Coming back to earth
Gerald Ingolby receives an unwelcome visitor on his world tour
I am a chastened gentleman. There is nothing quite like a well-appointed bathroom facility in a double room hotel suite in a foreign land to bring a chap crashing back to earth.
Before making my way to my computer to compose this post report this morning I had occasion to visit said facility in order to go about my ablutions, dressed only in my Homer Simpson underpants.
The effect of the unusually bright and piercing lighting system, combined with the seemingly high-definition effect of the mirror above the basin, provided a stark and unforgiving image. Never mind any growing list of age-related infirmities one acquires along life’s passage and/or any reluctant success one achieves in terms of intellectual acceptance of the concept of mortality, most human beings beyond their fiftieth birthday – in their minds at least – are able to spend at least 30% of their waking existence kidding themselves that they are thirty … well okay, thirty-five maximum.
That is, until they are confronted with the sort of sight I was today, i.e. that of a grossly-obese, gone-to-waste, pasty-faced elderly gentleman who had (apparently) somehow invaded my suite overnight. That this was how – albeit fully-dressed, obviously – I now present myself to the world at large was a considerable shock.
Singapore, which I have not visited before, well save for a period of about 20 hours some forty-four years ago on my way to Perth in Australia, continues to give a very favourable impression.
The streets are clean, the city is a bustling modern metropolis bedecked with striking architecture and the locals could not be more courteous and quietly efficient if they tried. There is a buzz about the place and an all-pervading sense of purpose, even amongst those who aren’t going anywhere particular. I am very glad to have made the journey.