Lessons Learned in Asia - Wednesday, 09 May 2007
It is now getting unbelievably close (and dare I admit this and disclose my true age...) to half a century that I have travelled in/to Asia and close to a quarter of a century of residing therein. One might think, as I did, that I would have learned my lessons over the years and that I would be fairly knowledgeable of Asian ways. However, in the past several weeks, I have learned that old lessons are sometimes forgotten and there is a lot more lessons to be learned. Some of these may seem a bit random but if you bear with me, you will see where I am headed...
Lesson #1 - learned as a young boy, when laying on the floor watching TV in the living room, do not lay too close to the sofa around 6pm.
Lesson #2 - learned as a young boy, my father came home from work (see time in Lesson #1), kicked off his shoes, sat on the couch and took control of the TV.
Lesson #3 - learned as a young boy, the alpha male controls the TV remote (back then, referred to as the clicker). This is a life lesson, really not germane to this message, but something that is undoubtedly understood by women, beta & younger males & children the world over and is also a lesson young people need to learn.
Lesson #4 - learned as a young boy, my father's feet smelled absolutely terrible after a long day at work (thus Lesson #1 was very important to remember).
Lesson #5 - learned over the years, crack the window slightly when you enter many taxis in S.E. Asia as they often smell exactly like my father's feet (see Lesson #4).
Lesson #6 - learned several weeks ago, when un-bagging groceries at home, if you think you bought something at the store, but don't find it in the bags, do not assume you forgot to actually put it in the cart or the clerk neglected to bag it.
Lesson #7 - learned several weeks ago, don't be lazy, take the elevator down 17 floors, walk back over to the parking garage and check to see if the item mentioned in Lesson #6 might have fallen out of the bag and is actually still in the car.
Lesson #8 - learned several weeks ago, when leaving the country for a four week trip, refer to Lesson #7.
Lesson #9 - learned a few weeks ago, when returning from a trip as described in Lesson #8 do not wait another week to check on your car especially if you did not heed Lesson #7.
Lesson #10 - learned a couple weeks ago, a rock melon (also referred to as a cantaloupe) can completely disintegrate and be reduced to seeds, white fungus growing on the leather-like remaining rind and a home for fruit flies on the front passenger seat of a car when the car is parked unattended in the tropics for the time period discussed in Lessons #7 & 8.
Lesson #11 - learned a couple weeks ago, the juices from a rotting rock melon drip down the back of the passenger seat into and stain carpets & the underlying pads, and actually eats through the leather of the seat outlined in Lesson #10.
Lesson #12 - learned over the past couple weeks, the item referred to in Lesson #11 smells almost, but not quite as bad, as my father's feet (see Lesson #4)! And, all the carpet and leather cleaners in the world can't reverse any of the problems caused under the circumstances discussed in Lesson #11.
Lesson #13 - learned this weekend, from a trusted Asian friend, an old S.E. Asian trick is to put a bundle of pandan leaves (long palm like leaf sold in local stores and used almost like tin foil when cooking) under the seat described in Lesson #10 to absorb odours and leave the car smelling fresh.
Lesson #14 - learned on Monday night, do not blindly follow the advice of those mentioned in #13 without asking some clarifying questions.
Lesson #15 - learned on Monday night, after sitting in the sun all day, a car with pandan bundles under the seat (see Lesson #13) smells just like a smelly taxi!
Lesson #16 - learned in life, I really really hate the smell of pandan leaves left in a car (see Lessons #5 & 15).
Lesson #17 - learned a couple weeks ago, I prefer the smell of rotted rock melon to pandan leaves and my father's feet (see Lessons #4 & 13).
Lesson #18 - learned today, a replacement leather seat and rear carpet for a 7-series BMW cost $1,250 in Singapore (see Lesson #11) I suggest you learn at least Lessons #6, 7, 8 & 9, that way you won't have to learn Lesson #18!
Remember, you are never too old to learn...