Guess what came after Bangalore?
It’s peanut butter Delhi time! Peanut butter Delhi time! Where he at? Where he at? There he go! There he go!
By the time I arrived in Delhi, the hangover from hell had somewhat subsided but was still lurking in the background. I declared that all I wanted to make me feel better was a fresh pineapple juice and a tuna maki. Is that too much to ask? The answer is yes. We were in India not Japan.
Thanks to Mark’s generosity, I was really looking forward to Delhi after our questionable hotels in Bangalore. Unprompted, he had decided that he was going to splurge for a 5 star hotel to give us a reprieve from the unexpecteds of India. Thank you very much sir!
Accordingly, instead of being jerked at the airport, our hotel provided a driver to take us to the safety of the Metropolitan Hotel in northern Delhi. While I’d like to give you some great first impressions of Delhi all I remember is we passed the hotel Obama stayed at, passed the President’s estate, passed India Gate and I didn’t puke.
A while later, after a bomb check under the car, putting our bags through an xray and walking through a metal detector, check in was completed and we were shown to our room. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition we had a large bed and a cot, a television, working air conditioning, wifi and the piece de resistance – a shower that had glass doors separating it from the toilet. I nearly cried tears of joy.
For the sake of truly relaxing, I got onto my laptop and onto facebook and got in touch with Bose, a friend of friend who had agreed to play tour guide and show me the best sides of Delhi. Hoping to meet up with him the following day while I used day one of Delhi to sleep off the hangover, I gave him our hotel number. He called back almost immediately to tell me he was coming to pick me up at my hotel later that evening. Shit!
Priorities being what they are in my life, we checked out the hotel restaurant directory and I swear someone upstairs likes me. There was a Japanese restaurant in our hotel. While it was closed for lunch, we were able to grab a quick dinner there before Bose came to pick me up. And they also had pineapple juice. Risa:1 Hangover: 20
A bit later, Bose drove up to the hotel. He asked if there was anything I was particularly in the mood to do and having come from Japanese I was ready for some “omakase” or translated “I’ll leave it to you.” First stop, The Park Hotel. Or as my friends put it, you just met this guy and your first stop is a hotel. Harlot.
Driving up to the Park Hotel, aside from the intensive security check, I could very well have been in Miami. The hotel had a modern sleek design with white and bold colored furniture with LED lighting and western dressed patrons milling about between the two restaurants. Bose seemed to know literally everyone at the hotel and we headed into a club behind the restaurant where they were playing American hip-hop.
He asked me what I would like to drink and not wanting to be a pain in the ass I went with my standard, “I’ll have whatever you’re having,” and hoped he wasn’t a scotch drinker. He wasn’t, but apparently a light drink was a boilermaker – half a beer and a shot of Jack Daniels. FML. Although I wasn’t able to chug it, I was able to hold it down and then the bartender came over with some shots. Absolut was sponsoring the party and he had created some shots using Absolut and Indian spices which I was too intrigued to turn down. Sorry liver.
After that, it was onward to Aqua another bar in the same hotel. And if I thought I was in Miami before, at this point I completely forgot I was in India. There was a lit pool in the middle of the club surrounded by large white cabanas. There was a large bar, and girls in tight skirts and shorts and heels were dancing to house music. I was so happy I had another drink. The next stop was Khan Market for some Asian-Indian fusion food at Mamagoto because – well, that was obviously what was appropriate to eat for and Indian and an Asian chick getting dinner.
The next stop Bose said was somewhere special. We pulled into a seemingly dead street in a dead neighborhood and walked toward what looked like a small apartment building. Bose entered a code into the security box and led me inside. Was this the part where the stranger I knew only through the internet was going to kill me in some back alley of Delhi?
Nope. Bose had brought me to probably the coolest bar in all of India, PCO (Pass Code Only). We walked past the bathrooms whose doors were designed to look like British telephone booths and up to the VIP bar. There were wood floors and large comfortable looking leather couches. A bartender in a button down shirt and black suspenders was shaking a drink. Bose pushed back a bookshelf/mirror and there was another secret room set for dinner. On the other side there was a cigar room. We went back down two floors, past black and white photos of celebrities, and quotes they had made about drinking and into the basement bar. I swear I was back in New York City. Wooden floors, old fashioned photos, leather couches and chairs, jazz music, wine barrels that doubled as tables and large wooden communal tables. And of course delicious custom made, perfectly done, classic cocktails with a fresh array of ingredients. HEAVEN.
It was a perfect western night out in Delhi, and I know some of you are judging me for coming all the way to India to describe an entire night out that very well could’ve been in the United States. Take it as you will, but despite adjusting to the many differences of India, it was still stressful to constantly encounter so many new things on a daily basis. Judging me for enjoying a night of comfortable familiarity after almost a week in India is like throwing me in a pool of ice water and expecting me not to enjoy a hot shower. Suck it haters. Bose – you’re the best!
The next day we planned some more “authentic” (I loathe that word in reference to travel) activities and started our day by meeting up with Bose for lunch. He took us to Gunpowder in Haus Khas Village for lunch which was a super cute trendy neighborhood with lots of restaurants, shops bars and rooftops. The goal of the meal was to make us eat with our hands which was not hard when the food was as delicious as it was. I even ate and enjoyed chicken korma which has coconut milk and I HATE coconut milk. After that we walked around a bit and then did some pre-Holi shopping at Delhi Hut Market and Khan Market to get a kurta (traditional Indian shirt) for the color festivities the next day. After some searching, we were able to find them cheap at Delhi Hut which had tons of trinkets (jewelry, notebooks, scarves, bags, etc, etc) and souvenirs. Bring it on India, we’re ready for what we came here for, let’s go Holi!