Hola Amigos! Sorry for taking so long to blog about Sevilla, but we’ve just been having too much fun!

The bus finally arrived in Sevilla around 8pm, ending our ridiculously long day and 7-hour bus journey. After unpacking our bags and sorting out who’s stuff was who’s for what felt like forever, we all begin searching for our new residencia padres! All of the house moms and families were waiting at the bus stop to greet us, and it was really entertaining watching people walk around awkwardly asking strangers their names. I loved seeing people find the right person, and watching both parties get extremely excited and the best part was we American boys trying to do the traditional kiss-kiss that the country is famous for. After a while of aimlessly wandering, and meeting the girls living in our residencia we finally found our host mom Rosa Saenz!

Mis Padres! Norberto y Rosa

Rosa is the sweetest lady ever, and we all got so lucky to have her as our house mom and be living in her residencia. We somehow managed to stuff 12 peoples bags into a mini-van, and then began walking over towards our residencia. As we were crossing the sweet river we live by, the first thing Rosa says to us is “Sevilla es Loco, much fiestas!!” Which translates to Sevilla is crazy, lots of parties. With that one sentence, we all knew it was going to be a good semester haha. After about a 10 minute walk, we arrived at our residencia which is located in the the Los Remedios neighborhood, on calle virgen de la Victoria. We really lucked out as our residencia is extremely centrally located, with tons of eateries, shops, and bars all over the place and is very close to the river and the center of the city. There are 12 total students living in our residencia, 6 boys and 6 girls and we all get along great.

On the walk over Rosa eased many of our initial concerns, by informing us that she did have wi-fi internet and hot water. The residencia is 2 floors, that are basically divided into two different apartments. Me, Nick, Mike, Robby, and our host mom Rosa and her 15 year old son Roberto live are on the first floor (second floor in US). Everyone else is upstairs, and it is pretty cool as we basically have an own apartment to ourselves upstairs including a kitchen, which is sweet. As a result, we start most of our evening festivities upstairs before heading on out to the town. The first night, after getting settled into our respective rooms we were greeted with a delicious spaghetti dinner Rosa had made for us. She is so considerate, and thought that an American meal the first night would help us feel at home.

Family Dinner!

Once we completed dinner and unpacked our bags, we decided we should go out to check out the city. Our buddies Lucas and Scott from U of Michigan lived upstairs, so we grabbed them and headed on out to explore the city. On a side note, when I went to see Lucas and Scott’s place I realized they lived with Anna Duque, who was my friends Chris and Jeremy’s house mom when they studied abroad with API last year. Chris and Jeremy are great guys who played a major role in my decision to study abroad in Sevilla with API, and as a result I was pretty excited to meet their house mom, and even saw their picture from last year on the wall!

Me with Anna Duque

That night, we headed to a bar Jeremy and Chris had recommended to us called Alambique, which has quickly turned into our favorite local bar in our short time so far. The first thing we noticed was incredibly cheap everything was, with drinks being only 1 euro, which has resulted in my friends ali and Marlena to drunkenly repeat dollar euro drinks to everyone they can see haha. We weren’t planning on staying too late that evening, but the girls from the residencia on our street showed up, and after a few tequila shots it just turned into a full fledged party.

Everyone out the first night at Alambique!

First Day

The next morning, we had to wake up really early for a 9:30am bike tour of the city. This was notably more difficult than anticipated, thanks to the prior evenings rather rowdy festivities. The entire group met up and we all grabbed our respective bikes and we were off to embark on our 2 and a half hour tour of the city. I was amazed how many girls kept reiterating their fears about not remembering how to ride a bike, but ollie like usual calmed them down with his wise words of wisdom saying something profound like “well, riding a bike is like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it” haha. The city is incredibly biker friendly, and even has a bike sharing system for 20 euros or so, which we’re all going to get. There are bike lanes literally throughout the entire city, and the tour was incredible. It felt great to ride a bike after so long, and taking in the sights and sounds of Seville was amazing. There is also this majestic palace looking place called alcazar which we all stopped at as well.


At one point, we stopped in this really nice park with tons of pretty white pidgeons everywhere. Our program director, Marta, asked if anyone wanted to go feed the birds. Naturally, Nick and I were the first two to move skeptically forward and decided to try and feed the birds. I bought a bag of bird seed for 1.50 Euro, and the madness had begun. The second I opened the bag, about 100 pidgeons flew up, at, and all over us eating the bird seed out of our hands and resting on our head, shoulders, knees, and toes. We were having a blast, and seeing our enthusiasm others in the program quickly joined. It was an incredibly memorable and fun experience, and was really glad we had an opportunity to play with the tight birds.

Nick and I going to check it out

Everyone with the birds

There are beautiful Orange trees all over the place, and magnificent architecture around every corner. Sevilla is honestly one of the coolest and prettiest cities I have ever been to. I am amazed every second I walk outside that I am living here. I love it.

Triana, the neighborhood right next to ours.

The weather has been pretty good so far, ranging from about 65 during the days to around 45 at nighttime. It is supposed to get much warmer in the coming weeks and months, so can’t wait for that. After the bike tour, we got back to our house and had another hearty meal, and then thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon siestas. Siestas (Naps) are such a great concept, and somewhat necessary as you need the rest to recover from coming back home at 5am every night. The entire city literally shuts down everyday from 2:30 – 4:30pm, which was somewhat frustrating when we were trying to get our phones. Speaking of which, Me nick and Ollie have been bumming hardcore and still need to pick up phones. This is the longest I can remember being without a phone, as it’s been about a month including my time in India. It was somewhat liberating at first, but has just become annoying at this point as everyone keeps asking for numbers and I have nothing to give them.

Anyhow, we all lazed around and rested up for the madness that awaited. After a little pregaming upstairs, we went to Alambique again and then headed to a discoteque called Rio Latina. Rio Latina was wild, and put the thirsty turtle to shame. We all had an insane dance party, then walked the girls back to their residencia. We went upstairs to check their spot out, and for some reason all 7 or 8 of the girls that were with us couldn’t manage to get in with their keys, as there was something wrong with the lock. I went downstairs to let Nick into the building while we were trying to figure a way in, and when we came back up, to my surprise everyone was already inside. Turns out that Hirsh decided it would be a good idea to scale the building and just climb up to their balcony on the 3rd floor and that’s how we got in. Absolutely ridiculous haha. We all hung out for a while, watched Sam do a hilarious rap and fall over, and then finally got back home and passed out around 7am.

Day Two

We spent pretty much all of Saturday afternoon lazing around, napping, and recovering from the night before. We all wanted to grab some groceries of our own to snack on, so we headed to the local Aldi’s as it’s reputed as one of the worlds cheapest grocers. This Aldi did not dissapoint. Beer was something like 1.45 euro’s for a six pack, and handles and bottles of wine ranged from ridiculously low prices of 3-6 euros. Since we get 3 meals a day, all we will basically be spending money on is alcohol and trips all over Europe, so finding out just how cheap booze was here was definitely a pleasant surprise.

After a nice dinner with a couple glasses of wine, and a quick shower we started getting ready to go out once more. We’ve been drinking nice wines with dinner, and although I’m not the biggest red wine fan I’m hoping I will have acquired a taste for it by the end of the trip. That night, we were going to a party that Discover sevilla was throwing for all the new international students studying in Sevilla. Discover Sevilla is an organization, which organizes affordable and fun trips and excursions all over Europe for students studying in Sevilla. They have a sweet trip to Lagos, Portugal that we’ve heard is incredible so will likely be going on that one. I heard last year that the entire program went and it was one of the wildest weekends people had ever had. There’s also a cool trip to go across the Sahara desert, and to go to Carnival for the night, so will look into those as well. Anyhow, after a few drinks at our place the gang all headed off in search of the party. We walked the wrong way a couple times, as we’re still feeling our way around the city but eventually found the party.

It was one of the craziest parties I have ever been to. It was located in this strange outdoor area, right by what seemed to be a gym of some sort which you had to enter if you wanted to use the restroom. It was a wild, loud atmosphere, and there were tons of API kids everywhere. As we got there everyone seemed to be pretty drunk and excited to see us, and it felt like it was going to be an awesome night. Discover Sevilla was providing everyone with free “Sangria” that night. It was more like a Spanish version of Jungle Juice, as they were just pouring handles of cheap vodka in the giant bucket all night, but it tasted delicious so no one knew, and those who did weren’t complaining.

They had set up drinking games such as beer pong, civil war, and flip cup for us all to play. We played flip cup with Sangria, in what turned out to be the wildest, most fun drinking game I think I’ve ever experienced. We were playing on giant ping pong tables, so there were about 15 people on each side squished together and had some epic games. A girl in our residencia said “I don’t play drinking games, but that was insane. I felt like I was watching the World Cup or something crazy like that!” in referral to the explosion of noise that occurred after a team won. After our team won one game, I started a Maryland “Hey, You Suck” chant which was a lot of fun.

Awesome winning team

By the time we were all ready to leave, the Sangria had hit us all hard. It must have been incredibly amusing watching this huge group of 75 of us, stumbling down the street living up to every American stereotype of being loud, rowdy, obnoxious drunks haha. The night was a blur from that point forward, but after the party we all headed off to a bunch of different bars all over the place. Our friend Chelsea Gentzler is studying abroad with us in Sevilla, but with another program so we hadn’t seen her in the city yet. Nick and I ran into her at one of the bars we were at, and had one of the most epic hugs and safe to say it was a terrific reunion. We spent the rest of the night hanging with Chelsea and the gang, and then made our way back to the residencia at some point.

Day Three

I was really tired when we had gotten back the night before, and just passed out on top of the bed. I woke up at 8am to Rosa putting the covers on top of me, as I had fallen asleep without them on. She is the cutest, sweetest lady ever!

We were all extremely tired from the wild evening we had the night before so spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out. I decided to go on a run with Sean and Ollie in the afternoon and it turned out to be a great decision. I hadn’t gone running in months, and was pretty skeptical about going on one but figured it could be fun. I was wearing my toe shoes (Vibram Five Fingers), and don’ t think I’ve ever had more fun running around a city. I was jumping all around, jamming to some great tunes and taking in the incredible views the city has to offer. Felt as though I was a little kid running around barefoot, and Seville was my gorgeous, giant playground. We ran through this park called la parque de Maria Luisa, and it was straight up enchanting. There were amazing orange trees all over, and just incredible sights in every direction. I felt as if I was in Alice in Wonderland, but it was even better because it was Sahil in Sevilla.

The program and city has exceeded all of my expectations thus far, and it has just started. I’m still having difficulty coming to grips with the fact that we haven’t even begun classes yet, and will be here for another 4 months. If you are considering studying abroad, DO IT!

First Days in Spain!

First Day

The first day in Spain, after our treacherous travels to get to Madrid we finally arrived at the hotel. Literally, as I entered the hotel ran in to the Maryland Crew as they were heading out and we went to grab some delicious sangria in Plaza Mayor, which is an amazing open square that has tons of crazy stuff going on. There was a funky fat dude wearing a spiderman costume who just took pictures with tourists all day, which was pretty entertaining. There were also these two guys making the biggest bubbles that I have ever seen which was fun to watch. After the plaza, went to grab a Mahou beer at a café, then we went back to the hotel for our first meeting.

Plaza Mayor

Sangria at Plaza Mayor!

We went to the later of the two meetings, and as they went over the rules and regulations we couldn’t help but laugh as we had already broken what seemed like 7 rules, and the sangria may have had something to do with it. The hotel we were staying in was called Hotel Moderna, and was really nice and centrally located in the heart of Madrid. The hotel was really nice, and we just shared rooms with our future roommates in Seville so Hirsh and me had room. We got to meet a bunch of people from our program and everyone seemed really cool.

Hotel Moderna

Our Room

A lot of people were going out that night, but was real beat from the flight so just had a couple drinks and called it a night. At the end of the day was real happy to have finally arrived in spain. The program API (Academic Programs International) has been real legit, and the people we’ve met have been even better.

Madrid Mania

Woke up around 9:30 and headed down to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel buffet. Around 10:30am, the entire program was taking a walking tour of the city. Naturally, the other 4 Maryland kids slept in so I was the only one who made it for the walking tour. We had a guide take us around the city and show us a bunch of the cool places, and got to meet some more people on the program and took far too many pictures as usual.

Tour guide con new api amigos

We went to this awesome marketplace, which had tons of fresh food everywhere and every type of cheese and ham that you could think of. We also went to the royal palace which was sweet, and a bunch of other really interesting places.



Royal Palace

Tight Horsemen

Real Official

Field Trip!

After another quick nap, we had to go as a group to the Prado museum at 3:15. We went to grab a bite at a doner kabob place called Istanbul which was delicious, and then headed back to the hotel to meet up with the group. Unfortunately, the group meeting time was moved up to 3pm so everyone had already left without us. The museum was only about 10 minutes away from where we were staying so we power walked there and had to go through the visitor entrance and pay. As we wandered around the museum looking for the group, and taking in the cool art we finally caught up with everyone as they were entering from the group entrance, and were greeted with some confused faces haha. After the tour of the museum, we went back to the hotel to hang out but on the way crossed this incredible group of musicians. We got back to the hotel, and as we left to go out for the evening saw another cool group of musicians.

Awesome Band

Crazy Floating dude, we saw a bunch of crazy things!

Statue Man

This one got me real confused, Winnie the Pooh?

Tight Mariachi Band

We pregamed in our room with a couple of our new friends, and then headed out to see the nightlife in Madrid around midnight. It was Insane! Throughout the city, there are these random club promoters who wander around the popular areas and hand out these cards, which allow you free entrance to the bars, and free shots and stuff as you get there. At first we thought they were kind of sketch, but we took the cards and turned out to be a great decision. We started out at this random bar, and ran into everyone from API, which was a really good time. After a few drinks and some good times, we headed to a discoteque and that’s when things got reall weird. Had the most epic 3 hour dance party at the discoteque with some new and old friends, and then headed back to the hotel around 5am. Safe to say, the first night out in espana was a success.

El Escorial

Had to wake up real early in the morning around 10ish or so to go to a meeting in the morning to learn more about Sevilla and our classes and everything. The meeting was pretty funny as everyone was so hung over, with people falling asleep and dying for water. We found out our residencia location because they gave us a city map, and we have a great spot. It is extremely centrally located in an area called los remedios, and right by the river and metro stop. After the meeting, we went and grabbed lunch and then took another quick nap to prepare for our day trip. That afternoon, we went to this sweet monastery called El Escorial, that was about an hour away. We spent the day there, and had a good time checking everything out.

El Escorial!

Beautiful Outdoor area

Cool Trees

Amazing Views

White Swann

Once we got back to the hotel, we grabbed dinner at Istanbul again. I got a delicious Lamb wrap thing, and it came with a cool glass that’s come in handy so far. Everyone was pretty tired from the day’s activities and the night before, and had to be up really early so decided not to go to the bars again. Instead, we all went to a Turkish hookah bar with some nueva amigos for a real fun chill evening.

On the way, Tio Pepe!

Everyone at the Hookah Bar!

Crazy guy that gave the girls and mike flowers, but came back and took them away 5 minutes later when we didn’t buy anything.

Amigos with the giant hookah’s

They only had apple-flavored hookahs, so we got one of those along with a giant tower of Sangria and hung out for a while. After a second tower of sangria and some good times, we all called it a night in preparation for the long night ahead.

Day 4 – Toledo and onwards to Sevilla!

Woke up real early and packed all of our bags as we prepared to head off to Toledo for the day, and then the 7 hour busride to Sevilla!

Everyone all ready to go

Giant Moon

It took about an hour to get to Toledo, and was really glad we went. The city is really cool, as it is a city that is surrounded by fort like walls. We had to take escalators up to get into the city, and it was incredibly foggy and chilly out as that day started so was kinda hard to see anything. Toledo was really cool, and we had a guide who led us around the entire city for a couple hours. The city was beautiful, and so were the places we visited. Unfortunately, some of the places that we visited didn’t allow you to take pictures, so I had to develop a sneaky methods of snapping some pictures of the gorgeous places throughout the day.

Entering the city

Longg Stairs

Toledo is also regarded as the sword capital of the world, and apparently the sword that Aaragon and other characters form Lord of the Rings used.

Cool Swords

Aaragon’s sword on the left (Silver one not in the middle)

We also saw some cool harry potter symbols

It also has a bunch of awesome curvy ally ways that are fun to walk through.

Only problem is that since the alleys are so small, makes things weird when cars are trying to get through with you on the road.

Once we had finished our guided tour of the city, we went to the gift shop before we decided to head back. Nikita and I wanted to send postcards to people back home, and saw that the prices were a little cheaper at the store next door so we headed over there. Our friend Alyssa joined us in the store, and we spent some time shopping around. I bought a sweet backscratcher for 3 euros, which has been coming in handy all the time as I tend to scratch my back more than most haha. We waited on Nikita to buy a pocketknife she wanted as well, and then the three of us turned around to head out of the store.

Awesome Backscratcher!

Turns out that while we were in the store, we managed to ignore the fact that the other 75 people on the trip had already headed back. We had taken a 2 hour walking tour, and there a million streets that all looked the same so we it was safe to say we had no idea where to go. Mini Monica (Nikita) was all confident that she knew where she was going and said follow me so we did. Turns out nikita wasn’t as directionally gifted as she thought, and we had no idea where we were going but we ended up stumbling on an incredible view.


Lost Buddies

We had been separated from the group for a good while, and were starting to feel a little nervous that we needed to find everyone. Luckily, Alyssa had a phone so she called someone with the group, and they gave us vague directions on how to get back which amounted to find a McDonalds. It must have been quite amusing for the Spaniards watching the 3 americans walking around asking for a McDonalds in broken Spanish. Finally, we ran into our search crew of Hirsh and Juan and finally got back to the bus. We were greeted with sarcastic cheers as we stepped on the bus, as everyone woke up at 8am and hadn’t eaten all day and had to wait for us but it was all in good fun. After we got on the bus, the program directors decided to do a final head counts before taking off. They counted 40 of 42 people on the bus, so the wait continued. They had a whole search crew and even the police looking for the 2 people who were missing for what felt like an eternity since we were all so hungry, but it turned out that there was no one missing all along so we finally headed off on our way.

It was about a 7-hour ride to Sevilla, and we were riding in a relatively nice coach bus. The Spanish countryside is absolutely gorgeous, and really enjoyed viewing it through the giant windows on the bus.

Spanish Countryside

We stopped at some rest stop about halfway through to grab a bite, and had a tasty beef stew meal. The restaurant was crazy, and had these funky stuffed rabbits that looked like military soldiers, which was quite an interesting site.

Crazy Rabbits

The rest stop also gave me an opportunity to finish off the API Ethiopia hat album I had been working on. My roommate, Mike Hirshhorn has a sweet hat that says Ethiopia he bought at thrift store that he was wearing and I took a picture of him. Then Marlena came in and took a picture of both of us with our crazy hats, and then decided for some reason that it would be a good idea to take a picture of everyone in the program wearing it and make an album. It started out as a joke, but actually turned out really well.

Here’s a link to the album if you’d like to take a look, I think it’s pretty amusing.

Sevilla has been incredible, and i will post some details about it soon. Hope all is well with everyone back home, keep in touch! My skype name is Sahil.Rahman1 so find me and we can skype because i’m starting to miss all your beautiful faces…and it’s free!

Buenos Noches,

Driving Brink

So was talking to my buddy jason this afternoon, and after i told him how incredible spain was he told me he released an album with our friend vikas. At first, i thought it was a joke because he and I used to play singstar pop all the time and whoop his ass, but he was serious.

The names Driving Brink, which i thought was slightly amusing at first but after he explained the origin i kinda dug it. Brinks the rode he has to drive down everyday when he’s going to make music. Anyhow, started listening to the cover of jordin sparks with Dana and it was actually really good. We had 10 of us listening to it in our apartment and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Wanted to throw a quick shout out to em for the good work. Can’t wait to see that on that Top 40 real soon haha.

They’re just starting out so everyone should definitely check it out!

Currently jamming to some dank music (Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and Jessica Simpson “With You”) with the roomies, Sevilla is awesome!

Details on the amazing time we’re having in Sevilla to come soon!



We left for Heathrow early morning around 6am to catch my 725 am flight. I checked in, said goodbye to Dad and then boarded the plane excited to reach madrid at around 10:45am. While boarding, i happened to meet a couple cool girls both named Ali, and both from Boston College, who were also studying abroad in Sevilla and another one named Janey from Amherst which was cool. It Turned out we had to wait a little bit longer than anticipated to get to Madrid. After boarding, i was really tired so i took a nap. When i woke up, to my surprise i found we were still in the exact same spot and hadn’t moved, and at this time it was around 8am. I asked around, and apparently the plane had been delayed to 9am and i figured no big deal we will be getting there soon as it is a short flight. The delay was due to lots of fog at the madrid airport. Unfortunately, the fog continued and our flight kept on getting delayed. Our flight that was originally scheduled to leave at 745am left past 12pm, so we basically had to sit on the plane for something like 4 hours before takeoff, making it about a 7 hour flight on the cramped airline. Regardless, we were all relieved when the plane had taken off and looking forward to getting to Madrid. We were all exhausted and excited once we landed, and went to get our luggage which turned out to be a whole nother ordeal.

After going through customs, which was surprisingly fast, we went to baggage claim. We stood around for about an hour, and after nothing came out we assumed the worst. We went to the iberian airlines counter, and the guy in front of us said that his bags were in heathrow, and our frustrations began to mount. Luckily, as we approached the bags started to come out and we all miraculously found ours, salvaging what had been an incredibly long and unpleasant start to our journey. We caught a cab to the Hotel Moderno, where we are staying and the about the second we walked in I ran into the Maryland crew which was great. Put my bags down, and we headed off to a restaurant to grab some delicious Sangria, which helped start the trip off right.

We had our orientation for API at 6:30 where the told us some things to expect in Spain, and then had a relatively bland dinner that was extremely long at around 8ish. Afterwards, i was beat form the long flight and the days activities so i called it a night. Madrid has been sweet, and everyone i have met so far has been great. Already so glad i chose to study abroad, and looking forward to all the adventures that await!


London for the Evening

Spent the last couple nights in London.  First night we stayed with Sadaf appa in Essex, and yesterday we stayed with Sam uncle at his place right by Heathrow.  Sadaf Appa’s baby Rumsha is absolutely adorable and a pleasure to be around.  Yesterday afternoon, we all went to grab lunch with my cousin Ruth who also lives in London which was great.  We all went to this Indian Tapas restaurant called Imli, well almost. On the walk over to Imli, we passed a Pho restaurant (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) that looked delicious and trendy. I was so tempted that i actually left Imli and grabbed some pho tai chi at Pho Cafe, which was terrific and had a great ambiance, and then returned to Imli for meal #2 of the day.

I’ve decided that I am somewhat in love with most of the woman in London, and the roaming around the city was a lot of fun.  After stopping at a cyber cafe to print out my boarding pass and some other things we went to Sam uncles for the night.  I weighed my bags, and they are both about 23 kg’s so i have a feeling i might be taking too much stuff, oh welll. I had a tasty and strong German Beer, some great curry dish, and watched a cool but disturbing Gordon Ramsey show about the illegal de-finning of Sharks.

We’ll be leaving for Heathrow in about an Hour as my flight to Seville, Spain is at 7:25.  Really excited to get over there and begin this crazy new chapter of my life, and see some familiar faces.

Let the adventures begin!


Indian Cinemas

Tonight was my last night in India. Although I’m somewhat sad to be leaving, I will most definitely not miss the Mumbai mosquitos one bit. I literally have been bitten at least 40 times in the last 4 days, and it feels as though everytime I look down at my arm, leg, or any other body part I have 3 new bites rapidly emerging. As I’m writing this, I’ve already killed two mosquitos in the room, but for some reason they never seem to completely go away. I guess I have the unfortunate gift of being a mosquito magnet. On the bright side, somewhat excited that at least something is attracted to me haha

Masi made me aloo puri for dinner, and we ordered some more dank chilli chicken to complement the meal. After dinner, Manan, Dad and I decided to go catch a movie because Manan had told us that theatres in Bombay were incredible. He wasn’t kidding. We got seats in the Red Lounge for 400 rupees, which is something like 8 or 9 bucks, and it was more than well worth it. The seats were basically giant electronically reclining sofas that were incredibly comfortable. We even got blankets, and you could ask for pillows if you liked. It was by far the most pleasurable movie-watching experience of my entire life, and if you are ever in Bombay you have to check it out.

The movie we watched was called No One Killed Jessica, and it turned out to be a great film. I am generally skeptical when it comes to watching Bollywood movies, but this was one of the few which actually had substance, was fast paced, avoided cheesy songs and had a great storyline. It was a movie based on a true story regarding a high profile murder in New Delhi. It was cool watching the movie, as I saw many of the places which I had visited the week before in Delhi on screen, and could relate to the movie much more. The movie is about how a young girl was murdered at a club in front of hundreds of people, yet the murderer, who is a politician’s son, manages to get away clean due to the corrupt nature of the country. An investigative journalist tries to bring justice to this crime, and the fact that it was based on a true story that happened so very recently in 2006 made it all the more interesting. Overall, it was incredibly well done, had a spectacular soundtrack, and provided great color in regards to the countries politicial, judicial, and police system.

It was also one of the few hindi movies I’ve seen which included copious amounts of profanity, including the words fuck and bitch, which I thought was a nice step forward from the generally conservative nature of Indian movies. Also, Rani Mukherjee did excellent job acting, and looked great while doing it. I think I may have slightly fallen in love with her.

Anyhow, it’s about 3am here so I’m about to pass out. Flight to London is tomorrow morning @ 1pm. Night Fools!

❤ Sahil


Arriving to Bombay

We landed in Bombay in the evening around 6 or so, and Manan bhaiya picked us up. We will be in Mumbai till the 15th morning when we catch a flight to London. Will spend a day in the UK, and then after that I will hop on a flight to Madrid and begin my Study abroad program. The weather in Bombay was terrific upon landing, and has remained that way throughout our stay here so far. We got a taste of Bombay traffic, which is horrendous, right away as it took us a good while to get back to Manans house. He and the family live in Andheri, which is a great place and many celebrities live nearby. Once we got back to the house, we finally got to see masi and guddu mama and hung out for a while. Dad went to meet up with some of his old friends, including some dude named Sanjeev Kapoor who has apparently started his own india version of the food network, and is the indian equivalent of emeril or any of the other celebrity chefs. At home, we ordered some Indian Chinese food, which as usual was exceptional.

Paan Experience

After recovering from the heavy meal, Manan and I headed off to try some paan. Paan is a very popular street snack type dish, which is basically a huge leaf which is stuffed with beetle juice or different flavors of things and then wrapped together. It is extremely popular in India, and people eat the entire thing in one large bite. Many people also ask for tobacco to be included in theirs, but we chose against option as it sounded far too grossly similar to chew tobacco. Anyhow, I tried two different pieces of paan, and most likely will never do so again. The first one was a pre-wrapped one which was about the size of a giant piece of sushi, had the beetle juice inside of it. The flavors were so strong and overwhelming, as they burst in your mouth with every bite, and it took me far too long to chew. I must have looked hilarious to the locals as I was making all sorts of funny faces, and eventually just had to spit it out in the trashcan. For the second one, seeing that I hadn’t liked the first flavor Manan had ordered a mint-flavored paan this time. The shopkeeper made took out a huge leaf and proceeded to make a giant paan that was much bigger than the first. I could barely fit the paan in my mouth, and thought I was going to throw up. After struggling to get it all in and chewing on it for a little, I gave up and had to spit it out once more in what turned out to be an epic paan fail for me.

Just realized how many “that’s what she said” jokes could be made about my paan story.

After Paan, we decided to take a quick drive through the city so I could get more familiar with my surroundings. We stopped at juhu beach, which was pretty cool as there were a few merchants and music playing. As we got onto the beach, you couldn’t help but notice what a ridiculous amount of trash there was littered all over the beach. It was actually disgusting, and seemed as thought no one in Bombay could find a trash can so just decided to toss it all on the beach, which was sad to see. I asked Manan why the government didn’t put trash cans everywhere, thinking that would be a quick fix to the problem, and I was shocked by his response. Apparently, the government has tried multiple times to place trashcans everywhere, but the citizens always just steal the cans within one or two days, as they sell the metal for however little money, burn the wood in fires, etc. so it is not due to a severe lack of effort.

That story only reinforced the concept that nothing is as simple as it looks in this country, as it involves such a complex network of individuals and socio-economic classes that there really is no quick fix to the variety of issues plaguing the country. Along with that, the corruption within the government is astounding. Shantaram said it best when he said that India is the only place where honest corruption takes place. The entire country acknowledges that corruption occurs and that bribes happen daily, where other countries silence such thoughts. Although it has been slowly improving (Very slowly) it is still to a point where if you are pulled over by a traffic cop, you can offer him about 100 rupees ($2) and 9 out of 10 times he will let you go. We went back home, enjoyed the Internet connection for a while, and called it a night.

Day Two – Leopolds Café and Beyond

The next day, dad and I headed towards Colaba Causeway (one of the main strips in Bombay) to meet up with his friend Ashok Sood. Dad and his friend were both going to Pune to meet up with Avinash Uncle, so we had to get to his house so dad could hang with him and take off the next day. I went along to meet up with Manan so we could go to Leopolds café for lunch. I was especially excited to go to Leopolds, as I am reading this incredible book called Shantaram, and the café is mentioned in great detail throughout the novel of epic proportions. On the way there, we stopped at a Costa Coffee (India’s Starbucks) to meet up with a family friend Raashi, who is my age. We all hung out for a bit, I had a yummy Arnold palmer tasting iced tea, and then we continued on towards colaba.

Colaba Causeway

On the drive there, I remembered and realized how cool a city Bombay is. We took the sealink, which is a new giant new bridge that was created a couple years ago, that runs entirely over the sea from one end to another, and the engineering marvel will be expanding soon. It has apparently gone a long way in improving the pathetic amounts of traffic that people deal with. Travelling in India takes so much longer than it does in the states due to poor infrastructure and roads, that it takes something like 12 hours to cover the 600km (360 miles) from Bomaby to Goa via car. Anyways, once we crossed the sealink, we drove along the coast for a while till we hit Marine Drive and then ended up parking in front of the Regal cinemas. Dad’s friend and manan both met us there, and we both went our separate ways.


Manan and I ended up driving around for what felt like forever looking for parking, but finally found a great spot right on the causeway less than 2 minutes from Leopold’s. Dad’s good friend Avinash Uncle’s daughter joined us for lunch at the café. I hadn’t seen her in over 6 years and wasn’t sure what to expect, but we got along quite well and had a great time. We started off by ordering a tower of kingfisher beer, which was cool, followed by bowls of chili chicken and beef chili chicken which did not disappoint.


Beer Tower!

As I had mentioned earlier, a main reason I wanted to come to Leopold’s was because of the book Shantaram. Shantaram is a novel written about the true story of Gregory David Roberts’s life, which I am currently reading. Basically, the book is about this guy who breaks out of a maximum-security prison in Australia, and flees to India. While in India, he goes through all sorts of wild experiences such as living in the slums, to working for the Mumbai Mafia and much more. Osker and I both got the book, and have been fascinated by the stories to a point where we’ve been struggling to put it down. The best part is how incredibly detailed and descriptive his writing style is, and as a result I already had a surprisingly accurate visualization of what the restaurant would look like. I was so excited about coming to Leopold’s for lunch, that in the morning before we left I had actually looked up Gregory David Roberts and the Shantaram website. Aside from the book, Leopold’s also had additional appeal, as it was one of the buildings targeted during the tragic attack on the Taj Hotel in Bombay a couple years back. You could actually still see the bullet holes and shattered glass in different places in the restaurant.

Bullet and a target

The three of us were having a great time, catching up, and had actually discussed the book a little during lunch. Ten minutes later, Avisa says “Ha, That guy looks just like Shantaram”. I turned around, and in unison we both repeated something to the extent of “holy shit, that is Shantaram!!” I couldn’t believe that he was actually at Leopolds, and after a couple creeper paparazzi shots, Avisa suggested we go up to get a picture with him.


We approached him, and he was incredibly friendly. Told him that I was a huge fan, and actually reading the book now and how it had enhanced my experience in India, and he seemed genuinely glad to hear it. He took a picture with me and then Avisa joined us for a group shot, and we returned to our table and tower of beer. I was so excited that Manan kept joking that he was pretty concerned that I was more excited seeing an elder male than I had been while looking at the millions of girls all over Bombay haha. On a side note, I had been disappointed by the girls I’ve seen in India so far but Bombay has definitely shown much more potential so far, and I’m guessing Bollywood being in bombay might have something to do with that.

After Leopold’s, we went to check out the Taj hotel that was attacked, and the gateway to India. I was still on a high after meeting Shantaram and we went to Avisa’s place. We took a tour of their place, which was surprisingly small. I looked at the maids room, and it stopped before it started and had to be significantly smaller than even Harry Potter’s cupboard at Dudley’s house. We hung out for a little, and met her mom and crazy dog Leo, who runs around like a chicken with its head cut off. Afterwards, we went up on to the rooftop of their building, and took in a terrific birds-eye view of Bombay.

Gateway to India

Taj Hotel

We left soon thereafter, and Manan bhaiya and I had an awesome drive back. As has becoming the usual, we were jamming in the car to old school hip-hop/rap and awesome tracks from the 90s and early 2000s that I had completely forgotten existed. It was quite an eventful drive, as we stopped along the Queens necklace, and we took in the great view of the sea. The Queen’s Necklace is a name given to what is basically a super long stretch of road and streetlights lining the ocean that is somewhat circular shaped, so that when you view it from the sky in a plane/helicopter it looks similar to the queens necklace at nighttime. The best part of the hour and half long ride back home had to be when we were crossing the sealink. Manan told me to stick my head out of the sunroof, and I figured it would be pretty chill and provide a great view. It was by far, one of the craziest most exhilarating things I have ever experienced. We must have been travelling 80 km/h with the wind gusting in my face overlooking the ocean. I felt as if I was in a video game or a movie where the main character is holding on to the top of the car while flying down the highway. Would highly recommend that everyone try that at least once, as it was quite a crazy, memorable experience.

Manan and I at the Queen’s Necklace

Day Three

The next day, Manan and I just bummed around all morning on our computers. The night before, Avisa said that her and some friends might be going clubbing so thought it would be cool to check out Bombay night life. So after a terrific lunch as usual, I hopped onto a rickshaw to Bandra to meet up with avisa and her friend Akshat who I’d met the night before. The Rickshaw ride was actually somewhat enjoyable, and I jammed to some tight reggae as I took in the sights, sounds, and Bombay breeze. I met up with Akshat and Avisa outside the café coffee day (India’s equivalent of Dunkin Donuts) and we headed off towards her house in Colaba. The sun was setting as we drove back, and watching it while crossing the sealink was pretty sweet. I asked if we could stop at the beach for a little, as I hadn’t done so during daylight yet. Turned out to be a great decision, as we found a very clean piece of beach and got to watch the sunset over the water.

Rickshaw ride


We got back to Avisa’s house, and then I strolled over to our family friends house to meet up with their daughter, Shrituka who is our age. I had met them all last year when they came to visit us in the states, so thought I would swing by and say hello. After a few minutes of small talk, Shrutika was meeting up with some friends to go somewhere for food and told me to come along. We went to this sick rooftop hookah bar/restaurant place that had a great view called Coalla. The wait was an hour though, so I ended up heading back to Avisa’s place and they went off to a place called Flamingo’s or something like that for dinner. We left as soon as I got to Avisa’s to head to her friend Zyman’s place where everyone was supposed to be meeting up. I was starving, so we grabbed a chicken showurma (excuse the spelling) that was similar to an indian gyro or burrito and was pretty tasty.

Rooftop Joant

We arrived at Zymans, and were the first two to get there. Zyman was awesome, and was glad to have met him. He was from Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia and was working as assistant vice president for a sick Malaysian company that just reinvests the Malaysian governments excess funds. He had the sickest apartment that was paid for by his company, and was overlooking the queen’s necklace. He also had a great view of the cricket stadium, which was on the other side of the roof. He and I had a couple drinks as we waited for everyone else to get there.

Epic View

The other 5-10 people arrived, and they were quite a bunch of characters. It’s definitely strange not really knowing anyone when hanging out with a close group of friends but enjoyed myself nonetheless. Zyman had an ipad, and a group of us ended up sitting on the roof terrace outside his apartment door playing this sick game called fruit ninja, in which you slice fruit and get points and a bunch of other random games. Fruit Ninja is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds, and strangely addictive. Would seriously look into acquiring it if you have an itouch/iphone/ipad because it is awesome.

Met some very unique people at this small rooftop shindig. There was this dude name hamdev or hamved or something, but everyone just called him Ham so that’s what I’m going to stick to. Ham was a wild dude, and seemed to have a portable party pack in his backpack, fully equipped a music player, which was strange but useful. He was super into European trance and progressive dark music or something like that, so for better or worse that was the soundtrack of the evening. Along with Ham, I met a crazy and extremely interesting girl named Zanskar, whose name apparently meant small explosions of music . She had a crazy past, and some of the funniest and bizarre stories I’ve ever heard. Apparently she eloped and was married at 18 while studying arts in the UK to a 27 year old half Portugese half Japanese man, who had a 4 year old daughter or something like that but they’re not what they say together anymore. So many more crazy details about that story which I can’t quite write about online, but ask me about it and I would love to share, as it was wild. Along with that, after taking a break from school she squatted in random houses all over London with some random friends. She told me that squatting is living in random houses that have been vacant and on the real estate market for over 3 months, and apparently in England this is legal which surprised me. She also told me she spent a month in Morocco doing “business” and couldn’t provide me any more details. Safe to say this girl was quite the character.

The whole night, I couldn’t help but think about how much I would have liked for those people on the rooftop to be the crew from back home, and we could have all been partying together. As the evening went on, it was kind of late so we decided to scratch the club idea as everyone was too tired, and apparently it’s ridiculously expensive. I had a beer or two, and then everyone started heading home. We dropped off Akshat, and headed back to Avisa’s place, and was quite relieved to be back. Generally never excited to get in a car with any woman, but when you sit down and she says “hope I don’t kill us” and struggles with backing out of the spot it doesn’t quite inspire confidence. My relief was temporary and evaporated instantly, as Avisa had forgotten her phone so we had to go back and get it. Her friend Ham had come back to hang with us, and said we should just hop in his car to go back. Accepting that offer easily turned out to be the worst decision of the night.

As I sat in the car, the hardcore trance and dark progressive music was overwhelmingly loud and I thought my head was going to explode, but that turned out to be the least of my worries. Ham drove like a fuckin maniac, and I legit thought I was going to die. He was flying full speed all over the place, and accelerating into last second turns with such reckless abandon that the car was basically drifting, and he was swerving the car back and forth in harmony with the blaring trance-esque music as we went. I felt like I was Jonah Hill in the scene from Get him to the Greek when Jonah had gotten into the car to buy heroine for Aldis Snow with that random dude who was blasting crazy trance techno music and going way too fast. Literally was clutching onto the handlebar in the car praying in the backseat, and was legit freaking out. Once we got stopped to pick up the phone, I told him he was scaring the shit out of me and to slow the fuck down and fortunately he listened. The drive back, although still too fast paced and techno filled for my liking, was much more relaxed and felt like I had at least a 50/50 shot at making it alive this time. I jumped out of the car the second we stopped, and took had the biggest sigh of relief that the ride was over and I had made it back in one piece. I’m Still not quite sure what joy people derive form driving in that fashion, but to each his own I guess. After the interesting, and adventure filled evening I called it a night pretty soon after getting back to their place.

Day Four

The next morning I was woken up for the second time this trip by an obnoxiously loud marching band of friends or something that happened to stop marching outside the apartments window. I went to look outside, and there were a couple men banging on Giant drums and tambourine-esque instruments, with a crowd of women dressed in bright colored sari’s following behind. The whole thing would have actually been pretty entertaining and interesting to watch had it not been going on before 9am.

I finally managed to go back to sleep, only to be woken up 30 minutes later by Avisa’s insane but adorable energizer bunny of a dog Leo, who’s incessant and surprisingly loud barks for a cocker spaniel were far worse than any alarm clock I’ve ever dealt with. After having a masala omelet for breakfast, and saying adios I headed off to Shrutika’s to meet her and her parents. Naturally, I got lost on my way over, but after walking into the wrong apartment complex and wandering around for a little I eventually found my way to their second floor home.

Crazy Leo

On a side note, the second floor is what we call the 3rd floor in the US, as they go Ground floor for what we cal the 1st floor. Also, all the houses in Bombay are actually apartments, as the price of both cars and houses are absolutely insane. A nice 3-bedroom apartment in Bombay depending on location could run you from 700,000 to over 2 million US dollars. Cars are potentially even worse, as there is a 100% tax on all imported cars. This means that a Honda Accord costs something absurd like $60,000, and a BMW 7-series will run you around $250,000. Despite these high prices, lots of people seem to drive them as many Indians nowadays have more money that they know what to do with. This issue couldn’t be more pronounced than with Mukesh Ambani, one of India’s richest men. Ambani built the most expensive house in the entire world. The house is located in the center of Bombay and cost around $2 billion to build. It has something ridiculous like 60+ floors and his monthly electricity bill is apparently around $200,000 and for a household of 4 people, he has a staff of about 600 people providing domestic help, a giant parking garage and pretty much any and everything you could think of. Makes you wonder if he could have made better use of that money, which he could have, but it is quite a sight to see.

Ambani residence on the right

Anyhow, after a quick shower at Shrutika’s we headed off to the cricket club of India to grab lunch. The cricket club was basically a beautiful members only country club but better, as it was literally built into the cricket stadium. After exploring the area for a bit, we had a great Chinese lunch at one of the restaurants within the club. After lunch, we went to see Palladium Mall, which is one of the nicest in Bombay. The mall seemed to be brand new, and had literally every brand name that you could possibly think of. We went to Zara, and Neerja Masi (Shrutika’s mom) is awesome and bought me two sweet shirts.

Cricket Stadium


After the mall, Manan picked me up outside and we began heading back towards Andheri. We had decided to go to the gym later on, but Manan took us there on the drive back, which was slightly problematic as I was still wearing my polo shorts. The gym was amazing, and located over two stories in the middle of a mall. I got a two day pass, and figured I would go about an easy workout real quick. Unfortunately, Manan had other plans. He asked one of the personal trainers to give me an hour session, and I quickly realized how out of shape I am. Thought I was going to pass out after the full body workout, but glad I did it. There was a hair salon downstairs in the gym, and I needed to get a haircut so figured I would get it there. The Salon was called Hakim Ali’s Salon or something like that and was apparently pretty famous as all the Bollywood stars and celebrities came there to get their hair did. The salon had TV screens on every mirror, a ps3 in the waiting area, and played some grooving tunes the whole time I was there. Was particularly excited when Wolfgang’s Fifth Symphony by Wolfgang Gartner came on near the end of the haircut, and had to restrain myself from breaking out dancing in fear that he would accidentally chop off some hair as I bobbed my head to the music. Hakim Ali’s son, Sarfraz, was actually the one who was cutting my hair and he was a great guy. He seemed quite disappointed that all I was looking for was a trim, as he must look forward to doing all sorts of funky hairstyles for people. Regardless, after a nice shampoo, he began to attack the bush that had been growing on top of my head. I generally hate hair cuts as they never look too great afterwards, and this one ended up looking only slightly better than usual; but it was a cool experience overall. Left the gym, and finally got to meet Manan’s fiancée Mrilnalini (Mril Mril) for a little which was nice. Then we headed back home, and after a couple episodes of dexter we called it a night. Throughout the trip, we have been travelling all over India, and visiting so many different people. As a result, I’ve woken up in so many different beds over the last 3 weeks that it’s come to the point that I wake up with no clue where I am or whose bed I’m lying in which happened this morning. Definitely looking forward to some continuity when I get to Seville.

Bombay has been great so far, and today is my last day in India. The trip has been an absolutely incredible experience and I’m so glad I ended up coming. It’s very strange to think that instead of heading back home when I hop on the plane tomorrow, that I will actually just be beginning my journey as Spain is right around the corner. I can’t wait to get over there, and it will be great to see some familiar faces in Nick, Ollie, Hirsh, Sean, etc. I’m already starting to miss everyone so stay in touch!

Seville in 3 days!


Goa Trip!

We left for Goa on the 7th morning on Kingfisher airlines. We flew out of the brand new delhi airport, which was beautiful. It just so happened that the day before, we actually had lunch with the guy that actually designed the airport. Dad said we were going to have lunch with a couple of his old friends, so we went to this delicious Chinese restaurant called Monk. When I asked his friend how he spent his time, he said that he designed airports and apparently owned a giant corporation called interarch buildings. (

Delhi Airport

Anyhow, we hopped on the plane and I was extremely impressed with kingfisher airlines. The airline, Kingfisher, which also makes the beer we have been drinking all trip is owned by this boss named Vijay Malyaa. All the airhostesses of the airline wore striking red outfits, were intelligent and attractive, and provided great service. Best of all was that they provided delicious meals on all of the flights, regardless of distance. We took 2 flights on the way, as we had a connecting one in Bangalore and were given dank meals on both despite extremely short distances. The only strange thing was that during the stopover between our connecting flight, they make you stay on the airplane for “security reasons”. As a result, we had to sit on the plane for a total of 6 hours.

I fell in love with the state about the second we walked off the plane. The weather was 80 and sunny with palm trees everywhere, and after dealing with cold weather in DC and Delhi, it felt amazing. It was about an hour drive along the gorgeous coast to our hotel. The state has a very tropical feel to it, and instantly reminded me of the Caribbean. All of the houses and buildings are fun to look at, as they are all striking bright colors such as yellow, blue, orange and purple. I was actually gifted a book called Houses of Goa, that highlights all the beautiful houses in the state so look forward to that being on the coffee table in my soon to be house next year haha

We were staying at the Marriott Resort in Miramar, and it was amazing. As you enter, you see that the lobby is a beautiful veranda overlooking the Miramar Bay. As I’m writing this, we’re actually sitting on that veranda dolphin watching listening to Buena Vista Social Club, and I’m wondering if life could possibly get better than this. After hanging out and exploring the hotel for a little, we went to the executive lounge for evening drinks. Renu aunty’s dad had a connection with a gentleman named Mr.Raiker who owned all the Marriotts in Goa or something to that extent, and as a result we received the royal treatment. We were allowed to have drinks for free every evening in the executive lounge, so Osker and I were sure to take full advantage of that. After a few drinks, we headed out to the beach to grab dinner. We ate at this restaurant named Brittos, that was on the beach and I had a delicious Goan Fish Curry with a kingfisher on the side. The décor was cool, and it was a good first day in Goa.

The second morning, we woke up to terrific weather and had a great breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. Had some delicious dosa and idli sambar, the freshest orange juice ever, and pineapple dipped in mango yogurt. Yum. The driver got to the hotel at 11, and then we were off to explore Goa. First, we went to the St.Frances Church joant, which is one of the areas top attractions. Goa is an extremely Christian state, and was actually colonized by the Portuguese way back when Vasco De Gama stumbled upon it. St.Frances’ remains are actually supposed to be still buried in the cathedral, and apparently he has an immortal body, which has somehow managed to last a gazillion years.

After checking out the cathedral, this cool religious building across the street, and a sweet fort we went to the Taj Hotel for lunch. The Taj was terrific. First off, the resort was beautiful, and we ate at a great open-air restaurant that was over looking the Arabian Sea which was incredible. To only add to the perfection provided by the views and weather, my dad informed someone that he used to work at the Taj and owned restaurants in DC, and then the royal treatment began. The executive chef of the restaurant came out to greet us, and actually ordered the best items on the menu and personally prepared them for us to ensure we had a great visit. There truly is nothing like Indian hospitality.

After our outstanding meal and experience at the Taj, we headed back to the Marriott Resort for a while. We hung out, enjoyed the sunset, and met some terrific and interesting people. We met this group of four American men from Virginia who were sitting next to us, and looked extremely worn, exhausted, and to be frank somewhat dirty. We asked them where they were coming from, and they told us they were participating in the Rickshaw Run, and had just driven for 12 hours in an auto rickshaw, which is why they looked so beat. Also ran into a group of 3 americans from Minnesota, who were also competing in the race and were just a couple years older than myself. The Rickshaw run is one of the coolest ideas and events I have ever heard of. The way it works is that 60 teams of individuals are selected to participate in this event, and are given Rickshaws to travel from the North of India near Rajasthan, all the way down to the south. They are given no directions, rules or anything of that nature, with their only instructions being that they were to try and end up in the destination city in 15 days. Absolutely ridiculous, It sounds like an incredible experience. It is put on by a website called so check it out. If anyone is interested I would love to try and do one the events at some point in the near future, so let me know! All the people we met seemed cool, and we ended up spending much more time with them the next day.

After a few drinks at the executive lounge, as became our evening routine, we decided to go to this event called the Saturday Night Bazaar, which only occurs once a week on Saturdays. It was one of the wildest market places I’ve been to, and was quite an experience. The bazaar was only open from around 11pm to 2am, but there were what felt to be a million vendors littered all over the place. The strangest part was how many Europeans, Russians, and freaky looking people were in the marketplace, and they heavily outnumbered the Indians present. We were told the Russian Mafia has a very strong presence in Goa, and it showed throughout the trip as we saw signs in the language and Russians pretty much everywhere we went. After aimlessly wandering about the maze of shops for a while, I ended up buying 3 cool elephant tapestries for about 600 rupees or 12 American dollars. We went back to the hotel, and all crashed pretty soon thereafter.

Saturday Night Bazaar

The next morning, woke up to the shining sun and perfect temperatures once more. Our room had a small balcony, so jammed to some slightly stoopid for a while out there before getting the day started. Started off with another giant breakfast consisting of omelets, dosas, and super fresh pineapple juice. Instead of going out again, we decided to just spend the day relaxing in the resort.

After getting in a quick run on the treadmill, my first in months, I headed back up and convinced oz to go swimming, which turned out to be a great idea. The pool was super refreshing. Almost as refreshing as the tasty treats the bartender began pouring us as soon as we got in the pool. We had margaritas to start, and then spent the rest of the afternoon inhaling a healthy dose of magnificent mojitos and devouring some terrific chicken tikka and our first burgers in a while. Listening to the thievery corporation playing on the poolside speakers, overlooking the ocean with drink in hand was magical.

Poolside Bar 🙂

After the pool, we went back to our rooms and showered. Showering at the Marriott felt so good, and was the first one I actually enjoyed since arriving in India. Same thing goes for sleep. We came back out to the lobby, and ran into our new friends from Virginia we had met the evening before. We all started talking, and ended up in a giant circle engaged in discussion as they recapped their stories about the rickshaw race so far and we began to familiarize ourselves with one another. 3 of the 4 gentleman we met worked at an interesting and successful financial company called Dorsey, Wright & Associates. The CEO of the company, Tom Dorsey, was among the group with us and had apparently written many books and had a very unique take on how to analyze stock market trends using the basics of supply and demand. Apparently he also used to hold the world dead weight lifting records for the 55 yr old age group. Safe to say him and his bud Skip, who played O-Line at VMI, were big dudes. Mr.Dorsey was very engaging and intelligent, and he seemed very excited about my Quest teams Open Education idea after I brought it up (, still a work in progress but it’s gonna be sweet). Per usual, we watched the sun set at around 6 or so, and then headed over to the executive lounger for drinks again, moving our new friends and conversations along with us.


After watching some of the India-South Africa cricket match and a round of drinks, we all went downstairs for dinner outside. There were a total of 9 of us at the table and we had a great meal. After dinner, and a few more drinks we all sat around for a while having spirited discussions spanning all sorts of topics, and thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company. As it began to get late, we said our goodbyes and wished them the best of the luck on the rest of their journey as everyone headed to bed. Everyone except for me and one pratrick Reynolds that is..

For me and prem, the party had just begun. We changed into pants and headed over to the casino as you only had to be 18 to get in. Cover charge was 500 rupees but drinks were all inclusive so we more than made our money back. After checking out the Casino, we wound up at the blackjack table. It was no ordinary blackjack table, as it was all electronic and your cards were shown to you on a screen located in front of you instead of playing with physical cards. Although I found it strange the system grew on me, and it was done in an attempt to get around the Goan law stating that you cannot play card games on land, which is a main reason why there are all the floating casinos. Osker and I started out a little rocky, but then after putting down about a grand each we stayed on the table with that money for over 2 hours till the end of the night. We had a copious amount of rum & cokes, kingfishers, and masala peanuts. We were up the whole time, till the end that is. The road from three grand to no grand was a quick one, and I’m going to say the booze might have helped me loose. After I ran out of chips, Osker still had some left and after convincing him to play the hand he said screw it and went all in. He won the hand, and then went all in once more and won again. All in all he ended up winning 4700 rupees, and we both had an awesome time. Naturally, after osker’s successful evening we had to do something so after the casino closed we headed back downstairs for celebratory drinks. We made friends with some of the younger employees, lounged outside, took in the ocean, sang some ridiculous songs and then finally called it a night around 4am.

We ran into one of our new friends the next morning haha

The next morning, after another outstanding breakfast and jamming to some tunes with Dave Uncle and the gang in the lobby, it was sadly time to say adios to Goa. Osker and Co. had their flight before us so had to say goodbye to them. Was really very glad that they were there with us throughout our time in Delhi, Agra and Goa and believe they were all a huge part of why this has been such an incredible trip for me so far!

After they left, we went to visit one of dads friends who just happened to be the former chief minister of Goa for 20 years or so (similar to governor), the current speaker of the house, and the unofficial “King of Goa” (Yes, He actually has royal bloodlines). Him and his wife were both very humble and welcoming individuals, and I was glad to have met them. He told me that he was currently building a brand new campus for his Institute of Management in Goa, which was one of the top 20 in all of India. It is a graduate program, and he said that after graduating I should look into attending the university. I hadn’t considered grad school too seriously to this point, but the opportunity to study management at a top university in Goa sounds quite tempting so may be something to consider in the future.

This trip I have realized what a ridiculous number of connections my dad. We had our flight at 5pm, and we did not leave this gentleman’s house till about 3:50pm and the airport was about 45 minutes away so we were pretty concerned about catching our flight, but he told us not to worry about it. After we left for the airport, dad realized that he had forgotten his cell phone at the house but if we turned around there was no way we were going to make the flight. We called him to ask what we should do, and he just had one of his drivers come to the airport to drop it off like it was no big deal. After dealing with some traffic we finally arrived at the airport around 4:35. As the car pulls up, there is an air hostess from Kingfisher airlines, dressed head to toe in her bright red outfit, standing outside waiting for us with both of our boarding passes in hand before we’ve entered the airport. We skip all the lines, get ushered through security and end up on sitting on the plane with 10 minutes to spare. It was really cool experience and it showed me how powerful the gentleman I had just met really was.

Goa instantly became my favorite place in India, and I fell in love with pretty much everything about it. I would highly recommend taking a visit whenever you get a chance, and I would like to get back there as soon as I can. I’ll upload pics sometime tomorrow.

My trip to Spain is coming up soon, really soon, like less than a week and I can’t wait. I am growing increasingly worried about my Spanish as I haven’t practiced in so long, and I’m almost positive I will start combining Hindi and Spanish for a good couple weeks over there haha.

We arrived in Bombay last night, and I have been having a great time so far! I’ll post an update on what we have been up to soon