Finally, the day arrives. After months of preparation, we head to the airport, the butterflies in my stomach in overdrive. Everything goes smoothly- (too smoothly the nasty little glass-half-empty voice in my head sneers).
I had forgotten the wonderful courtesy of Singapore Airlines staff – the hot towels , the smiles. Even the courteous offer of goulash or chicken for lunch, even though they had run out of chicken.
Disembarking, immigration, luggage, taxi to the hotel, check-in – all good. We are staying in the ParkRoyal on Kitchener, on the edge of Little India. I love India and Indian culture and look forward to exploring temples and food in this part of Singapore.
After a quick reconnoitre of the room and the pool, it’s time to head downstairs for a drink. We stumble upon Club 5, where over-enthusiastic staff entreat us to make the most of happy hour – second drink for half price. The Australian sav blanc goes down a treat – far better than the Riesling, which was certainly not Australian, that I had had on the plane. And for a snack, mini cheeseburgers, mainly because I hadn’t had any bread since breakfast.
Club 5 was set for dancing to a DJ or live music, with a 60s- style disco ball hanging from the ceiling. We listened to an eclectic mix of music, with TCM showing 2001 A Space Odyssey on one screen, and CNN news on another.
Then the DJ arrived, said something in difficult to catch accented English, and the first couple took to the floor. Immaculately timed dancing, her shoes the sign of a regular.
Gradually others joined them , mainly Chinese, of all ages. The frocks were nothing to gush over, but the footwork impressed. One couple looked to be well into their seventies, he with grey crew-cut, she with an elegant chignon. They danced as though they had been dancing together for decades, but still seemed to revel in the turning and touching of each other’s body. Couples continued to arrive, until the enthusiastic manger needed to ask if they had bookings. Then came a great entrance. A diminutive, elegant seventy-something woman oozing style and panache, accompanied by a taller aka and handsome young man, grandson or gigolo? Maybe a professional in the past, she had the flourishes that the others didn’t want. She seemed to be there as much to be seen as for enjoyment.
“Any step you like as long as it’s a waltz” I blithely commented. But then the mood changed. The DJ spoke, and as some of the older couples left, younger ones took their place came to the floor and the rock and roll began. Twists and turns, fast and slow. Some other older people gave the younger ones something to aspire to. Why didn’t I listen to my mother when she wanted me to take dancing lessons says a teenager?
By now my eyelids were drooping, the happy hour drinks had kicked in and it was time to let someone else have our table as we made our way to bed.
One of the fabulous things about travel is coming upon the unexpected. Eating cheeseburgers and watching ballroom dancing in Little India was certainly not what I’d have anticipated for the first night of our adventure.