Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Closer to India & Anthony Bourdain

My India trip is nearing and I wanted to follow up on my previous posts and my readers' comments.

We recently went to see Anthony Bourdain speak in Philadelphia and got a signed copy of his book, "No Reservations. " This book is a collection of photographs and commentary of his global travels. Here is an excerpt of his thoughts on India, which I think are quite accurate:

"There are two types of visitors to India: There are those who quickly find themselves frustrated, irritated, frightened of the food and water, intimated by the great masses of humanity, overwhelmed by the all-too-evident poverty, ground down by the heat and the crowds, perplexed by the behavior of Indians..."

"Others, like me, are charmed... You have to redefine words like 'beautiful,' 'magnificent,' and 'gorgeous' when you travel through India... I love India. I just don't know whether I can handle India. Whether I can wrap my tiny brain around its past, its present or its future. "

By the way, Bourdain's speech and question/answer session was such a blast. We had awesome seats in 2nd row and felt very close to him. He's exactly the same in person - open, politically incorrect, easy going, and friendly, though he spent a bit of time bashing vegetarians and Rachel Ray. At the time, I could not think of a question to ask him. Later in the day, I had my "esprit d'escalier" - French phrase for the witty afterthought that hits you on the staircase. My comments for him were regarding vegetarians. He feels they are rude because they refuse to eat certain foods and it can be disrespectful in cultures where a poor family proudly gives you the only pork or rodent they have. You can't refuse. I can respect that. However, I don't think that should be targeted to vegetarians only, but to any closed-minded person. I know people who would happily eat a whole pig on a stick, but a plate of hummus freaks them out.

The coolest part of Bourdain is that he does all the stuff typical Western travel show hosts do not do. In India, he's sitting on top of a bus with all the common folks.. he and his camera crew indulged in bhang. He wears his sense of freedom on his sleeve.

1 comment:

RetroB said...

enjoy your upcoming trip, i look forward to reading about your travels!
happy holidays too... here is a slideshow greeting I think you might enjoy posting on indigo bubbles & sharing w/ family and friends! www.rocketxl.com/pampers/