Simon Des Etages is a seasoned attorney, working as Deputy General Counsel, Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management at HSBC Bank USA in New York. He has extensive international experience advising on a broad range of legal and regulatory matters, with particular expertise in wealth management and private banking. He is also proud of being a team player with a commitment to developing experienced teams of attorneys.
Apart from his profession, he is also a musician (plays and composes), a poet, who also likes to draw and paint. His father had come from his native Trinidad to England, where he had met his future wife of Serbian descent and they made their family nest in London.
His site is called "Simon's Place", where he says about himself: “Born in London, UK in 1964 and currently living in New York City. My adopted spiritual home.”
But another faraway place was responsible for building up his spirit as it is. A tiny place on the coast of Montenegro, in Boka Kotorska, just opposite of Perast - Stoliv, (meaning 100 olives), where he used to spend his summers together with his mother, brother, and relatives on his mother’s side.
He spoke about this exclusively for Total Montenegro News.
“This was another life, a parallel existence, where people lived forever and the little "chocolate boy" was loved unreservedly by his favourite uncles, mother and sisters, the colourful fish that swam in his front garden and sea squids, starfish, neighbours and strangers, where he’d walk barefoot on baked roads next to the Adriatic, growing hard blisters like tortoises emerging from soft sand, traverse high mountain passes into emerald green vistas, slip around dried snake skins hanging like old socks in the bushes and duck away from large metallic green beetles while nervously passing ancient graveyards full of bleached, weather worn headstones and bones. He was the strange beloved one that people liked to pinch, the little dark boy they’d squeeze until he’d wince, these were days of goat’s milk and honey, cream cheese (kaymak), home baked bread, muscle rice, home grown water melons, sweet grapes and deep red cherries, sparkling water (kisela voda) and jellied orange peel (slatko) for breakfast, where he lived like a prince and where his most valuable asset was his broad smile and innocent difference, days when love was not questioned but assumed, whether it be an expression of some deep trauma, the breath of god or both wrapped up in a goodnight kiss, with the night’s winged minions clinging like limpets to the ceiling, they mesmerized by the light above and he by their milling throng and diversity, she would stroke his face and say goodnight Sammy my love, sleep tight, remember you go fishing early tomorrow with Chika Juro (Djuro), I love you.”
Years, even decades have passed since Simon has visited Stoliv and Boka kotorska. Some other kids are playing now, where he used to play with his cousins and friends. Their games have changed, but maybe some of them still exist. Chika Juro passed away a long time ago and there is nothing left of his old wooden boat, which he used for fishing with Simon and other kids. The old stone house, about three centuries old is still there, but with new owners. Maybe some of them will try to preserve the true meaning and old fragrance of Stoliv.
Meanwhile, this parallel existence is still there, in the mind of this serious grown – up with preserved child’s soul. Cheers, bro.