Sunrise in Shanghai, tenderness in Tokyo; and the cream of the crop with Sōmrus

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“Second to the right, and straight on till morning.”

That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to the Neverland; but even birds, carrying maps and consulting them at windy corners, could not have sighted it with these instructions. Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head.
– From Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

It’s almost nightfall in Discovery Bay, a beautiful sight with the lights from the houses across the water shining like jewels and the last remnants of today’s bright blue sky steadily giving way to the cloak of night.

Around the bay the hills are silhouetted against the sky, backdrop to a scene of almost perfect tranquillity, the silence only broken by the reassuring humming of an aircraft still ascending after take-off from Hong Kong International Airport.

I may as well enjoy the scene while I can for tomorrow I’m up, up and away again on one of those aircraft, on a 16-hour, 8,045 mile flight to New York, the first leg of a two-week journey that will in six days hence see me in Cannes for the TFWA World Exhibition.

My last Blog was posted on the eve of Sunrise Duty Free’s 24th anniversary celebrations in Shanghai a week ago. What an incredible night. The pictures below only hint at the beauty of the show put on by Sunrise Duty Free Founder and General Manager Fengyi Zhang, a sublimely choreographed blend of dance, light, music and song that will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to attend.

And on that note, it’s not often that I get near, let alone into, a Lamborghini but that all changed on Saturday night. I already felt privileged to be the only international media representative present at this grand occasion. But that honour was increased when I was asked to be one of Sunrise Duty Free’s 12 chosen partners to be driven up to the front of the stage in a luxury motor car to sign a special 24th commemorative message.

It was a lovely touch. In my case the said Lamborghini was a yellow model that shone as brightly as a sunrise, or in this case a Sunrise Duty Free, on an unforgettable evening of well-earned celebration for one of the world’s leading travel retailers.

They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly), as Donovan once sang. Or am I showing my age with that song reference?
No back seat driving allowed as we head into the vast CDF Sunrise Complex in Shanghai
A proud moment as I sign my best wishes to Sunrise Duty Free on their 24th anniversary

Business partners gather for a memorable group shot with cdf-Sunrise Duty Free, China Tourism Group Duty Free Corporation and China Duty Free Group leaders

The Estée Lauder Companies President Commercial, Travel Retail Worldwide Javier Simon takes to the stage
L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific Managing Director Tao Zhang arrives in style
A nice photo with (left to right) LVMH Beauty Travel Retail Asia Pacific Managing Director Catherine Sauvage; CDFG Executive Vice President Chang Zhujun (Luke Chang); SVP Travel Retail DIOR – LVMH Beauty Alireza Danai; and China Tourism Group Deputy General Manager and CDFG Chairman of the Board Li Gang
With Eternal Associate Director TR China Lucy Song and TFWA Chief Representative in China Hannah Gao
The Estée Lauder Companies President Commercial, Travel Retail Worldwide Javier Simon and I pose for a photo after completing a goodwill signing
With Tina Tam, a perennially youthful veteran of the travel retail sector
Laurent Marteau, Groupe Managing Director of L’OCCITANE Group, a close partner of Sunrise Duty Free, as the picture of him arriving on stage below confirms

With Foreo Global Travel Retail Director Gary Leong

Remember Maki, my Guardian Angel from Tokyo Station, who against all the odds helped me recover my cherished laptop, inadvertently left on a train? If you missed that Blog please click here because it is a rare tale of human kindness and sheer goodness that should not be missed.

Click on the image to read my original Blog

Post my subsequent long business trip avec rather than sans laptop, I tracked Maki down via Facebook. What I said to her hardly matters (I asked for her address so I could send a thank you gift). But look at her reply. In a world so often gone wrong, Maki is a testament to things, and people, gone right.

How Maki captured the moment of unification on her phone

“Hi Martin! Very happy to get your message,” she replied. “Thank you for remember me. That’s enough for me. Don’t say any more thanks, also I am very happy I can help you to get your laptop back . Hope you never lose your important things again! I’m sorry I’m not good for write in English, please understand me and please have a happy life. See you ~”

To me, Maki’s English is better than I could ever aspire to. Because she speaks with a tenor of grace and of humility that puts most of us, and certainly me, to shame. I will always remember you Maki. In fact how could I forget my Tokyo Guardian Angel?

Finally, I am delighted to note that The Moodie Blog is now sponsored by Sōmrus – Hindi for nectar of the gods – the cream liqueur brand served so well in global travel retail by Barry Geoghegan’s Duty Free Global, our generous sponsor through most of the year.

Among the cream of the crop: A proud P.K. Garg views the Sōmrus display at Qatar Duty Free last month

Sōmrus has come a long way in a short time since Pankaj K. (P.K.) Garg and his wife Swati worked on perfecting the recipe for a cream liqueur featuring a medley of favourite Indian ingredients in their home kitchen in the US.

You can read my interview from April 2021 below, since when the brand and the company (The House of Sōmrus) has continued its impressive growth to truly stand alongside the heavyweights of the category such as Baileys Irish Cream and Amarula.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Sōmrus and Duty Free Global teams (Green Village J35), and of course many readers, in Cannes. But that in nautical air miles though not in days is a long way off yet. First it’s New York, a city that like our website never sleeps.

“Second to the right, and straight on till morning.”

Click on the image to read my original interview with PK Garg