Afternoon tea

Over the weekend Shalla and I did something we haven't done in a while: have tea.

No, milk tea doesn't count. If we're being honest, it's more likely that's water with tea flavoring and loads of sugar and, maybe, some milk. And pearls. And brown sugar. And whatever else they decide is a trend these days, like cream cheese.

No, tea at home doesn't count. In the past few months Shalla's shifted from coffee to tea before going to work, which meant we've both had to stock up on the essentials. She settled on a preference early on: English breakfast tea with two teaspoons of creamer and two teaspoons of sugar. (Teaspoons!) I just went along with it, but at least we both know that, one, we prefer Twinings, and two, it's disappointing how Rustan's does not carry it, or at least the 25-bag boxes of it. Surprisingly, SM does.

No, what I mean is tea out. An actual tea salon. There was a time early in our relationship when we sought out all the macarons we can get, which led us to at least three instances at a TWG salon. But that was when we didn't really know much about tea - most likely I'm just speaking for myself here - so we just kind of guessed from what's available and ran with it.

At least we decided we like the Napoleon tea macarons. And then we forgot about it, because many other things have happened since, like us deciding we like the carrot cake at Toby's Estate.

So, this weekend, we went to TWG, now just a ten-minute walk from the flat, as opposed to a long drive from where we were at the time. Afternoon tea, more or less, perhaps hampered by the place's tendency to have inconsistent service, and to never have turkey ham on stock. We settled for Croque Imperial finger sandwiches - Shalla is allergic to most seafood, but somehow she decided to eat one of those sandwiches, which had smoked salmon on top - and scones, with clotted cream and a pretty good mango marmalade.

We have decided we like scones.

The Philippines is not a tea-drinking country, but it certainly is a tea-spilling one. The whole concept of afternoon tea is certainly a novelty to us, perhaps because we imagine drinking the thing in dainty cups with our pinky fingers lifted up. So, for us, as shallow as it may seem for the more learned among you (if there's anybody out there), it's an experience novel enough to share and look forward to. Or maybe I'm just speaking for myself. But it felt a bit reassuring, in the midst of a pretty stormy past few months, to do the things we used to do before; to just have a conversation, or whatever passes for it; to be able to sit down and have a pot of tea - and have it all replaced, because the staff spilled her cup when they served the sandwiches. Singapore breakfast tea is what we went for, because it just sounded interesting - and it's probably like English breakfast tea.

Well, it is, but Shalla had an upset stomach after. Perhaps it's got citrus on it, and we add milk to our tea. We were wary, but there were still no explanations in the menu, like we're supposed to know it already.

We then did the groceries - where I snapped up the last two scones at the bakery, for breakfast the next day - and walked back to the flat. On a slight high from rediscovering the macarons, I put Salonpas on my aching back, because I certainly am an older person now.

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