Chapter 7: Cruising
Or at least, I *tried* to get onto that most famous of roads in Singapore; well known for being THE shopping and fashion district on our little island republic, with Armani, Gucci, Chanel, et al all having a presence here.
It came back to me that this was a Friday evening, a time when this thoroughfare was almost always packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic as almost like the whole of Singapore just HAD to descend on this place to do get their shopping and eating fixes.
The sky was also darkening and a few drops of rain spattered on my windscreen.
I surveyed the situation ahead of me as I doggedly (pun intended!) inched my way out, indicator light blinking and me waving and smiling apologetically at the irate drivers who were forced to give way or risk getting their precious cars bumped into, one of which happened to be a white Lamborghini, whose driver raised his left hand at me angrily. I heard Jay whistle admiringly, but whether it was for the Lambo or my driving skills, I could not be certain.
As I slowly but surely filtered my way across the six lanes of the packed carriageway, Jay remarked casually:
"You're good at this."
Having reached the lane I wanted, I turned my head slightly towards him and smirked:
"You sound impressed."
He laughed out loud and replied:
"Well, I have not had many chances to be driven by a lady before, and definitely not whilst I'm in Singapore."
I was about to give a smart rejoinder to that when a loud clap of thunder sounded and before you could say Jack Robinson, the heavens opened in the sudden and torrential way which only a tropical downpour can, and I had to turn on the windscreen wipers full blast as the visibility rapidly diminished. The strains of Ju Hua Tai faded into the background of the raindrops pattering against the roof and windows of my car. This was going to require full concentration, especially in a traffic jam, but was proving to be difficult as my mind was whirring about what I was going to do with my precious passenger.
Jay turned around to look but all he could see was the foggy back windscreen, with the wiper providing a clearer glimpse every once in a while. As the rain was extremely heavy, it was not easy to make out the cars behind and after a while, he gave up and instead peered out of the side window curiously, humming softly along with Ju Hua Tai.
The traffic was still moving along at a slow pace and I felt sufficiently comfortable to ask my burning question:
"So what are you doing in Singapore, anyway? And where are the rest of your friends?"
He glanced at me, thought for a few seconds and started on his explanation:
"We arrived just this afternoon and I'm only here with Darren. He has been here many times and we came to scout for some nice locations for a new MV. This may sound silly but I also felt like I needed to travel on my own, for a change without my whole entourage following me as they have been doing all these years.
I like Singapore as it's a relatively safe city, people don't usually mob me here and there aren't any papparazzi, unlike in Taiwan. But I guess I was wrong about that last point.
We were walking around the shopping centre when those two idiots recognised me and I made a run for it and somehow ended up in the carpark, where your car was."
"Don't you have a mobile phone? You'd better give Darren a call. I'm sure he's going crazy wondering where you are.", I reminded him.
Jay gave a rueful smile and pulled a phone out of his jeans pocket; it was an iPhone 4. He looked at it and shook his head.
"Battery's dead. I forgot to charge it before I left Taipei."
" You can charge it here. That's what I usually do," I replied as I nodded towards the white cable which was connected to the car charger,
He wasted no time in connecting up his phone which beeped happily as it started powering back up.
"Would you happen to know Darren's mobile number?", I asked him, without too much hope as hardly anyone remembers phone numbers nowadays, what with Speed Dial and phone memory.
"Of course not!", he laughed.
"Don't worry, I'll check for his number once the phone has charged up a little more and we can maybe use your phone?", he said as he looked at me beseechingly, with a lift of his right brow and the right corner of his lips.
Well..just who was I to say no??
The rain had lessened somewhat by now and consequently the music in the car became more audible again. It was Nocturne as the CD changer had switched to November's Chopin after Still Fantasy ended with Ju Hua Tai.
With the improved visibility, I could afford to ease up on my driving a little and could not help singing along with the chorus which Jay joined in with a knowing nod.
"This is one of my favourite songs of yours. But I like Ju Hua Tai even more.", I told him somewhat unnecessarily.
"Yes, I loved November's Chopin too. Filming the MVs in Venice was really special..."
At that point, his phone had evidently imbibed sufficient power as it rang shrilly with an old-fashioned "BRRRINGG! BRRRRINGG!", cutting Jay off in mid-sentence.
He picked it up, still connected to the charger and from the one-sided conversation which went on, I gathered that it was Darren on the other end, as Jay apologised for running off without warning.
"I'm with a friend and she's showing me around Singapore", he told Darren, smiling cheekily at me, which made my heart skip a beat and would have caused an accident if I was any less in control of my car.
I quickly focused on the car in front which was THE white Lambo from earlier on and made a quick decision as to what to do with Mr Chou.
Jay ended with a reassurance to Darren that he would call him again to inform him about his whereabouts and hung up, putting the phone back into the cupholder where it continued getting recharged.
I gave him a sidelong glance as he touched his chin with his right index finger, cocked his head at me and said with that cheeky grin again:
"Hmm....so my dear Doctor, what's your name and just where are you bringing me?"