Friday, January 2nd, 2009...3:34 am
Two Year Ending Days In Delhi (India Post)
I’m about to attempt to recap the last few days and nights so that you all have a better sense of how I am spending my time. This will be quite challenging though as it seems like I’ve been on one long never ending binge the likes of which I haven’t experienced since senior year spring break in Acapulco (and an honorable mention to Weino’s bachelor party.)
I woke up with mad stomach problems. I’ll write more about this in another post but decided to take the z-pack I brought with me. I’m glad that I did as it cleared up whatever bug was in my system. I can’t give all the credit to the z-pack though because I wouldn’t want to shortchange the Flintstones. My highlight of each morning (other than still being alive) is usually deciding what Flintstone vitamin I need to chew that day. If I want strength I eat a Fred. If I need wit and intelligence I take down a Barney. Beauty is Wilma, mischievousness is Bam Bam etc, etc. There is no doubt in my mind i can become a multi-millionaire if I’m the dude who bring Flintstone vitamins to the Indian market.
We then headed over to Connaught Place market(movie link) and Janpoor street. This is pretty much the kind of market you would expect to see in India. Stores were selling spices, tea, scarfs, silk things that girls go gaga about and clothing. Part of the market is underground and apparently it used to be a huge DVD warehouse where you could get hundreds of Movies for pennies on the dollar. They still had some good cheap stuff and I picked up a few cheap Indian shirts. By cheap I’m talking 100 rupees (which is about $2) but that’s after high stakes negotiations and bargaining. It cost about $1 dollar and took 20 minutes for him to work on the shoes. Check out the action.
We also met a few street kids (slumdogs) at the marketplace that were trying to hock us some necklaces. We were waiting for the rest of our crew to finish shopping so Matt and I decided to chat it up with them. Although they wanted to sell us their necklaces (and I did buy a few later on) they were just as eager to be entertained and practice their English (all schools teach English) with us. The kids were bright, friendly and even were making a few jokes. There’s a lot of unfathomable poverty in India but when I look at street kids like this the future of India seems bright. If these kids continue to go to school there is no doubt they will be doing something more substantial than selling stuff in the market. There just too smart not to want more and better.
Chris and I decided to take an auto-rickshaw back to the hotel. Actually, I was trying to find a cab but none were around so against my better judgment we hopped into a rickshaw. It’s basically the equivalent of riding a golf cart on the LIE. For safety, instead of airbags you have no doors. The one redeeming quality of the rickshaws is that they run on natural gas and therefore are much cleaner burning vehicles. I found this out when we had to stop for some natty gas on our way home! Here are two videos of us getting into the rickshaw and then on the gas line.
That night was Mujra night and it was the first traditional Indian party. Many of the guests were dressed up in very cool looking Indian garb. I wore the shirt that I had bought in the market earlier that day. Apparently, I had made quite an impression at the Youngster’s party as everybody came up to me with hugs and warm greeting and expected me to act like the crazy insane American they had met a few nights earlier. So I had no choice but to oblige and threw down a whole bunch of scotch and returned to the blurry abyss of inebriation for the remainder of the evening and early morning.
I ran into Gavin and his girlfriend Chrys at my daily morning spot Eggspectation and we decided to hit up the Bahai Lotus Temple. I went back to grab my camera and Matt was still sleeping in the room. He didn’t want to miss out so he hopped out of bed and got ready within a few minutes. On the cab ride over Matt had two almonds. As the story goes (or as the scotch-imbibed story that I would tell later that night), the almonds (with thre help of the Bahai gods) transformed into Mohammed Ali while they were in Matt’s stomach and beat the shit out of him for 15 rounds. There were a few tense moments in the cab as Matt’s allergic reacted face was worsening by the second but the hotel doctor was great and Matt slept off the reaction and was back in business the next day.
The stressful morning was subdued just a bit when I decided to get a massage and a shave. It was relaxing and just what I needed. I wasn’t sure what to make of the little India dude as he was lotioning up my ass as I lay face down on the table. I decided to just go with it as long as my ass wasn’t going to be sore.
That night the party (New Year’s) was once again at Exotica. This is a new hotel that just opened. Most of the family and friends are staying at this hotel while another group that I am part of is staying at a hotel about 15 minutes away. Each night the hotel creates and elaborately decorates a huge tent behind the hotel. It’s impressive how quickly the redecorate the space each night. It kind of reminds me of when the Garden changes from basketball court to Ice in the same day.
The New Year’s party was actually a smaller affair (prob 150 people). I assume many people in Delhi probably had their own New Year’s plans so it was mostly family and out of town friends. It was another fun night that PEEKED hardkure at about midnight. For those 10 minutes it was some of the hardest partying of the week. Bottles of champagne were exploded and people weredrenching each other like we had just won the IPL cricket championship. I somehow had the self-restraint to stay out of the fray. There are too many powerful, important Indian elders for me to randomly be spraying champagne into the crowd. Don’t worry though, I was smacking the dance floor Wojo style and otherwise doing my part in the chaos.
The highlight of the night (and maybe even the trip) was when my partying partner/drinking buddy/trouble making rebel rouser Mona came over to me with a plan right after midnight. First, let me tell you about Mona. He’s has a long ponytail and loves to party more than just about anybody I’ve ever met. He’s also from Port Washington so we have the LI connection going. Oh, by the way, Mona is probably in his mid 60′s and is the father of Veejay (one of Matt’s and Param’s close friends from NY). During the course of any party I’ll either be whooping it up with Mona with drinks, dancing, etc. or I’ll be hiding from him. Anyway, Mona eyes lights up as he taps me on the shoulder. He sneaks up behind one of the younger American girls there and gently pulls back her dress. He then pours the whole bottle of champagne down her back. Many of you know how I like to instigate. As I realize what was about to happen I’ve never rooted for anything harder in my life (besides Mait 40 of course). Taylor (the girl who got the champagne shower) was actually a great sport about it and attacked Mona a few minutes later with her own bottle of champagne. There’s a photo floating around that is absolutely amazing of a mid champagne fight action between Mona and Taylor. I told Taylor I want an autographed copy of the photo and she said it’s a deal if I put it on the blog. I tell people I’m blogging and it creates the same impression as if I was wearing a pocket protector with my suit!. We continued to part till the early hours of the morning which is actually the norm in my life these days. Oh by the way, I took 500 rupees off of a Sikh in a drinking bet in which I hustled him harder than white man can’t jump. Happy 09 to all. Hope your night was as great as mine.
I have a bunch more posts trapped up in the medulla. Need to write about the fog/smog, the food, the mad stomach problems, cricket, the stench of Delih, the quality of service, quality of education and Punjabi night. I also have been formulating a bunch of thoughts about the future of this country and the opportunities here but I’ll probably save those posts for later in the week or after I get back and have some more time to organize my thoughts.
I’ve also posted some photos to facebook and on my vimeo page.