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Rockin Kolkata in 2006!
2006-01-01

Just wanted to share a bit about my New Years Eve.

A few days ago I met a guy from L.A. who spoke fluent Bengali and helped me locate the FedEx office here in Calcutta. He and his friends invited me to hang out for New Years and I accepted.

But all yesterday I just kept getting blown off by them as they told me to "call us a little later...". At 10:00PM I showed up at their hotel and called them (as they suggested) and ended up waiting 45 minutes just to find they still weren't even dressed yet!

Around 10:45 I just gave up on them and wandered out into the dark garbage strewn streets feeling like a looser. I walked by a lassie stand and decided to treat myself to my first mango lassie in India. As soon as I sat down -- what can only be described as a "disco van" pulled up, a Bengali kid stuck his head out and said "You wanna go dancing?".

I was excited, confused and skeptical at the same time.
I said "what about my lassie?" as I tried to access the situation.
"Don't worry... I own this lassie shop -- its free, you no pay... Now come dancing?"
It turned out to be true and the worker was instructed not to charge anyone for anything the rest of the night!

Despite what you may think, I don't believe he was gay. Finally it was the boy's open metallic purple polyester shirt and matching tie that convinced me these guys were legit -- so I jumped into the crowded van and we were off!

Dance floor We cruised through the streets for a few miles, then into the parking lot of a hotel. We drove through a crowd of people, stopped at the door and I was immediately whisked through the crowd, up the red carpet, and past the doormen who stepped aside for purple shirt man. We took an elevator to the top floor, and when the doors opened I saw hundreds of locals dancing their heads off. Some French DJ was spinning.

Rooftop garden -- food, drinks and lots of colored lights. One floor up I found a rooftop garden overlooking the city with drinks and food. I was totally under-dressed, but no one seemed to care. Everyone wanted to talk to me -- I felt like a total VIP as I drank my glass of Royal Stag whisky!

There were a few other foreigners there and we were assigned several bodyguards and instructed to tell the organizer if we had any problems. I spent the night bouncing between the action-packed dance floor and the rooftop. A local television station filmed some of my disco moves.

Around 3:00AM, a chauffeur drove me back to my crusty backpackers hovel.
And that was that!

I still have a lot to tell you guys about my time in Darjeeling and Sikkim, but this was much more urgent I think.

I wish you all the best of luck for 2006!

-Jonathan


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