Me In A Club?

June 24, 2008 - Bangalore, India

This might be a really short entry, or it might not. It’s about a specific event, but it’s also another India entry… We’ll see!

On our last night in India we all got dolled up and went out clubbing. It was beaucoup fun. The place we went was in a nearby hotel called Lelah Palace. It was maybe a 5-10 minute walk from the ThoughtWorks office, but I don’t think any of us had been there yet.

There is a reason it is called a palace. It is huge and gorgeous. They say it is a seven star hotel. I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t doubt it. I think I heard the rooms are $400 US a night, which is a TON of money over there!

Here’s a free tip from me to you based on all my worldly travel. If you find yourself in a place where the standard of living is less than what you are used to, and you find yourself about to pay more for something than you would in your home country… STOP! You are not experiencing the place you are visiting. At all. There is none of the local culture there. There is what they think you want to see of the local culture, but mostly it is a bizarre imitation of your home. My advice is instead to spend half as much for twice as long, and you’ll have four times the experience!

They also had an all you can eat, all you can drink champagne brunch. I heard it was truly decadent. There were people that wanted to go. It was $50 US per person. I think it was the only outing I said no to during the entire time I was there. Again… why would I pay significantly more for something over there than I ever would back home?

So anyway, it was our last night, and out we go to the Palace for a night of fun. Now I mentioned we all got dressed up, but we were a very diverse group, and we had extremely different views of what that meant. I can’t imagine what people thought of our group as we walked down the street and into the fanciest club in the third largest city in a country with over a billion people.

So what did we look like? It was total chaos, we looked like the village people. There were people from the eastern hemisphere wearing western clothes, westerners wearing eastern clothes… One guy, a fair haired Brit, I’ll call him Bond, showed up in his brand new fancy-pants tailored suit… He looked great. I was wearing my knee length dark red silk kurta, which could be mistaken for a dress… but it isn’t one. Really. Under it were the puffy pants that came with it… A couple of the American girls were wearing their beautiful new saris… Indians were wearing what I might go out in in the US… A goth woman was all gothed-out in boots and black… A black woman with dreadlocks was dressed ‘normally,’ but there aren’t a lot of black people in India… Finally there was the Asian-Australian girl in "goin’ out" clothes who we couldn’t let walk by herself, and really couldn’t even walk with in a group.

Woah.

One of the things I was acutely aware of as we entered the club was the plethora of candles. Now I may not spend much time in clubs… ok, you can stop laughing… I don’t spend any time in clubs. But I do know that fire, darkness, surely some drugs, loud thumping music, spinning lights, convulsive dancing, and densely packed drunk people do not make for a good mix. In fact it kind of reads like a modern list of the 10 plagues.

Now I say I was acutely aware of the candles because I was wearing a flowy silk garment which I certainly wasn’t used to, and dancing and wiggling all over the place, and the candles were on the knee-height tables all around. Knee-height candles and knee length flowing silk are not friends. And other than the severe burns which were my primary concern, I also wasn’t too keen on walking home naked either… I wasn’t exactly dressed in layers.

The candles weren’t exactly adding ambiance either, so I really just couldn’t figure it out. What kind of an idiot would have put them there? But by then I should have known.

There we were, THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP… … … s i l e n c e… … … and mostly dark. The power had gone out, along with the music and the spinning lights. Which of course, reminds us that the only thing worse than a crowd of drunken dancers packed in to a club with exposed flame is a crowd of drunken dancers packed into a pitch-black club, flame or no flame. Suddenly I was extremely appreciative of the genius who had thought to put the candles there.

Then, a few minutes later, they must have gotten a generator running, because there was some power. So, what do you do when you are the coolest club in town and the power goes out, and then you get some (but not all) back? You turn the music, but not the lights back on, of course! Because you can’t be a club without thumping music, but who needs to see?

So, what do you do when you are the coolest club in town and you don't have any lights? You set the bar on fire! The bartenders poured hard alcohol along the length of the bar and then lit it, setting the alcohol ablaze (but fortunately not the bar itself) in a spectacular (-ly dangerous) show. Then, because apparently that was only kind of cool, the bartenders lit the ends of bottles on fire and started twirling them around in a fiery sort of dance (ala Cocktails). Woah.

All in all, a fun and interesting night!

Make sure you take a look at the video I took and uploaded to this site!

Take away lesson: sometimes fire and alcohol are a good mix.


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