Category Archives: Story

At the club with the Russians

In Goa drinking with Russians

Quick setting for Tuesday night. We spent the day kicking on the beach for quite a bit, maybe 4-5 hours. I had several drinks, Zach had a few, then we went back to the guesthouse. The bar we were at with the chairs on the beach said that they were doing karaoke that night, so of course we were down. We only had a Saturday karaoke place. We definitely needed another. So we went back to the bar Dominic’s for karaoke. It was pretty much just Zach and I. There was a French guy doing some singing too. We got him to sing “Could you be loved” with us. It was awesome. I sang some “Gangster’s Paradise” which went over very well with the Russian women at one of the tables. The song selection was awesome. Zach and I sang some Will Smith (“Miami”), and I even sang some Everclear, “I will buy you a new house”. I was super impressed, most places in the states don’t have Everclear. I also got down with soe Sublime. We drank, and sang, and smoked hookah until they closed down. They said karaoke was over. Zach and I asked the waiters where the party was at. They said it was at Malibu next door and to come back next Monday for karaoke. I went over and invited the French guy and his table to join us next door. They said that they might when they were done with their drinks.

We walked next door and the music was blasting, the Russian dance music. That is apparently all they play at the Malibu. We had been to the Malibu restauraunt and go periodically for dinner (free wifi is nice). We hadn’t been to the shack yet. We setup, ordered a couple of Fennys, and surveyed the place. The dance floor was full of Russian women and the mandatory Russian guy with no shirt. They all seemed to be from the same table, and I was trying to think of a good way to introduce ourselves. You see it’s a little challenging to introduce yourself to Russian tourists out here because they speak little to no English and my Russian is limited to saying “Hi”. I was considering this when Zach saw they had a bottle of rum at their table and just turned his chair around and was then sitting at their table. They waved me over too. We started chatting a little, they said some of them were from St. Petersberg, and some others were from places I couldn’t pronounce. We all ordered more drinks and started dancing our hearts out. A little while then the French guy, who’s name was Joaquin I found out, and his girlfriend came in and pulled up chairs to the table. He was in town for a couple of days covering a soccer match for the magazine he wrote for. Also an Indian guy named Chris pulled up a chair too. We had seen him at karaoke and he seemed to enjoy our singing and I saw him at the bar seeming to be trying to find a way to come party with us. He also just pulled up a chair. I think our giant table was the entirety of the people at this bar at this point. We danced and talked and there were huge language barriers all around, but it was tons of fun. Language is overrated for having fun with people when the music is thumping and the drinks are flowing. They kept playing great music all in Russian that I had never heard of and we all kept dancing.

Eventually I told Zach I was heading home if he wanted to come, but he was fairly intoxicated and wanted to dance/drink more. I made it home and got through the gate to the guesthouse then to the room and laid down. I remember wondering how Zach was going to get through the gate when he didn’t have a key. I considered just leaving the gate open, but that seemed like a bad idea in general. That was about all the thought I put into it though. Fortunately Zach came back shortly after I did. He had a plan to get through the gate. He shook it and yelled drunkenly until someone let him in.

So fastforward to the next day, I wake up, Zach is hellaciously hungover and naked. There was an “issue” with his sheets and clothes. I felt a little rough, but Zach was close to catatonic. We went down to eat lunch at Jack’s, and then he went to sleep and I messed around a little bit online. We grabbed food for dinner, but were just going to have a low key night. I wanted a couple of beers, and Zach wanted to just go out for a bit. As Zach said to me later, we approached the night with the best of intentions. We went to this little lounge bar where some people were dancing and had a couple of drinks and just relaxed. Eventually the DJ sang along with the songs a bit too. He did an awesome version of Pink Floyd, and a couple of other songs too.

Then Mahal closed and we decided that we had a couple of more drinks in us before we wanted to go to back to the guesthouse. We walked directly over to the beach shack next door, not at the time realizing that it was Domnick’s. We were walking up to the bar when we heard people yelling at us “Zach, Noah!” We looked over and it was the girls from the night before. Zach and I both looked at each other and just had that telepathic moment where we just went, “Well, shit. I guess this is going to be one of those nights.” They called us over for drinks and said that they were going to the club in Colva, and we should come. One of the local guys arranged the cab and everything. We just kept drinking and had Svetlana’s daughter do some translating for us. There was this crazy blond girl that was all over Zach. I know that some of you guys might be taking umbrage with me saying crazy girl. I know that’s a term that guys throw around with abandon. However she borrowed my water bottle to pour it on Zach because he said he didn’t like Vladimir Putin, and kept biting his fingers. She also spoke about as much English as I do Russian. But did this discourage Zach? Nope. The party consisted of a really cool Russian guy, Svetlana the married mother, the blonde girl, the brunette girl, the guy who worked at Dominics, and our grumpy cab driver, you can see him in the group picture from that night. We ended up going to this club in Colva called Margarita. The guy who setup the cab and club got us in with no cover. The drinks were pretty expensive there. A double rum and Coke was 200RP, expensive is relative though. That’s still only $3 USD or so, but a double rum and coke is usually like 60RP or so, or $1 USD. I’m sure everyone is overcome with pity for us having to pay that much for drinks. The club was great. There was much dancing and little talking due to the volume.

I wake up the next morning. I see Zach walking around the room. I also notice that I’m naked, so as you can the shoe is now on the other foot. I had this witty rejoinder to Zach, “My mouth tastes like death.” He laughed and told me that he was going to take a shower then he would tell me what happened the previous night. So the last thing I remember is having drinks at the club and dancing, but not any event in particular. According to Zach I had a few too many and was about to fall off of a bar stool. He sent me in to the bathroom and sent a bouncer after me to make sure that I was OK. I fell down and the bouncer carried me out to a cab. I gave my bill clip to Zach for safekeeping, very weird by the way, and went home. I miiiight have paid for my cab. I saw the cabbie the next day and he said that he was paid. I just had to kick him a few hundred rupees for cleaning the cab, don’t ask. Zach stayed at the club for a bit and then headed back. The blonde girl wanted him to come up with her to the hotel, but he said that he was too drunk to want to and just came back to the guesthouse, waking up the people working there again. He said he felt bad because he promised Cool that he would make sure to come back home with me so that he wouldn’t wake up everyone.

This was the first, but not the last time that a bunch of Russians got us much too drunk.

Night out in Mumbai

Zach met this guy in Prague named Anirudh. He had been staying in London, but was traveling around a bit before going back home to Mumbai. Zach mentioned that we were going to be in Mumbai and Anirudh said to hit him up and he’d show us around.

Fast forward a couple of months and here we are in Mumbai. I’m sitting in a Starbucks with Zach drinking Frappucinos (don’t judge me, it’s delicious, but very sweet). We’re killing time before we leave for sandy beautiful Goa on a very cramped train. That’s another conversation though.

We went out with Anirudh to this bar he liked. We also found out that all of the “good” bars pretty much require you to wear pants. Zach and I were not amused, but there it was. We went out to some rooftop bar, that overlooked the city. We talked with Anirudh about him coming back to India after a year in England to start his own business after working in investment banking for a few years, and we drank big Strong Kingfishers while Anirudh drank whiskey and coke. The local beer here is called Kingfisher, and the Kingfisher strong is 8% abv, which is pretty freaking strong for a beer, and they sell them in regular bottles, or 650ml bottles, which is what we were drinking.

So we were kicking it and chatting, enjoying the view and decided after our drinks that we would go to another bar. we went to what seemed like the Indian equivalent of a sports bar, the kind that would have bowls of peanuts in the states. Anirudh said that it was more of a go and drink place and less of a lounge. It was more my kind of bar. We had more beers, but they didn’t have kingfisher strong (small tear), so I switched to double old monks and coke. Old monk is a local Indian dark rum that is cheap and delicious. The next day I realized that what was happening was that I was really thirsty and I was drinking alcohol instead of getting a bottle of water because I didn’t realize it. I wouldn’t recommend it. We hung out for a while then headed home. Anirudh said that we should hit him up on Friday (the next day) because he was going to take us out on Saturday, but Zach, smartly, told him that he wanted to have a relaxed evening on Saturday because we checked out of the hostel on Sunday. We said that we would talk to him tomorrow.

Friday came and we hung out, went for a walk and had some good food. Anirudh hit up Zach and invited us over to his families house for dinner. We headed out around 7, but we found out that getting a cab on a Friday took some work. The streets were fuller than I’d seen them since we were leaving the airport. There were the same number of cabs out as usual, and normally we couldn’t walk down the road without a cabby trying to sell us a ride or a sightseeing tour, but they were all full on Friday. We had checked out how much a cab should cost to where we were going. It was around 100rp, maybe a little more since it was rush hour. Everybody quoted us 200rp and they refused to turn on their meters. Zach finally found a guy that would use his meter. Our cabby was awesome and worked with us on our hand-drawn map and directions to get us to our destination. It ended up costing about 85rp.

Anirudh worked in an office building on this street we were on, but we had some trouble locating it, fortunately people on the street were super helpful and when Zach asked if we were going the right way they sent us back towards the building. We met up with Anirudh, he closed up shop and we went to his house. He lives in a condo with his family. He told us that is the traditional way that families live in India. The whole family lives together their whole lives unless specific needs like work changed the situation. We went up the elevator to his home and I was very impressed with his home. It was beautiful and very tastefully decorated, but still looked lived in. Also AC which was nice in the Bombay heat. It was probably the cleanest home I’ve seen besides a couple of friends of mine in Portland that are obsessive about cleaning before dinner parties (you know who you are).

The way that the food was brought out was quite different than what I was used to. The women cooked and brought out all of the food. I’m used to that being a kind of communal thing, but we were also their guests. I suppose that I’m not used to being a “guest” in the formal sense, but everyone in Anirudh’s family and Anirudh himself were all consumant hosts.

We met Anirudh’s father, mother and grandmother. They all seemed very nice, and we had some really good salty lemonade while we waited. They said that since we weren’t going to hit Northern India they made us some dishes that you wouldn’t find anywhere in Mumbai. Their family was originally from the Rajistani region and they made us a bunch of Rajistani dishes. There was a very good wheat flower based spicy curry like thing, rice flour tortillas almost that were steamed in banana leaves, sweet paneer (cottage cheese), crisps that were crisped dough with sweet milk curd, chutney, and other spices. You took those and put them in your mouth whole. Also there was a kind of stew type thing that you mixed with milk curd and you had the savory sweet tastiness. Also there was a puffed rice dish with spices and other things. I think I’m forgettinga¬† couple of dishes, but it was delicious.

During the whole meal Anirudh’s mother kept serving up more and more food to us. It was very nice, but I haven’t been really eating a ton since we have been in India, and I’m not used to eating that quantity of food anymore. Anirudh was my hero though and said that I didn’t have to keep eating food if I was full. He read the situation perfectly; I was worried that I would offend them if I didn’t finish my plate, but I wasn’t sure and everytime I finised out my food more came right after it.

After dinner we were ready to go out. Zach and I had grabbed a couple of little bottles of old monk a piece earlier to reduce costs of going out (can’t beat 100rp for a little bottle 187ml). We filled up a couple of coke bottles and got to going. Anirudh drove us over to pick up his girlfriend. We kept chatting and then his girlfriend found out that we would be traveling for a couple of years and was blown away. She kept asking about where we were going, and what our itinerary was in India. She also had some suggestions about places to go and stay in Goa. No one we have talked to thus far has known where Benaulim is in Goa, but that makes me even more interested in it.

Anirudh was on the phone while he was driving with some friends of his. This is super impressive in and of itself. The streets in Mumbai are really crazy. The laws and lanes are just suggestions and no one really pays them much heed. Anirudh had told us earlier that he never got a license in England because he would have had to unlearn all of his Indian driving habits. He told his friends that we were going to the food court. I thought this was odd, but I took a drink and figured we’d get to wherever whenever we did, and that Anirudh hadn’t steered us wrong before.

We got to a restaurant called the Food Court, but not before some guy backed into Anirudh’s car while he was stopped. It turns out that the food court was the name of a restauraunt/bar that was cheap and quite good. A rum and coke worked out to be about 70-80rp, because the rum was 60rp and the coke was some small amount. That means that the rum and cokes were about $1.20. Yes that is correct, and I fell in love with this bar. We had some drinks and more of Anirudh and his girlfriend’s friends showed up. There was Anandia who was a lawyer, and their other friend who was a woman that used to be a dentist and was going back to grad school to switch to public health.

We were all chatting and having a great time. It was awesome to see these people that were so put-together let their hair down, and they were a ton of fun. They were friendly, and funny, and also they wouldn’t let Zach or I pay for our drinks. They were super awesome, and the night was just getting started.

We went to this club just a little ways away. We walked up to the car park where Anirudh had parked his car and then took an elevator up, and there was a club up there. I didn’t see a sign, but the girls and Anirudh apparently knew some of the people there and they let us in and hugs went all around. They also introduced us to another couple of people, Winny and another guy whose name I didn’t catch. I feel less bad about that because the music was quite loud.

Anandia got us beers and we started dancing. Zach procured us another Coke, which was harder than you would think just because aparrently the bar was unused to selling whole bottles of coke. We poured the last of our rums into it and then started passing it around. This would mark the way the rest of the night went. Everyone shared everything. From beers, to these awesome chilli’d martini type things that Anirudh kept getting, to more mixed drinks. The DJ was excellent, and while Zach was a little disappointed that it was all American music, the mix was excellent and he got in the groove pretty quick.

We danced and drank for hours, then the music changed. They started putting on Bollywood hits, and the dancing hit a new higher tempo. It started building as a crescendo with spontaneous dance circles in the middle of the dance floor. Anirudh started dancing with such fervor that he was almost hopping up and down with wild call-response hand motions. Zach and I tried to keep up with everyone, and I think we did OK, but this was not really our forte.

After a few songs the lights came on, and that seemed to be the sign for last call. I thought that meant that we were done, it was around 1:30AM. However we were dragged out the door to waiting taxis to go to an after-hours club. It was in the basement of a hotel and I’m not sure how it happened, but one of the guys we were with got us all in. It was dark, and the music was thumping. We hung out there for a bit and then decided to go get some breakfast. We went to one restauraunt very briefly, but left after picking up another friend of theirs.

We ended up in front of a train station next to a small trash fire, and we were brought jam and cheese sandwiches. I had never had this, but it was quite good. After that Zach and I took a cab with some of the guys that were heading our ways. We got back to the hostel and slept the blessed sleep of the exhausted, but awoke to the terrible hangover of people who were out til 4 something in the morning. I have not done that in years, but it was worth it.

At Nacho Daddy's

Puerto Vallarta – Nacho Daddy’s

I was going to put this in my other post, but it was getting long. I also like this story enough to want to include it. After the beach, while I was passed out, Zach started talking to one of our hotel neighbors in the lobby. He was in his 50’s and named Bill. Bill was in town for a conference. He was an engineering professor in Florida. We ended up grabbing beers with Bill a couple of times at the Sea Monkey and he told us about this band that was playing just down the street on Thursday. The place was a tex-mex restaurant named Nacho Daddy’s and was owned by this really cool (based on the couple of minutes we chatted when we dropped by to check when the band was going on) ex-pat. We got there about an hour early and got some food and beers ($2 pacifico). True Tex-Mex queso too, yum. Kind of an aside, but I haven’t had queso that good since I was in Oklahoma visiting family. The trick is bacon grease people, it’s not that hard. Anyways, I hadn’t watched a band setup in years and that was kind of fun

.At Nacho Daddy's

People started filtering in, and Zach and I were probably the youngest people in there by twenty years. Not an issue, but it was quite a few old hippies. We started chatting about wanting to come back to Mexico after our Asia trip and learn the language. They gave us some great contacts to talk to, and tips on surrounding towns. The story from each of them was pretty similar.

“I came for a couple of weeks, and just never left,”

or the other

“I own a condo down here and just rent it out when I’m not using it.”

Puerto Vallarta is super expensive, but the towns about 30 mins bus ride out are not. It’s apparently pretty cheap to live there and they don’t have the tourism hustle that Puerto Vallarta does, but it’s close enough to come in if you want to see the city, or kick it with other ex-pats.

Back to the bar, we were chatting with these people and Bill finally showed up, and sat down with us and grabbed a beer. The band started playing. They were a cover band that played everything from Jefferson Airplane to Daft Punk. It was a lot of fun, and they even did a bit of an improv light show with the lights out.

The old hippies were super digging it, and dancing a ton. There was this one older guy. Picture a heavyset man, not necessarily fat but barrelchested, completely bald man with a white handlebar mustache in a completely black suit with black shirt. He looked sharp. He also did interpretive dance to almost every song. I heard from one of the guys there that his brother had passed from heart problems and that his doctor had said that he needed to take it easy or he would go to. He told his doctor that he preferred to live his life as much as he could with the time he had. This guy went out every night drinking, dancing and generally having a grand time. I have a lot of respect for that kind of commitment to life. He also did a pretty impressive pole dance on one of the support pillars for the bar during a song.

I love to dance and was waiting for a song that I could dance to. I think I ended up cutting loose on “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. I danced with some older lady and ditched my sandals to really get my dance on. There’s a reason my friends call me twinkle toes. My feet hurt like a bitch though. So the set ended up wrapping up, and we tabbed out. It was pouring rain by this point. I mean a true torrential downpour. There was probably 5-6 inches of standing/running water at some points in the street. This is why I love the tropics though, it was warm water. In Oklahoma that water would be cold, not frigid, but unpleasant. This was like wading through warm bathwater, that was probably dirty as hell. We ran/walked back to the hotel. I didn’t care about the water as I was in a swimsuit, a shirt and sandals, but I had our trip notebook with us (for notes). We said good night to Bill and crashed out. Minus an epic fight with a cockroach in the middle of the night (we won, although there was a lot of RAID in the air), we slept well.

I checked my feet the next morning to see why it hurt to dance and I had like 3-4 huge blisters on each foot. Zach had been mocking my strappy sandals (Chaco’s) the entire trip and I had defended them. The issue is that, while I love strappy sandals, in the tropics the constant changing humidity causes them to stretch oddly. Teva’s or something would probably be fine, but Chaco’s are pretty tightly fitted. I chucked my Chaco’s at that point, and just used my flip flops. Zach was using slip on Van’s and they worked great for him. That’s probably what I’m going to use for the main trip. Just remember.

FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS WEAR STRAPPY SANDALS!!!

DSCN0339

Puerto Vallarta – Beach

MEXICOOOOOOO!!! I think that Zach covered a lot of the facts on Puerto Vallarta, but here are my two cents. Puerto Vallarta is one of the more popular tourist spots in Mexico. When we went there it was the peak of it’s internal tourist season. In June it’s mostly filled with tourists from other parts of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta also has some of the best tap water in Mexico. Zach and I drank it fine, although mostly we drank water from jugs at our hotel. Your mileage may vary.

Beachside at the Sea Monkey

Drinks were super cheap at the Oxxo. Cheap tequila and Fresca and you can’t go wrong. Having some drinks in your room is also nice for the heat of the day. Good for kicking it under the fan and waiting for the sun to chill out a bit. You can try to get ice, but for us it melted faster than we could even make a noticeable dent. We eventually just gave up on ice. It was so hot that the slightly cooler drink in our room was plenty cold.

We went out for beers almost every evening beachside at the Sea Monkey. Dollar beers (Corona and Pacifico) and a perfect view of the beach for sunset? Sign me up. They also had cheap, but good, Mai Thais, Sangria and margaritas ($2).

We spent a good portion of the trip wandering around the city, or at least the part that was around us. The Romantic District was beautiful (I know the joke is there, but restrain yourself; you’re better than that). We didn’t go up to the area around the resorts more than a couple of times, because it was expensive and far, but we did eat at Senor Frog’s. I liked it. A tad expensive, but where else can you get a yard of high end rum or tequila? I didn’t get one, but I did get a huge margarita with Don Julio. Delicious, and not that bad at around $15 or so.

A couple of my favorite stories from Mexico. The names in these stories have not been changed to preserve humor and embarrass the dicks in them, mostly me. Although I am not the best at remembering names in the best of times, let alone when I’ve been drinking. Let it be said that I am not rude with names; I forget my own mother’s/brother’s/father’s names, so if I ever forget yours please don’t take it personally. Alright, moving on.

Zach and I had decided to go down to the beach to kick it. We were setting up our towels and this American flagged us down and told us about a deal where you could rent a daypass at this hotel. It was 190 pesos (about $15), but you got an umbrella, a chair and you got 190 pesos in credit for the bar. Also it was happy hour. We had brought our own drinks (Tequila and Fresca for me and rum and Coke for Zach), but he seemed cool so we started chatting. Also it was happy hour so 2 for 1 well drinks. That made the rum and cokes about a dollar a piece. You might think that this potentially spells trouble, and you’d be right.

The guy was cool. He was from Nashville, and had sold his company in his 30s and was just traveling enjoying himself. We chatted about our upcoming trip across Asia. He gave us great advice that I mostly forgot because of the sun and the booze. I was chatting with him for a bit while Zach was swimming. We were trying to stock up on drinks before the end of happy hour, or I was. So quick aside, I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but I can’t tell if I’m getting drunk on the beach, or specifically if I’m in constant sun. I just don’t feel drunk. I don’t know what it is. I felt fine, but there was a fly buzzing around me and I yelled at it, “Fucking Asshole!” I was talking to the fly mind you, but a beach vendor was walking towards me and thought I was talking to him and walked off. I was also waving my hands like a madman trying to swat the fly, so he also probably thought I was crazy. I felt like a dick. I heard about this after the fact though, because I didn’t really notice. I talked Zach into going and grabbing another bottle of Rum. I said that I would go get it, but he said he would (good looking out man, I probably would have gotten lost). He came back a bit later, and I was working on the 2-3 drinks I had stockpiled from happy hour. We had a couple of drinks then we decided to leave, or I assume Zach did, that part is a tad hazy.

We were walking back from the beach, and going over the old rope bridges. I was staying to the right of the bridges to be nice, but I didn’t realize something. If you walk to the side of a rope bridge it will sway. Not a big deal, because most reasonable people would notice and stop. I did not. I thought it was just me being drunk. I am not a small man, so when I caused it to sway it swayed a lot. So I was walking down this bridge doing kind of a serpentine pattern trying to stay going straight while the bridge was swaying about 5-8 feet back and forth. These bridges were not empty either. Zach was having issues getting across. There is also actually a photo of me on one of these bridges attached to this post for perspective. Eventually someone actually stopped me and explained that you should stay in the middle. It was good advice, although a little late because this was at the end of the bridges.

DSCN0339DSCN0342

You’d think that was the bit about me being an asshole, or that the beach was, and you’d be wrong. So we were walking up the street to our hotel. One thing to remember about Puerto Vallarta is that almost all of the streets and the sidewalks are old school cobblestone. It looks awesome, but is a bitch to walk on, especially in flip flops. I ended up jamming the shit out of my toe and almost eating it on the street. I legitimately thought I had broken my toe. I was super drunk at this point and didn’t realize it. I am also an abnormally loud person, just in terms of how much my voice carries (ask anyone that’s met me). I started swearing up a storm. I didn’t notice the fairly substantial crowd that had gathered around the loud, drunk, swearing gringo. This group of people that actually included cops. Zach asked if I was OK being a nice guy. The exchange kind of went like this.

“Are you OK?”

“GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!”

I thought he was just being a dick. I didn’t realize that he was trying to settle down the situation. Zach walked back to the hotel while I limped behind him swearing to myself. We got back and I passed out. I woke up a few hours later thankfully sober (ish). You sweat that stuff out pretty quick in that kind of heat and humidity.

Zach asked if I was OK, then told me that you never EVER draw that kind of attention in another country. I completely agree with him. I made a rule that day, that I encourage you to follow. No drinking booze on the beach in the sun, it will just get you in trouble.

 

Just beer and Sangria.