A taste of Monaco, part I

by Dinzo Tabamo | May 30, 2012
As a race, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious and important races in the Formula 1 calendar. But I believe a lot of the prestige has to do with its history and glamour; parties, yachts, celebrities, helicopters—the Monaco lifestyle, so to speak. Some have said the street track itself is too narrow and dangerous, and that if not for the historical significance of the race it wouldn’t be on the calendar anymore. But Jeremy Clarkson argued that—after he drove a Citroen DS3 around the Circuit de Monaco guided by some guy named Bernie Ecclestone—even if you took the track layout and transplanted it elsewhere, it would be still be a challenging and exciting course even without the ‘lifestyle’. It would be a dream to drive around the small streets of Monaco someday, but this month I got to do the next best thing by experiencing a dose of the famed Monacan life. Last Friday night I attended an event hosted by Johnnie Walker to celebrate the Monaco Grand Prix that weekend. The famous scotch whisky brand has been a partner of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team since 2005. The event was called “Step Inside the Circuit” and it was held at the Opus club in Resorts World. It may sound like an odd concept to invite motoring media to a liquor event (although if you attend a motoring event, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a frat party with a car display thrown in), but Johnnie Walker’s tagline for this series of events is “Never drink and drive.” They promote safe driving along with their world-famous libation. “As an official corporate partner of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Team, Johnnie Walker strives to give fans unique opportunities to step inside the world of Formula 1 Champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton,” said Arif Esenc, Managing Director of Diageo Philippines. “Aside from insider scoop on all the exhilarating race action, we also give fans the chance to witness the stylish and sophisticated lifestyle of one of the most extraordinary sporting events of the world.” Cocktails made out of Johnnie Walker Black were presented, and I tried a fruity concoction that managing editor Stephanie Asi said tasted like lipstick. I liked it. I didn’t have any qualms about drinking because I didn’t bring a car. I rode with Stephanie on the way to the venue, and I planned on hitching or taking a cab after. It’s more relaxing when you don’t have to worry about your concentration being affected by alcohol. We do hope you readers out there share our considerations about drinking. It was fun at first, and the pole dancers that were brought out later in the night were certainly entertaining. I apologize if you expected to see scantily-clad women balanced on poles after reading that last sentence, I didn’t take photos because I was busy watching. I think taking photos and/or videos during a performances, especially in concerts, is silly. You don’t enjoy the first time because you’re looking at your phone/camera’s screen, and you get a diminished video afterward because it’s dark and your hand is moving; it’s a diminished experience either way. As the night wore on the club became louder, conversation became impossible, and I remember why I normally don’t go to places like these in the first place. We retreated to a relatively more quiet booth near the entrance of Opus, and it became fun again until it was time to leave. Good drinks and good company are always a perfect way to end a workweek. I rode with an officemate going home, and before long I was sound asleep. I dreamt of a perfect sunny day somewhere along the French Riviera, and the high-pitched whine of race engines filled the air.
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