So after the elephant ride everyone is excited and so we start sharing photos which at best you can see some orange in the green but it doesn’t matter because we were there, man.
And our neighbors/political friends invite us over for drinks and picture sharing.
That is I guess another thing I haven’t really mentioned. Kashmir is Muslim so there is no drinking and lots of meat. Dharamasala is a lot like Berkeley, you can get anything there if you know where to go but the air has a faint hint of pot. Rishikesh is solely vegetarian, no drinking and the air reeks of cannibus. Corbett is all vegetarian, no smoking, no drinking, no loud noises and in bed by 9:30. We haven’t much bothered with drinking except for wine with dinner one night in Dharamasala.
But that’s how much our friends have bribed the staff here. Not only do they have bottles of whiskey but they had the kitchen staff cook them chicken–which is a big deal in a vegetarian area.
On a side note: If you are reading this you probably already know that I am a very sociable, outgoing person and like to make friends when I travel–which can sometimes be misconstrued as flirting which has caused some, thankfully, minor issues in the past. What you might not know is that Kris is pretty introverted and doesn’t really like (in general) the awkwardness of meeting and socializing in groups of strangers. So I’ve toned it down a bit in deference to the happiness of all involved. But I absolutely could not turn down a drink with a member of parliament an his friends after both they made my Indiana Jones fantasy come true and they offered me whiskey.
So we hung out with his crew which we’ll just refer to as VJ and the p-funk all stars (because names are changed to protect the not-so-innocent) and had a drink or 3.**
What was hilarious is the fact that while we were in his room the manager of the park and a bunch of other staff came to pay their respects and offer them crazy things, partially for our benefit I’m sure. But they were brought whiskey and chicken and were totally loud and we were offered the world and we were told tales by the staff about how his heroism save our elephant ride and that we were extremely lucky to get it when we did because there was no way we were going to get another elephant ride–because even VJ’s influence had limits.
I could see the rumor mill starting though from the looks and whispers of the visiting staff already, the american girls are drinking with the don you know what that means…
Everyone was married except for me and another guy so it was all innocent fun but of course he and I were sitting next to each other laughing at our language problem and the next thing you know it’s 10 pm and were all still drinking and laughing. The staff is going to bed and we’re still being rowdy. Around 11 pm VJ accidentally breaks a glass and calls someone to come clean it up–which was just another attempt to show off because it wasn’t that big of a deal and I offered to clean it up to no avail. So now we’re all slightly tipsy sitting on a big bed (all 4 of them moved their beds into one room to make a massive bed we were all sitting on) and he calls a guy to come clean up a drunken party foul.
So now it was out that the American girls are sluts drinking and cavorting with the don and his friends til late at night.
We get tired say goodnight and travel the 25 feet to our room. My single friend stops by to say goodnight again and mistakenly I invite him in thinking ah what’s one more drink in the interest of an adventure? We have a drink and talk India, Kris falls asleep, there is a little misunderstanding and he then leaves very gentleman like in the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately he is spotted by another staff member leaving our room.
We wake up a 2 hours later and have safari. Everyone knows I’ve been sick so we use that as the excuse for wanting to stay in. They all know better at this point and pretty much tell us so.
Our guide comes back 30 min later at 6 am and tells us we have another elephant ride if we can be ready in 5 minutes. You’ve never seen 2 hung over, sleep deprived women get ready that fast. We get to the elephant and all the guides have gossiped. We get knowing lecherous glances from everyone we run into on staff, so despite not actually doing anything really untoward we had an elephant ride of shame.
But if you’re going to walk the walk of shame, whether deserved or not, do it on an elephant because it really fucking rocks!
**and FYI we were tipsy but fully functional and capable of making and monitoring all decisions at all times–we may be stupid sometimes but we’re not morons.