We were blessed to have Bethany’s brother Seth visit us at the end of September. He was in the country for three weeks for professional reasons, providing musical events for some ministries in South India, and was able to finagle a short hop up to Mussoorie before flying back to the States. He came at just the right time: at the end of monsoon and coinciding with our quarter break. We of course shopped in the bazaar, walked the chukkar, and worked in a little hike to Flag Hill.
One of the highlights was taking Seth out on the scooter on a little excursion to some neighboring towns and villages. We probably had 600lbs on that little 125cc, and the locals seemed to get a kick out of seeing three giant white people riding Indian-style.
We rode out to Himalayan Weavers and then decided to find lunch at Sicoli, a little collection of chai stalls and subhzi shops at the junction of three roads. We sat on the back deck overlooking the still-lush Garwhali hills, where about 8 or so Indian men were eating and smoking. After we sat down, one of them suddenly sat at our table but didn’t say a word. Soon the others gathered around, and before we knew who they were or what we were celebrating, a bottle of whiskey appeared and they began to pour us shots.
I declined at first, being that I was not only driving, and toting not one, but two close relatives on the back of my scooter. This was not persuasive to them. “We too are driving!” they cried, as if to point out how little one had to do with the other. I might as well have said I couldn’t drink because Siberia is cold. They seemed very keen on liquoring us up; as soon as anyone dipped below the halfway mark, the whiskey wallah was urgently summoned to top it off.
When our food arrived, the men simply helped themselves to it, then insisted on ordering more. Eventually, some introductions were made. They were on a business visit to the nearby forestry office and had a lunch break. What better time to gorge oneself on dal, roti, mixed veg subhzi, and whiskey? “Come into the forest with us!” they urged with laughter, as if the party would continue there. We laughed back and politely declined.
Eventually, we all laughed our way out to the road to get the obligatory pictures of white tourists. They picked up the bill for the entire meal (drinks included) so who were we to complain? Then with a few hoots and more laughter, they piled into a car and took off for the forestry office, leaving us standing in the road shaking our heads in disbelief.
On the way back we stopped for chai and found a tiny kitten shivering on the table.
Here are a few videos documenting the epic weekend: