It has been a while (3 weeks) since I’ve done some work on my blog. In fact, on the 9th of September, I met a cyclist called David and since then, I’ve been living with him at his house. I arrived in Singapore a bit more than a week ago now and the beach has been my good spot since few nights. During daytime, the first mission is to get to a library to charge my mobile and make some research online (I’m not cycling long enough to fully charge my mobile on my bike).
This morning, as I was on my way towards the city center, I decided to have a rest and sat down on a bench to write my blog. I’m sitting just front of those two big domes that stand on the other side of the river. Maybe 30 minutes later I met Michael, a local. He was cycling with a friend, I guess training. He and his friend came to me with some questions and explained that he would love to travel like me one day. We exchanged our contact and I might see him later next week to continue this conversation. I came back on writing my blog and less than 10 minutes later, another cyclist came to me. Actually he passed front of me first and then came back. This is David!
The first things he told me was: “Hey I’m david, where are you from? Where do you stay? How long have you been here?” After I answered him, he continued: “When I saw you, I thought you would be an interesting guy. You travel the world like I did. I come from America but I hated it. I left when I was 21. I lived in London, Sydney, Tokyo and now Singapore since 20 years. I like what you are doing! I’m trying to get fit again, fit like you (Am I?). I used to do a lot of sport before my accident. I did 120 marathon, 35 Triathlon (I don’t remember the exact numbers but it was something like this, quite impressive). I was getting ready for the Ironman race but I broke my leg before… A drunk driver hit me during I was running! Ass****. The bone under my knee was sticking out, I had to be operated! Since then, I’m not working until the end of this year. I’m cycling 5 days a week between 70 and 100km a day. I will get there.”
“I have a 8 million dollar house around the city center and I live by myself. My wife left me. This kills me! Listen, if you want, you can stay to my place tonight, you will have a room for yourself. I have an employee, her name is Vic. She is from the Philippines and she helped me a lot when my leg was casted. She is a nice person. You will meet her. I give you my number. Call me if you want to come or, be there at 2pm”.
Wow, wow, wow! This is a lot of informations at the same time! To resume, I’ll be there on time :-) “Thanks David for your invitation!”. “No problem, see you later”.
I guess, this is going to be an experience like I never had before. I’ll go to the library first to be sure I have enough battery in my phone to use the GPS. Then I will be there on time :-)
It’s now 2pm and I’m on the front of David’s house. I’m in a small and quiet street with a row of houses on one side facing another row of buildings with flats. Each of those house has the same design. Actually they are built in pairs: the left side is the mirror of the right side. It’s like a symmetrical house split in two. I can hear some activities inside his house. I sent a message to David and few minutes later, I met him again. David presents me Vic (for Marivic) his Helper. He showed me the room where I’m gonna stay tonight. It’s on the second floor. There is a bathroom, a double bed, aircon, TV (that I won’t use for sure). At the same floor, there is another bedroom. David and Vic sleep on the first floor. She has her room. There is another room for the kids, David’s office and his bedroom. The living room and the kitchen are situated at the ground floor. When all my stuff (two bags :-) was up there I came down stairs and had a chat with David.
David explained that today he wants a simple life and this might be why his wife wants to divorce. David continues: “I’m not coming from money Damien. I started working when I was 7 in America. I used to shine 200 pair of show per day for nothing. Years later, I studied business and became a trader. I left America when I was 21. I did not like it there, the people, the mentality. I moved first to London. I used to make a lots of money. I used to have cars, a yacht, girls… But it does not make you more happy. I don’t have any car now. My wife wanted me to buy a car but we don’t need any here right? I want to live a simple life now. You see me, I like doing sport, I cycle 100km every day, I go to the gym 2 or 3 hours per day, I swim at the American Club. We will go there later, I’ll show you. I have a scooter here but I don’t use it. I prefer my bike.
My wife, in court said I was lazy. She said, I watch TV all day long. She said I was sleeping with the maid. She said I aggressed her and the kids. She said I was drinking, I was violent. She has records of me! She took so much money from me. We had a joined bank account and I was trusting her. During the last four years, she withdraw 1000$ per week from our bank account but I did not see, I did not checked, I trusted her. She planned everything! This happened a year and a half ago. She left to Brazil to see her family and then told me she wanted to divorced. She spent $400.000 on court against me. She wants to take my money and my kids away to Brazil. This kills me”.
“When we were together, I was doing everything : I was cleaning, I was washing, I bought every single thing in this house because she did not want to spend a cent of her money. She his rich. I flew on second class and she flew on business class. She has millions but she keeps it for when she will be retired. Now she is using my money to go to court against me and take all I have. I’m going bankrupt Damien. I will have to leave this house to find something smaller. I’ve worked hard all my life and now someone steal from me. I know trader is not the most cleanest job. Maybe this is why it’s happening to me.”
David seems to be in a bad situation today. What can I say… I’m not really used to talking about numbers with more than 3 zeros… Obviously, having money doesn’t seems to get rid of all the problems. David says it himself: “it does not make you more happy”. I think many people would love to have the opportunity to say that. This is certainly true. David talks about “simple life” all the time and I’m curious to see how far he will go towards that simplicity. This must be a challenge to live simply after you know you could afford everything you wanted.
I think “Life” is my favourite subject after “the crisis” and “the end of the world we know today”. There is so much questions about this. I keep saying that life is too easy today. People get bored very quickly. We have more than everything we need and we always want even more. It reminds me when I was going to “le fise” (Festival International of Sport Extrem). This is an event that comes to Montpellier each year and I remember that the first year when I was there, seeing a guy doing a backflip on BMX was very impressive. But after 4 years, this stunt was something very common across the riders. We were waiting for more impressive and certainly more dangerous for the riders. I guess this is a natural need but is it good?
Let’s come back to that day and talk about the first picture of this post. Around 4pm, I followed David as we picked up his kids at school. Nearly all the women there were Philippines helpers waiting for the kids they are taking care of. I think David was one of the only real parent to be there. Good on him :-) There is something wrong about this. Rich family doesn’t seem to be as closed as “poor” family. In one way, those “poor” families have a much richer life. The kids grow up mainly with the helper because the parents are too busy to make millions at work. I’m sure it’s not the case for everyone but today, at this school, this is the feeling I have.
David is very talkative and very friendly. Every time he meets someone he knows he present me: “Hi, this is Damien a friend of mine. He his cycling around the world on his bicycle. He is very good at ping pong. He has a racket which cost 300$. He will show you some pictures of his travel later”. I guess David is someone positive :-)
After school we went straight away to the American Club. I’ve never been in a place like this and I will never be able to pay for it once in my life for sure. To be a member, you must pay 50.000$ per year! Gloups! There is one excessive “zero” for me here. The entrance is like a hotel with a security guy at the front. Two receptionists are waiting to help any guest. There is three pubs and restaurants, a swimming pool, a kids zone with bowling, a ping-pong table, a movie and video games room. Last time, I was looking to play ping-pong and could not. Today there is table ready for me and lots of kids (and even the staff) who wants to play against me. When I was doing the visit with David around, he kept presented me to everyone: “Hey, how are you?, this is Damien a friend of mine. He his cycling around the world on his bicycle. He is a ping pong world champion (I did not know that!). His racket costs 600$ (I’m richer than before :-). He will show you some pictures of his travel later”. I guess David is someone VERY positive :-)
I played maybe 2 hours of ping-pong against 10 different person. Every one boasted to be better than the previous player but I was still winning hahaa. I did not forget my 9 months training in Sydney :-) Actually the most impressive player was a little indian girl, maybe 7 years old. She came in and said “I’m really good at this game” can I play?. First, She walked around and grabbed a large stool that she put front of the table. Someone gave her a racket and she stood on the object she previously and carefully positioned. And then she starts playing. She rarely miss a ball! She is actually playing slowly but very steady. This is the best training to progress quickly. Good on her :-)
Later on, I had a swim with David. He explained to me that he was waiting for a lady to finish her swim. “She is swimming everyday for an hour. Everyday! But if you touch her by mistake, with your feet, your arms or your hand, she get mad at you. So I prefer to avoid her and wait until she leaves”. In fact there is only one line for “lap swimmers”. The others are for the students, the rest of the area is for the kids and in that single line a Dragon is swimming mouhahaah. Be careful!
Later around 7pm we came back home. David and Vic cooked a nice dinner and then we watched a movie, a French movie :-) David, has dozen of movies and most of them are american movies… There is something I don’t get here… How come hating America like he does, David has so many movies from this country. Well this is a mystery though.
Well, this morning, I wasn’t expecting anything special. I would have spend my day inside the library I guess and then cycle back to the beach. Actually, I was going to change my spot this night because I’m not allowed to sleep more than four days in a row on the same spot. Last night, I moved somewhere else and the police came. I did not see them coming until I had the light in my eyes. And I though “shit!” But their first question was:
- “How are you?” (I was surprised by this question).
- “I’m ok, thanks…” (what’s going to happen?).
- The policeman went on: “How long have you been here?”
- “I’ve been here one hour.”
- “are you going to have a rest here?”
- “yes” (maybe I should say no, then I’m going back to my 5 star hotel but I love my hammock so much. No okay…)
- “Ok, be careful, have a good rest”.
- “thank you, I will”.
Wow! The police seems to be very nice here as well. Maybe I should create a special page and give a mark for the police regard the country. New-Zealand: 6, Australia: 5, France: 3, Indonesia: 10!, Malaysia (pending), Singapore: 10! Done!
Finally all my tiny expectations went wrong. I’m sleeping in a comfy bed in a 8 million dollars house, haha :-) I will take some pictures later because this is too much writing for today ;-) See ya!