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By Dave Seymour. Used with permission.

By Dave Seymour. Used with permission.

Fish was eaten, sweet jams were played, and everybody danced. I love throwing parties.

Mumbai was everything that Delhi was not: beautiful, (relatively) clean, cultured, metropolitan. Granted, I didn’t see much of Delhi because I was sick, but I am sure that I did not see enough of Mumbai. The sprawling city on the water was an absolute oasis after three days of transiting through the stix. All of us were filthy, having spent the previous night on sleeping in the parking lot of a truck stop. Mumbai opened itself up with coffee, cocktails, and STEAK! So good.

More on the food theme in a moment but first I should mention Udaipur, the lovely lake city that we visited the day we left Mt Abu. The place has a somewhat unimpressive palace sitting in the middle of a weedy lake, but was amazingly laid-back despite the fact that it’s so close to the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur tourist circuit. I get annoyed when I see too many honkeys around, but Udaipur made up for it with really lovely, helpful locals and a pretty promenades and markets. I was on cook duty there, and made a trip with the help of a cool tuk-tuk driver down to the butcher’s market to get some mutton for BBQ. “Mutton,” it turns out, is actually goat in India – and tough goat at that – but the whole experience more than made up for the subpar dinner.

From Udaipur it took us two hard, dusty days to get to Mumbai. We rolled into the city as we usually do, covered in filth and blaring party music. The locals were flabergasted, and the police stopped us just to take pictures. We found the Salvation Army hostel (a great deal in the heart of Colaba), dropped our bags, and started eating. Our fellow HotRocker, Dave, had been planning a culinary tour of Mumbai for weeks, and the city’s restaurants did not disappoint. Mumbai is very pricey – practically at Western cost – but our splurging was well worth it. We even managed to squeeze in a fancy night out, complete with a long overdue dance party. I was sad to leave after just two days, and am looking forward to coming back in the distant future with a pocket full of cash.

Two more days of slightly less filthy, less exhausting transit followed. Again, we slept in the parking lot of a roadhouse. But again, too, our torment was rewarded, this time with a couple of really lovely days on the beach in Goa. We’ve had good weather despite the tapering monsoon, but the party capital of India has been pretty much empty. Evidently, things have calmed down quite a bit here over the past couple of years, with the authorities putting the party scene on ice. But it’s still crawling with weird Euro-hippies, the detritus of the post-rave fallout. The beaches are pretty, but not stunning, which makes me wonder how this place became THE Third World party destination at all.

Some hilarious things have happened, but I’ll save my stories for a later post. Right now I have to go and organize a sound system for the inpromptu beach party that we’re throwing tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t get arrested, or have to bribe the cops AGAIN.

~br

For those of you who are unaware, I will shortly be leaving Philadelphia and going abroad. I’ll be starting in India and working my way east, mostly by climbing large rocks. I expect to be gone for about a year. When I return I’ll probably be a different person. t r a n s i t i v i t y will be my primary vehicle for correspondence. For more information, please see my itinerary.

I would like to commemorate the event of my departure with a party. Here are the coordinates. Please plan on attending:

9pm Friday 30 May 2008
Fuji Mountain (a sushi restaurant)
2030 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

I have reserved the 3rd and 4th floors of the restaurant for the evening. Be prepared for dancing and sushi-eating. My good friend Julia Crosson will also be celebrating her impending departure on a similar, but not co-located, adventure.

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