On my flight from Manila to Singapore (there’s no direct flight from Manila to Maldives so I had to stop somewhere and I chose Singapore), I sat on an aisle seat, next to me was an elderly gentleman and next to him – on the window seat – was a young boy, probably his grandson.
During meal time, the flight stewardess asked for our preferred drink. I ordered a glass of cola, the elderly gentleman ordered Singapore Sling.
For some odd reasons, I suddenly remembered one of my previous flights from Dubai to Manila. I was seating on an aisle seat (I love aisle seats and I always request for it), next to me was an empty middle seat and a Filipina lady was on the window seat. She had an ash blonde hair and freshly manicured nails. She wore a white polo shirt, skinny jeans and white sneakers – all branded. She carried a designer bag.
A direct flight from Dubai to Manila would take about 7.5 hours and on long haul flights like these, there will be several snacks and meals served. Snacks then lunch or dinner, then breakfast or midnight snack then some refreshments, depending on the time of the flight.
That flight I was in departed from Dubai at 9am and the snacks trolley came more or less 30 mins after the take off. We ordered drinks. I asked for an apple juice and the ash blonde lady asked for white wine.
The ash blonde lady had a British accent. A weird one though. You’ll know the real British accent if you’ve heard a lot of Brits enough. Just like you’ll know if a designer bag is original or not if you’ve seen enough.
I’ve had a lot of European bosses and colleagues and whenever they ask if I drink wine, I’d say no. And if they ask why, I have a lot of reasons.
I was born and raised in a place where wine is not as popular as beer and gin, and was not consumed as regularly as it is in Europe where wines are served at home on almost every meal. And the fact that Philippines is a tropical country, it obviously does not produce wine (lambanog is an exception, I’m talking about wine made from grapes). Hence, wine would only be imported and of course expensive.
When I was still working in the F&B (Food and Beverage) Department, I had a lot of wine training (and tasting of course, ha ha) – types of wine, how to serve it, how to know the age and origin, its history, etc.,
Wine and everything about it is an art, a delicate one and it takes time, effort and dedication to be an expert on this matter.
And I love this art. However, I surrendered dreaming of becoming a wine connoisseur a long time ago. My interest on wine was there, but it wasn’t enough. I’ve read and researched a lot but still, it wasn’t enough. The thing is, I can’t figure out the difference on the taste. I can’t figure out which one is crisp or tangy or fruity or sweet. I can only say whether I liked the taste or not. That’s about it.
Since for me, wine drinking is an art, I don’t drink wine just for the sake of drinking it. Call me weird but, for me, drinking wine won’t be enjoyable if you don’t understand even the basic 3S – Sip, Swirl and Swallow.
I always find Filipino wine drinkers a bit odd. Maybe because I’m not used to seeing one. So I found this ash blonde lady really odd, specially that she ordered white wine at just half past nine in the morning.
Don’t think that I am too judgmental or that I always put my nose on other people’s business. I just couldn’t help but observe people and ponder about their actions.
So after thinking about why the ash blonde lady drinks white wine early in the morning and after not finding any answer to my question, I got tired and fell asleep.
I was awakened by a gentle shake on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and saw the ash blond lady smiling and apologizing for waking me up but she wants to go to the lavatory and she needs to pass through. I gave way and waited for her to come back as I don’t want to sleep only to be awakened again when she comes back.
She came back after a few minutes and as I was about to close my eyes, she asked me if she could borrow a pen as she needs to fill up the arrival card. I lent her my pen and stared at blankness.
She didn’t have pen inside her designer bag and I wasn’t able to sleep anymore till the plane landed in Manila.