The Monte Carlo Escapade

A Starlit Evening with Royalty


3/22/20244 min read

Once upon a time, in the carefree days of my bachelorhood, I found myself woven into the effervescent nightlife of Perth. Fridays and Saturdays came alive, and the city's pulsating energy was irresistible, drawing me towards Juliana’s, the crème de la crème of nightclubs nestled within the embrace of the Hilton hotel. My membership card was the key to a realm of indulgence, a chapter in my life stamped with luxury and vivacious evenings.

On one such night, as the air hummed with the melody of affluence, I encountered an old car yard acquaintance, John van Dyk, amidst the symphony of bass and the chime of toasting glasses. It was there, under the pulsating lights, that he introduced me to Jenny Sonnabend, a lady whose name was as captivating as her occupation.

Jenny, the renowned sales maestro of RenaWare, held the miners of Western Australia’s north spellbound, not just with her charm but with the gleaming allure of her stainless steel saucepans. Her sales prowess was the stuff of legend; she wasn't merely peddling cookware—she was selling dreams forged in steel.

Our chatter soon revealed Jenny's upcoming adventure—an all-expenses-paid gala in the opulent heart of Monte Carlo, an accolade for her sterling sales - #1 worldwide! Despite her professional veneer, there was a thread of apprehension; Australia was her cocoon, and the world beyond was an uncharted expanse. She needed a travel companion, and by some twist of fate, I was ushered into that role, as she was to depart the following week, and it was too short notice for John.

As the moon ascended still higher, I accompanied Jenny to her swish riverside apartment, a place where elegance met modernity, each corner and crevice a testament to her exquisite taste. Our spirits high, bolstered by the mirth of the alcohol-fuelled evening, we found ourselves sharing stories, laughter, and eventually, the intimacy of the night. It was an encounter that flowed with the same natural unpredictability as the journey I've always embraced in life and work—an unscripted dance of moments and emotions.

The dawn greeted us with a soft whisper of reality, and as the morning light, shimmering in the river’s crystal waters, caressed the contours of the cityscape, Jenny's voice, laced with mirth, broke the quietude. "This is a bit like 'try before you buy', isn't it?" she quipped. That moment, woven between laughter and the unspoken understanding of shared experience, encapsulated a truth about life’s unexpected trials and treasures.

And so, donned in spontaneity and the finest garb, I became her chaperone on a European escapade that was to lead us straight to a night of splendour in Monte Carlo. The gala was more than just a gathering; it was a main event where the press and paparazzi jostled for space, their flashes painting the night with bursts of light, and even the royal family graced the event with their presence.

There, walking Jenny into the grand ballroom, amidst the regal air and beneath the watchful lenses of the world's media, I found myself cloaked in a borrowed limelight. It was a fleeting taste of prominence, a five-minute sojourn into fame's embrace, all while not being a gambling man and merely soaking in the grandeur of all that is Monte Carlo.

The journey was an odyssey spanning continents, from the effervescent streets of Singapore to the historic elegance of London, culminating in the romantic allure of Paris. The sights—the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile at the Louvre, the gothic majesty of Notre Dame, the grandeur of L'Opera—were markers on my solitary pilgrimages whilst Jenny was resting or attending to other matters. The missed chance to witness the Folies Bergère was a slight detour that led me to the vibrant Crazy Horse, an alternative yet equally enchanting Parisian night.

New Year's Eve found me on the Champs Élysées, a spectacle of celebration as the sea of cars and people blended into a tapestry of jubilation. From a phone box, I offered Mum & Dad back in Australia an aural glimpse of the revelry, a shared moment of wonder across the miles.

Jenny and I, although together on this journey, spent our days in parallel lanes. My duty was to ensure her safe passage, which left me with a wealth of time to delve into the pleasures of solitude—time spent with family in England, reconnecting with friends in Singapore, and traversing the storied paths of Paris.

Returning to Perth, the city where this chapter unfolded, I stood at a crossroads, presented with an alluring prospect—Jenny's invitation to immerse myself in the comfort of her Rivervale haven and the thrill of her Porsche 911, as Jen herself spent most of her time working ‘up north’. To many, it was an enviable proposition, the sort that dreams are made of. However, the stirring in my soul whispered of a different yearning.

Accepting Jenny's generous offer felt like an anchor that could tether me to the identity of a kept man, something my spirit could never reconcile with. My notion of freedom was priceless, an expanse no material luxury could encapsulate. The open road of autonomy called to me, a siren song of self-reliance and independence. It was this path I chose to tread, unshackled and true to the essence of who I was—an imagineer not just in my career but in the very fabric of my life.

John van Dyk, ah, dear John, always the epitome of sartorial splendour, became a footnote in this adventure, a reminder of the elegance that life can offer. And through it all, the underlying lesson emerged, clear as the sparkle in Monte Carlo's night sky: It is not the opulent moments we experience, nor the grandeur we are offered, but the authenticity of our choices that carve our destiny.

Thus, I held fast to that inner compass, that truth to oneself—a beacon for both the heart and the wandering soul.