the beach, at the edge of the surf, stood his dream incarnate; her hair blowing in the gentle breeze, her lithe body kissed golden by the sun, standing at the end of a Rainbow.

Alexander had found his treasure at last. It was love at first sight for the Black Russian and the Pink Lady. They had passionate Sex On The Beach, under the Rainbow, and lived happily ever after.”

Isn’t life just wonderful when you can put all aside for a while and spend time on frivolity and play?

May you always have time in yours for the same.

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© Jacqueline Le Sueur 2007
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