|Our Townsville ex-soldier mate and an artificial , man-made waterfall behind the Hilton Hotel.|
|Our unkempt hotel room...and THAT white dress...also shot of the Writers' Bar while I was having a shot!|
|Glass Hotel aka Holiday Inn|
|Lift in Lobby of Glass Hotel|
|Sentosa as at 1942...depicted at base of map in the middle of the photp|
|The final afternoon in the Writers' Bar...and the famous silver meat salver.|
|On the bus to Changi Airport...taking photos of photos with some co-travellers|
Having enjoyed a few late nights when the morning of our Tanglin Club appointment arrived, Marj and I dawdled. We decided a sleep-in for an extra hour or two would be necessary medicine to recharge our respective batteries. We’d been on the go non-stop since our arrival. The state of our room was proof positive of our hectic schedule; a frenetic schedule we’d bestowed upon ourselves, not one forced upon us by Herr Commandant!
Other than for showering; attending to our make-up and hair; dressing to suit the next assignment or engagement listed in our busy social calendars, and snatching a couple of hours sleep to top up our reserves, we spent little time in our room. The pattern was to remain in place for the duration of our Singapore visit. We had no time to stop; we were on a mission. Marj and I weren’t the tidiest of roomies, I must admit. With our busy itinerary who had time for housework? Our hotel room looked like a Chinese laundry on a Sunday morning! Clothes were draped about everywhere; on chairs; on shelves, even the floor wasn’t ignored!
Marj and I each had our own designated area for our cosmetics and other personal effects necessary for stepping out into the world; or readying the outside world for us. The specified areas would’ve outdone the dressing rooms of London’s West End production of “The Phantom of the Opera”!
Knowing we had a lunch date at the Tanglin Club around noon, we didn’t bother about breakfast that morning; instead, we opted for coffee in our room. Somehow we remembered how to boil water in an electric jug and open instant coffee sachets.
With the sacred bottle of Bundaberg rum securely gripped in Marj’s hand, we hailed a taxi outside of our hotel. Off we went along our own “Yellow Brick Road” for another adventure. We were both suitably attired to gain entry into the classy Tanglin Club. There was no fear we would disgrace our host, a man neither Marj nor I had met before.
At the club we were greeted by a handsome fellow with an unmistakable Aussie accent, so we knew we were in the right company.
First things first, however – we handed over our prized cargo…the bottle of Bundy! From that moment onwards, if it dropped to the floor and smashed it was the fault of our host, not ours. Once more Marj and I could breathe easily!
The Tanglin Club was everything I imagined it to be. Its staid, yet elegant interior oozed class of a bygone era. Its atmosphere was subdued, and within its walls one felt compelled to act accordingly. Marj and I were on our best behaviour; but not to the extent of cocking our pinkies when lifting our wine glasses or coffee cups! We’d not yet been inducted into the hallowed halls of nobility, and were never likely to be admitted in the near or far distance future.
In actual fact the habit of cocking one’s pinky originated in ancient Rome, not England. Those Poms will take credit for everything if given half a chance!
Don’t get your feathers ruffled…I’m just taking the Mickey for the fun of it…because I can – and because the Ashes are on here in Australia at the moment. The cricket war between Australia and England!
Lunch at the Tanglin Club was wonderful in service, quality of food and company. Our most pleasant, and grateful host, Michael, proved to be an intelligent, good-humoured luncheon companion. We plied him with questions about Singapore; of places we should visit and so on. Without hesitation, he willingly shared his informed knowledge with us. He confirmed everything we’d heard from others regarding the safety of food prepared for sale by the hordes of street vendors.
Throughout lunch, Michael kept his eye on the bottle of Bundy like it was a long-lost golden treasure discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Conversation flowed freely across the table like Bundaberg rum over a rock’s glass full of ice.
Our interlude came to an end. Farewells and words of gratitude were exchanged. Even though both Marj and I were wearing high heels, we decided to walk back to the Hilton on Orchard Road.
The distance between the Tanglin Club on Stevens Road and our destination was only a couple of kilometres or so. We weren’t in a hurry. A leisurely stroll seemed a good way to work off our mid-day meal and a chance to absorb some of the local landscape while we did so.
The idea was a good one, but we’d no sooner crossed the road in front of the club when down came the rain. We were caught, dressed in our best, in an early monsoonal tropical downpour, with no shelter within close proximity. Rarely a day goes by in Singapore without a afternoon downpour to ease the intense humidity, whether it’s the northeast monsoon season or not. The northeast monsoon season starts in December and ends in March. It was late November when we were in Singapore.
Marj and I exchanged looks. With a shrug of my shoulders, I laughingly said: “What the hell! We’re going to get wet either which way…so let’s just keep on walking. It doesn’t matter if we get soaked. Do you care? I don’t! Nobody knows us, anyway! If anyone thinks we’re a pair of crazy Aussies, they’re right! I’m not going to dispute them, are you?”
Marj returned my laughter and said: “No! I don’t care, either! Let’s keep going!”
So we did, giggling like a pair of school girls. We’d only walked a few yards when a taxi pulled up beside us.
“Hop in! Where are you headed?” Said the driver as he leaned across to open a back door of his cab, urging us at the same time to accept his offer; and “offer” it was we were to discover.
Rendered speechless for a couple of minutes, we couldn’t imagine an Aussie taxi driver doing such a gentlemanly act; no reflection on our Aussie cabbies, but in anyone’s book or country, the act we’d just become a part of was very uncommon to say the least!
Marj and I shook off the precipitation as best we could and told our rescuer of our destination. We were quite wet, but our friendly taxi driver insisted it didn’t matter to him. We noticed he’d tossed a couple of towels over the rear seat.
Again, Marj and I exchanged glances. Without further protest or ado we thanked the cabbie as we climbed aboard. No sooner had we settled in the back seat, the smiling driver handed us a towel each so we could wipe our faces and arms. At the same time, he introduced himself as “Peter”.
On the way to the Hilton Hotel the three of us chatted away like we were old friends from way back.
The previous year, Peter told us, he’d been presented with an award for being Singapore’s friendliest, most obliging taxi driver. His disclosure was no surprise to Marj and me. It was easy to see why he would receive such an accolade. Peter was a worthy recipient. He was a wonderful, unique individual. Peter showed us the certificate to verify his word. He carried it in the glove box of his cab, protected in a firm plastic folder. He was rightly very proud of his achievement; an award well-deserved.
The rain ceased as we reached our hotel. Singapore’s afternoon cloudbursts mostly were just that, cloudbursts. They never lasted for long. The sky had cleared and the humidity had dissipated.
Our gallant Peter dropped us off at our hotel’s entrance, but as we went to pay him, he refused to accept our money. He’d picked Marj and me up in the pouring rain out of the kindness of his heart, not for remuneration.
I asked for his business card if he had one. It was my intention to tell all and sundry about his hospitality. I explained to Peter that back in Australia I managed an island resort in tropical north Queensland; and guests who holidayed on the island came from all walks of life, from throughout the world. I assured him I’d spread the word of his generosity far and wide; and I did.
On handing me his card, a smiling Peter said: “Call me on Sunday if you’ve nothing planned, and I will take you both for a tour around Singapore.”
Did that man have no limit to his generosity?
As we said our final good-byes while expressing our gratitude, Peter remained stoic in his stubbornness regarding non-acceptance of payment for his thoughtfulness. I put paid to his protestations; before he could stop me, I placed a tip on the passenger seat of his vehicle and said; “That’s for you, from us…no further argument! Thank you so much, Peter.”
Marj and I stood on the footpath outside of our hotel and watched that wonderful man drive away. We didn’t take him up on his offer to give us a guided tour of Singapore, but I’ve have never forgotten Peter and his kind actions. He was one in a million, that is for sure.
As we watched the rear of our benefactor’s vehicle disappear out of sight along Orchard Road a hawker approached in the hope of selling us one of the myriad watches he was hawking; some of which were on a display board clasped in his sinewy brown hands; others were clipped to his jacket. After we politely declined his sales pitch he went merrily on his way to find his next prey. The hawkers were never intrusive. Once a maybe-customer showed no interest in purchasing the goods offered they weren’t persistent. As with everyone else we came across in Singapore, the hawkers were polite as well. It was like a “pay-it-forward”; everyone was polite to each, whether stranger or friend; hawker, cabbie, waiter or doorman.
The one and only time I came across anything the remotely untoward it was easily handled. Returning to our hotel one evening I sensed I was being followed. There were people milling around everywhere. I didn’t feel threatened, but I was on alert. My antenna was in excellent working order.
As I entered the hotel lobby one of the regular porters or doormen recognised me. He smiled in greeting, and in return I raised my eyebrows at him; cast my eyes to the side and made an almost indiscernible movement of my head that only he noticed. Immediately he understood my signals; no words were necessary. Without any fuss, bother or ado he ushered the culprit off the premises. No harm done. No disturbance caused. I’d kept walking, bringing no attention to myself or to the fellow being gently shown off the premises. The next time I saw the Hilton employee I thanked him very much for his subtle actions.
Thanks to Peter, the cabbie, Marj and I entered the hotel lobby not as dishevelled and bedraggled as we perhaps could have been without his consideration.
After a quick shower and change of attire the time was nearing for my daily assignation.
I’d gotten into the habit every time I entered the Writers’ Bar of greeting Ho with a cheery, “Hi, Ho! Hi, Ho!” His face would light up like a Christmas tree and he’d giggle each time, obviously having been a fan of “Snow White” and her little helpers. He never took offense at my silliness, understanding it was done in good-humoured fondness. And I had become very fond of Ho the more he and I chatted across his bar.
I told him about our experience with Peter the taxi driver earlier that afternoon. Ho knew of Peter. He remarked his actions that day were characteristic of all the stories Ho had heard about Peter.
Speaking of dates, Marj had another dinner lined up with her Texan. I’d declined a second outing with the Arne, the Fin; not because I’d not enjoyed our dinner together at the Palm Court, I didn’t want our dining together to become expected or a habit. The only fling I was interesting in having, was having a fling with the wonders of Singapore.
A couple of days later I did meet again, unplanned, with Arne. Along with the young Dutchman, Hans, we shared a couple of drinks at Raffles. Coincidentally, we happened to be there at the same time. Marj joined in with us that afternoon, as well. She was off to dinner again with the “Lone Star Kid”. After Arne left us, Hans Marj and I wandered off into the Tiger Bar.
As described in a previous chapter Hans and I proceeded to convince Marj the bar girl was actually a bar man. Marj then went on her way and Hans his; and I returned to the Writers Bar where Din, Ho’s offsider joined me at the end of his shift. We sat and chatted at length. Din told me about the life he’d left behind in Sri Lanka; and he had many questions about life in Australia. The night was still young, so upon leaving Raffles I decided to take myself to dinner at the same restaurant in the Hilton where Marj and I had dined on our first night. I promised myself this time there would be no dancing on tables!
A little sheepishly I entered the restaurant only to be welcomed back with open arms. I apologised to the maitre d’ for perhaps Marj and I making a nuisances of ourselves during our earlier dining experience in his restaurant, and for my Ginger Rogers’ table gymnastics.
He immediately poo-hooed my apology and said that he wished more diners were like us; that he and the rest of the staff had thoroughly enjoyed the evening; and they had been very happy to see that we, too, were enjoying ourselves. Regardless, I assured him there would be no more dancing on tables by me; no repeat performances. I promised I’d behave myself and act accordingly. He laughed; said he was disappointed as he led me to my table.
At the next table sat two ladies from the US. We exchanged smiles. Soon we were chatting across our tables. They introduced themselves as Mel and Peggy, and invited me to join them at their table. It sounded like a good idea, so I acquiesced. Mel and Peggy, too, were on a similar trip to Marj and my own.
Shortly thereafter, two fellows who were part of the tour group Marj and I were supposed to be members of, but refused to partake in, sat at the table next to my two new acquaintances and me. The fellows recognised me, and immediately struck up a conversation; again from table to table. Soon, they, too, joined us. Seeing our group was multiplying by the minute the restaurant’s hospitable, obliging maitre d’ and one of his waiters pushed our tables together, which enabled us to dine in comfort…with elbow room!
What had started out as a quiet dinner for one had rapidly expanded into a party of five.
A very pleasant night ensued.
One of the chaps was an ex-soldier. He’d been based in Townsville during his service. After leaving the army he remained in the city and had been living there for a few years. With Townsville only a couple of hours south of Hinchinbrook Island he was familiar with the area. When he discovered I managed the resort on the island, his interest heightened. The two men also elaborated on the antics of Herr Commandant, making it obvious I wasn’t the only person who thought of her in that light! The two young men said I was lucky to have escaped her clutches.
“No, not lucky…smart!” I responded wryly.
Mel and Peggy, both from Washington State, were interesting, fun company. At times our wacky Aussie sense of humour and our weird turn of a phrase caused them bemusement, but they soon went with the flow, questioning without fear of embarrassment anything they didn’t understand. The wine also flowed, assisting greatly in intercontinental comprehension. Much laughter rang out around our dinner table that evening.
However, I declined an offer for an encore performance; there was no dancing on tables that evening. One table performance per country was my policy. My feet remained demurely on the floor.
Saturday was spent wandering the streets of Singapore, taking in all the sights we’d previously missed, and revisiting others worth revisiting. Marj and I entered almost every store we came upon; and there were many. Our wallets had an uncanny habit of opening often.
We paid a visit to the Glass Hotel (now the Holiday Inn) where, under Marj’s insistence (because she had already partaken in the adventure a few days previously) we rode the lift/elevator in the hotel’s atrium. That lift ride was certainly the ride of a lifetime without having to visit any fun-adventure parks.
When descending in the Glass Hotel’s lift, one’s stomach was left at the top floor while the body, minus the stomach, sped southward at a rapid rate of knots. I held my breath believing we were going to go crashing through the lobby floor, down into the nether regions of the hotel and beyond. There was no way possible in the world that the lift would stop in time, I believed. But, it came to an abrupt, but extremely soft, cushioned landing; and I gulped!
Marj decided she would come with me to Raffles at 4 pm. After leaving Raffles we were at a loss what to do with the rest of the evening so we decided we’d return to the Hilton to ponder our next attack. Returning to the Hilton from our Raffles sojourn proved to be a good idea. Immediately Marj and I were drawn to the Lobby Bar. It appeared everyone else had been similarly seduced. The bar was packed to the hilt. Amongst the crowd were some familiar faces. Most of the tour group members were there, as well as Mel and Peggy. We all joined forces. A Filipino rock band consisting of four musicians and a lead singer was the evening’s entertainment. Their music was upbeat and contagious; the lively band members had mischief sparkling in their eyes. And there we remained for the rest of the night. What a night it was! I think everyone had received a memo it was the night to let hair their hair down and one where kicking up of heels was a must. Everyone obeyed the command.
Sunday was Sentosa Day. A trip to Sentosa Island was a must. In the back regions of my mind and in the deep reaches of my heart I was beginning to miss my own island. Sneaky little tinglings of homesickness were poking their noses in. Sentosa Island was nothing like my island home though. Hinchinbrook Island was, and still is, thankfully, very underdeveloped. Similar couldn't be said about Sentosa...but that was okay with me.
Up bright and early, ready to go, Marj and I grazed on the hotel’s elaborate buffet breakfast before we headed off to join other Sunday trippers to Sentosa Island. We climbed aboard the monorail. I’m not sure if the monorail is still in operation. If it is, it has no doubt been upgraded and modernised greatly since 1986. This is not to say it wasn’t modern when we travelled in it
What amazed Marj and I was the way the day-trippers were dressed. Here in Australia when we Aussie go on a leisurely outing such as the one Marj and I were on that Sunday, we dress very casually. Not the Singaporeans! Those around us on the monorail were dressed as if they were off to spend their day in an executive office. Men were clothed in suits and ties; or dress shirts and ties; and the women matched their standard of attire. It was all very foreign to Marj and me.
Once we disembarked, Marj and I found our way to the museum. We’d been told about the Rock Museum and had become intrigued, wondering how interesting, in fact, rocks could be to play a major role in a museum. The display of myriad rocks rocked us. Within seconds we were mesmerized. Speechless, we wandered slowly down the aisle between the displays reading and learning on the way. I can’t remember how long we spent in there browsing, but it was quite a while.
Back out in the sunshine we ventured forth to Fort Siloso which is situation on the north-western tip of the island.
Before Sentosa was so named, and before it became a leisure island, it was called Pulau Blakang Mati. There were three forts on the island. The island was used by the British as a defense fortress. The only fortress that has been preserved is Fort Siloso. It has one of the largest collections of artillery in Asia from the Second World War. The displays are reminders, actually, of the many stuff-ups made by the British, who incorrectly believed the Japanese would land their forces on the north-eastern side of Singapore. An Australian night patrol leading up the Japanese attack discovered assault boats and a concentration of troops. The Aussies requested the immediate shelling of those positions, but Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and the rest of his senior commanders ignored the request, showing a disgraceful display of poor leadership and decision-making. The rest is history. Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942.
During the Second World War the British set up artillery guns in Fort Siloso, facing south, seaward, falsely expecting that an assault would come from that direction. When the Allied Forces surrendered in February, 1942, Sentosa Island, or Pulau Blakang Mati as it was named at that time became a prisoner of war camp. It housed Australian and British prisoners of war.
A sombre cloud descended upon us as we strolled about Fort Siloso. In reverence to the thousands who lost their lives there; and in honour of those who miraculously survived the horrors inflicted upon them, Marj and I spoke little; when we did it was in hushed tones.
The melancholy mood engulfing us only lifted when we returned to Singapore. Until then, we respected each other’s studied reverie. The atrocities of war; no matter which war, linger long; and still man never learns.
A visit to Raffles was definitely on the agenda to help blow the blues away.
Our days were running out; our time in Singapore was drawing to a close.
My visits to Raffles, to the Writers’ Bar and my chats with my friend, Ho were coming to an end.
Marj and I never made it to Kuala Lumpur, but it had never been on our agenda, anyway. I had no burning desire to go there. We were too busy making the Guinness Book of Records on numbers of bars and restaurants visited in one week by two intrepid Aussie carefree women to have time for tripping around to other countries. And furthermore, Malayasia had thumbed its nose at Singapore in 1965, so I thought I’d return the favour on Singapore’s behalf.
The last couple of days were spent doing what came naturally; shopping, dining and checking out the local cocktail bars.
To my surprise, a dinner invitation extended by Arne, the Finnish marine architect awaited me on my return to my hotel one day towards the end of our stay. I hadn’t expected to hear from him again. I phoned him at his hotel, whereupo he told me he was returning to Finland the following day. Arne asked if I had a particular place in mind I’d like to be taken. I’m sure it comes as no surprise I chose Raffles. I felt comfortable there. By that stage of my Singapore visit, I was a familiar presence, always recognised and greeted warmly by the staff. Raffles had become my “local”.
What better local pub hang-out to have than Raffles Hotel?
Raffles, with its timeless elegance and charm, is more than just a hotel. Raffles is unique. Nostalgia oozes from its walls and along its halls. Raffles is alive with the spirits of past guests. John Lennon probably still hangs out there, sipping Singapore Slings with Marlon Brando and Princess Grace aka Grace Kelly; while Elizabeth Taylor shares a nearby table with Mike Todd, Orson Welles and William Holden listening to Xaviar Cugat and his Orchestra playing. Alfred Hitchcock lurks in the background, peeping through the tropical palms.
I don’t mind ghosts. I’m very fond of some spirits.
While I was dining with the Fin in the Elizabethan Room, Marj was out dining with her friend from Texas, probably at the Glass Hotel. Again, like two teenagers, back in our hotel room at night’s end Marj and I compared stories from our respective “dates”; our regular round-up of the days events before finally sleep took control.
The next night, our last in Singapore, an outing had been arranged between our American counterparts, Mel and Peggy, the two Texans, Marj and me.
On our final day in Singapore Marj and I decided we’d while away the hours meandering, doing what we each wanted to do at our own pace. She went her way and I, mine. We agreed to meet up, as usual, at the Writers’ Bar. There was no way in the world I wasn’t going to pay one last visit before leaving Singapore. I needed/wanted to say good-bye to Ho, and to Din; but to Ho, in particular. I planned to arrive at the bar earlier than my normal 4 pm.
We were being transported from the Hilton to Changi Airport by bus. The bus was scheduled for a 6 pm pick-up. There was never any difficulty in hailing cabs in Singapore, so I knew there would time enough for me to do what I needed to do. Marj and I checked out of our hotel around mid-day. The staff generously offered to store our luggage until our departure time.
When I walked into the Writers’ Bar, Ho, knowing it was my last visit, stepped out from behind the bar. I was a little taken aback when he extended his arms and pulled me in towards him. There I was, standing in the middle of the Writers’ Bar being hugged by Ho. Naturally, I reciprocated his unexpected gesture of warmth.
He was full of surprises.
Ho looked at me and said: “I am going to miss you, Lee. You’ve become part of our family…our Raffles’ family. You are one of us!”
I could feel my eyes grow misty when Ho spoke those words. As I write this, I find my eyes becoming misty once more from the memory of that most special moment
Earlier in this chapter I touched briefly on the 1942 Japanese invasion of Singapore due to the disastrous sequence of events and official bungling
After the surrender by the British, the Japanese took over Raffles as their headquarters.
On 13th February, 1942 the Governor, Sir Shenton Thomas ordered the destruction of all stocks of alcohol on the island. The manager of Raffles poured most of the hotel’s cellar down the drain. When the Japanese took over the hotel two days later all that remained was the aroma. Europeans had sought sanctuary in the hotel. When the Japanese arrived they belittled the Governor in front of them by slapping him in the face and screaming at him. Those taking refuge were then marched to Changi where they spent the next three and a half years in brutal internment.
Somehow the staff of Raffles stole a brief moment in time to bury the magnificent silver meat trolley with its ornate cloche. They buried it and other treasures under the turf in the Palm Court before the Japanese commandeered Raffles Hotel for the use of high ranking Japanese officers. The Japanese never discovered those treasures.
Ho had told me the story of the meat tray.
At the end of the Second World War, once the Japanese had surrendered, the brave, dedicated Raffles’ staff dug up the silver beef tray and the other treasures. Because it had been buried for so long, parts of the tray needed soldering; therefore it could never again be used for the purpose of serving meat; but it remains to this day, proudly on display as a reminder of both good times and bad, in the Writers’ Bar.
After the sorrow, despair and atrocities of Singapore’s occupation, Raffles once again shone brightly, giving hope to all who survived those terrible years
I asked Ho if he would do me a favour by taking a photograph of me beside the silver salver. He was happy to oblige. Marj arrived as this was taking place. We had time to share a final drink at the Writers’ Bar, served by Ho, before we had to return to the Hilton to board the bus to Changi Airport.
As a physical memento of my visits to Raffles I’d purchased, earlier in the afternoon, at the hotel’s reception area, a hard-cover book. The book had been written and published in celebration of the “Year of the Tiger”.
1986 marked the hundred years’ celebration of the arrival in town of Armenian Martin Sarkies. He was there to meet up with his brother, Tigran, who was already in residence.
After doing a bit of touring around (not unlike Marj and me 100 years later) they came upon the Raffles Institution in Beach Road. The institution had been founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, and named after him, obviously. Being partial to hotels, the three Sarkies brothers – Martin, Tigran and Ariet decided to join forces; and in a short form…the rest is history; except to say that in 1886 the Sarkies’ trio acquired the Raffles Institution and the adjacent Raffles Girls’ boarding school; from that date forward history was being made.
Raffles Hotel was born.
Upon my asking, Din, the Sri Lankan barman, and Ho signed my copy of the book as a parting gesture.
Sadly, the time had come for Ho, Din and I to say our good-byes. It was a bittersweet moment.
Both men even walked to the door with Marj and me; and then the doorman as pictured in an earlier chapter took over. Hailing a cab, he, too, bid us a fond farewell.
I’ve often pondered how many other guests would have been treated as well as I was by those wonderful people I’d gotten to know so well at Raffles.
And there we were, finally, on the bus heading for Changi, and then home to Australia.
En route to the airport Marj and I sat next to some of the tour group members we’d gotten to know; the same fellows we’d spent the Saturday night with in Hilton’s Lobby Bar enjoying the Filipino rock band. The group was high-spirited as they told us of all the places they’d visited while in the controlling clutches of Herr Commandant. Their happy mood was contagious. I think perhaps they were pleased, and relieved, to be free of their leader! Marj and I told them of all the bars and restaurants we’d visited.
Deciding we had to have something to show for our week in Singapore other than bar tales, I took photographs of the photos taken by the tour group fellows of their various visits to the zoo and other likely places.
By the time we reached the airport we were exhausted from our gales of laughter.
The flight home to Oz was spent in reflection of a wondrous week; even if we didn’t visit the zoo!
Did I, in fact, visit Singapore; or was it Raffles? Singapore just happened to be there!