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Germs, Afghan Mountains and Swiss Wine

There's usually someone making free with transmittable germs on any long haul flight. Five days - perhaps a week - later, one finds oneself cursing that individual as first one notices the dryness at the back of one's throat and nose, then deals with ensuing cough and persistent nasal drip. Flying from Heathrow to Changi in Singapore on Wednesday night I was that person and, by rights, should shortly be feeling the malevolent thoughts of 300 sickening strangers. The cold lingers, although I am managing to suppress it somewhat with Berocca.

The flight itself was uneventful, although I experienced two extraordinary views whilst staring through the galley window. Firstly, Baku in the darkness, a flood of bright lights that could have been metres under the wingtip. I noticed a mass of brilliant white, like a football stadium primed for a night game and a few miles further on, three huge orange orbs. I watched until they disappeared from view, only knowing their origin because a kindly member of staff went to check on our location.

Then, in the clearest, bright air of morning, the rumpled mountains of Afghanistan, spread as far as the eye could see, small villages clearly visible as we passed high above, the intricacy of the surrounding landscape - all irregular folds and knife-edged ridges - impossibly complex i.e. a great spot for a prolonged game of hide-and-seek.

Singapore is humid. The forecast storms have been either absent or have afflicted the city state during my hours of sleep.

After my first appointment yesterday morning (in Duxton Hill which is charming and which, I was later reliably informed, used to be one of the red lights districts), I decided to walk to my next meeting in Eu Tong Sen Street: big mistake. The germ I am suffering, my tie and the clinging heat all contrived to render me damp in the extreme and I arrived with my shirt sticking to me unpleasantly.

Thus far I have enjoyed a fine lunch at that wine lovers' haunt, Mag's Kitchen on Circular Road, eating the finest piece of fish to have passed my lips in many months (a grilled fillet of snapper) and drinking two delicious half bottles of Swiss wine made from that arcane variety Petite Arvine.

And last evening I dined extremely well at Moomba, the Australian restaurant a couple of hundred yards up Circular Road from Mag's, just before it turns left and heads back towards Boat Quay. We drank 2007 Meursault Tillets from Olivier Leflaive and I ate a fine piece of Kurobuta pork, then Aussie Shiraz with well kept cheese (and I wondered whether we hadn't consumed them the wrong way 'round, dry white so often being the best accompaniment to cheese).

Lots more meetings before I head up to Hong Kong next Thursday; more meetings and more meals. I must teach myself to digest faster!
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