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BUN BOY EATS LA - Archives for 2010 December

INDIA PART 3 – THE GANGES: LET’S TAKE A BATH!

  • December 25, 2010 12:28 pm

Don't they know I'm allergic to Red Dye #5?

Don't they know I'm allergic to Red Dye #5?

Varanasi is the dictionary definition of a CLUSTERF**K.

If I were to choose a highlight (or lowlight) of the entire trip, I would say the sheer madness that is Varanasi would be it.

The sights, the sounds, the SMELLS. Everything coming at you at once; a complete sensory assault!

One day there felt like a month. I’m exhausted just typing about it.

We were there only a few days, to witness the morning and evening prayer ceremonies along the banks of the Ganges river and basically avoid touching or eating anything.

For this section of the trip, I’ll let the pictures (and captions) do the talking. I sure wish I could attach a few smells to this blog…

The Official Beer of India. Bottled at the Source (the Ganges)

The Official Beer of India. Bottled at the Source (the Ganges)

Our first buffet in India - The peas/spinach/mint were pretty good. The sweet and sour chix? Uh..they got the sour part right!

Our first buffet in India - The peas/spinach/mint were pretty good. The sweet and sour chix? Uh..they got the sour part right!

The locals enjoying a fresh, diverse buffet.

The locals enjoying a fresh, diverse buffet.

I'm just a cow, chillin'. Looking for love...in all the wrong places.

I'm just a cow, chillin'. Looking for love...in all the wrong places.

These are left around for good luck. They're also a good Curry starter kit.

These are left around for good luck. They're also a good Curry starter kit.

Kids selling flowers and candles for prayers. Slumdog Millionaires in training.

Kids selling flowers and candles for prayers. Slumdog Millionaires in training.

The candle I lit for my Grandmother

The candle I lit for my Grandmother

We crawled into boats on the Ganges to watch the morning prayers.

We crawled into boats on the Ganges to watch the morning prayers.

India 2010 171

The ancient temples along the river banks are called Ghats.

The ancient temples along the river banks are called Ghats.

Bathtime! The Ganges is 97% Feces, which means great for the complexion as well as population control.

Bathtime! The Ganges is 97% Feces, which means great for the complexion as well as population control.

India 2010 183

A little YOGA at the butt crack of dawn.

A little YOGA at the butt crack of dawn.

Buddhist monks against a Ganges sunrise.

Buddhist monks against a Ganges sunrise.

Escape from Varanasi! I felt very Indiana Jones.

Escape from Varanasi! I felt very Indiana Jones.

A random shrine whils<img src=

In India, you can find a buffet anywhere! It's better than Vegas!

In India, you can find a buffet anywhere! It's better than Vegas!

A random shrine whilst wandering the streets...

Holy Man (a fake one) but I paid him handsomely for his time (50 cents) The woman behind was pissed.

Holy Man (a fake one) but I paid him handsomely for his time (50 cents) The woman behind was pissed.

Our usual breakfast. Masala omelette! They're egg yolks look like egg whites. Hmm...

Our usual breakfast. Masala omelette! They're egg yolks look like egg whites. Hmm...

The spot where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.

The spot where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.

India 2010 223

India 2010 225

The Bodhi Tree where Buddha first acheived enlightenment. (The original is gone but this one was propogated from the original)

The Bodhi Tree where Buddha first acheived enlightenment. (The original is gone but this one was propogated from the original)

Your typical India rush hour. Life and limb, always at risk.

Your typical India rush hour. Life and limb, always at risk.

Just imagine the smells.....

Just imagine the smells.....

Varanasi Nightlife. Hold onto your wallets. And your internal organs.

Varanasi Nightlife. Hold onto your wallets. And your internal organs.

Walking to the Ganges for the nighttime prayer ceremony. Weren't we just here? The craziest street on the planet.

Walking to the Ganges for the nighttime prayer ceremony. Weren't we just here? The craziest street on the planet.

Some lovely haut couture for the Hindi fashionista in us all.

Some lovely haut couture for the Hindi fashionista in us all.

Nighttime prayer ceremonies

Nighttime prayer ceremonies

Chicken Tikka Masala, so good! The only time I ate meat and did NOT regret it.

Chicken Tikka Masala, so good! The only time I ate meat and did NOT regret it.

MERRY HOLIDAYS FROM BUN BOY

  • December 23, 2010 10:47 am

A Christmas Nightmare...featuring colors not found in nature.

A Christmas Nightmare...featuring colors not found in nature.

Bun Boy is escaping oppressive rainy Los Angeles for a much drier climate…..SEATTLE.

I know I still have to finish India Part 3….ya’ll can hold your wild horses, it will be ready sometime during the Christmas weekend.

Yes, I said Christmas.

“Happy Holidays…..is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas, Avery and Jack” – 30 Rock

This dining establishment is now, sadly, closed.

This dining establishment is now, sadly, closed.

INDIA part 2 – COWS, CAMELS AND CHAOS

  • December 17, 2010 10:20 am

Marigolds. The National Flower of India...maybe.

Marigolds. The National Flower of India...maybe.

My first introduction to my tour group was a group dinner where we’re all bused to the heart of Delhi.

Of course, I’m mortified to be part of such a blatant group of gawkers and walk about 5 feet behind them, so the locals would not associate me with them.

Which was completely ridiculous. I clearly did not belong there just as much as the bumbling tourists in front of me.

Why do the veggies look so fresh when we're choking on pollution???

Why do the veggies look so fresh when we're choking on pollution???

I first bond with Joan, a saucy Brit, as we share a spicy eggplant dish and mutton curry. Oy, the mutton.

May contain actual Mutton

May contain actual Mutton

The eggplant dish was 82% grease and the mutton was 82% bone, I’m positive Joan hogged all the meat for herself. Which amounted to one forks’ full.

Figuring out how to split the bill afterwards proved to be quite the arduous task. In the end, folks were arguing over what amounted to be 25 cents.

I threw in a bit extra and went outside for some not so fresh air.

The next morning Sam, our tour guide, showed us a bit of Old Delhi.

Life in India can best be experienced on a tuk tuk. It may be one's LAST experience...

Life in India can best be experienced on a tuk tuk. It may be one's LAST experience...

We ride past the goat peddlers…

Goats for sale! Get yer red hot goats!

Goats for sale! Get yer red hot goats!

and the camel peddlers…

India 2010 095camels

We took bike ridden rickshaws through the really cool, narrow streets of exactly what I pictured the stereotypical India to look like.

India 2010 105delhi street

Joan and I on the tuk tuk/rickshaw/luxury sedan

Joan and I on the tuk tuk/rickshaw/luxury sedan

They’re filled with tiny shops, skinny cows, spaghetti –like electrical wires blanket the sky, I believe one out of every 121 actually function.

Do I cut the green one or the red one???

Do I cut the green one or the red one???

However, one little rainstorm and everyone gets electrocuted.

Indian folks are preparing their breakfast, carrying carts of bananas and tomatoes, getting a shave, urinating, all of their daily tasks out in the open.

Everything in India is done in public, it seems.

There is no privacy and no shame.

We arrive at an old Islamic mosque (called the Jama Masjid)

India 2010 12mosque

Everyone had to take off their shoes (and pay to not have them stolen)

The women of the group are forced to don horrific polka-dotted smocks before entering.

So pretty. And form fitting. No Indian woman would leave the house without this sexy snuggie!

So pretty. And form fitting. No Indian woman would leave the house without this sexy snuggie!

And they’re not free either.

It was a very peaceful, quiet respite from the chaotic honking of the outside world.

75% of this crowd are people selling you cheap shit.

75% of this crowd are people selling you cheap shit.

A man walked up to me, pined a bird pendant on my shirt (I knew this was trouble) and requested donations for some school for the blind.

The least he could have done was pretend to be blind. Look to my left a bit. Even I know that old trick.

When I offered 100 rupees, he said “200 would be better”

Of course it would.

I walked away from him fast before the other beggars came a calling.

We took our rickshaws back the way we came.
When our driver requested a tip, I pointed to our tour guide and darted away to the safety of our bus.

Sam had asked for $50 US from all of us to cover all the tips for the rest of the tour.

The best chips in town! They taste like India...literally...

The best chips in town! They taste like India...literally...

It made things very convenient but these guys didn’t always know that when we walked away without giving them any moola.

Our bus was a stinky, ice cavern and we took it to some park that had an eternal flame going in honor of Gandhi, who was cremated there.

Not much to see, but it was another quiet place to walk around.

India 2010 139gandhi

Then we began our journey to the airport to fly to Varanasi, the holy city.

At the airport is where I would learn the true meaning of “India Time”

All the airports are clean, modern facilities and the security is tight!

No man gets unfrisked.

All the ladies are taken into private screening kiosks.

One of our group insisted that she was frisked a bit TOO well. I rolled my eyes and went along with the story that this short, dumpy “vision” was too irresistible to a deeply religious Hindi woman.

We grabbed a bite at this southern Indian joint at the food court. This is when we were still excited to try the local cuisine.

Lentils, burritos, pancakes, sauces. What's not to love?

Lentils, burritos, pancakes, sauces. What's not to love?

After eating, our flight became delayed.

For hours.

And hours.

India time.

Then, when we finally boarded, we waited another hour. I could feel the temperature rising. I began to sweat. The little air vent blowing bacteria laden breath on me seemed to decrease in strength by the minute….

I suddenly began to smell….people….unwashed….

All this for a ONE HOUR FLIGHT!!

INDIA – PART 1 – WHAT WAS I THINKING?

  • December 8, 2010 11:19 am

At the entrance of our first hotel

At the entrance of our first hotel

After journeying to five continents, I’ve realized I have a love/hate relationship with travelling abroad.

On one hand, I enjoy most international cuisine and generally stuffing my face as often as I can legally get away with.

I also feel the need to visit all the wonders of the world. I guess I’ve started my bucket list early.

However, as soon as I land in a foreign country, I’m instantly homesick.

School Children crossing the street - Cars trying their best to hit them!

School Children crossing the street - Cars trying their best to hit them!

I want my own bed (those dark splotches on the sheets should be my OWN stains)

I want my own toilet (and more than 5 available squares of toilet paper)

I want to easily navigate (in English) around a locale and not have to negotiate with the rickshaw for 10 minutes and then end up getting ripped off anyways just to go 6 blocks.

Street Food (god knows what it is but it will 100% make you sick)

Street Food (god knows what it is but it will 100% make you sick)

But that’s all part of travelling.

Joy.

Qutab Minar Complex

Qutab Minar Complex

My flight to India was pleasant enough.

Except for this overweight Indian man who emitted this wet snort every few minutes. Delicious.

When I arrived, the taxi waiting for me had to wait for some other folks on our tour.

We waited at the stuffy, moist airport for TWO HOURS!

I was annoyed, smelly, hungry and exhausted.
Finally, the guy said we could go to the hotel.

Tuk Tuk - Or Auto Rickshaw. They run on Natural Gas! The cleanest thing in India

Tuk Tuk - Or Auto Rickshaw. They run on Natural Gas! The cleanest thing in India

We begin driving and about 20 minutes into it, he gets a call on his cell phone that the passengers had arrived and we have to go back and pick them up!!

Excuse me?? I have to wait 2 hours for them and they can’t wait 30 minutes for me to get dropped off first?

I instantly hate the quiet, older Australian couple that pile in my taxi, making me sit up when I’ve been laying down in the backseat semi-comfortably.

They will pay. (with diarrhea, but that’s later in the trip)

Instead of seeking revenge, I end up joining them the next day for a day long sightseeing tour of Delhi.

Seeing things that our tour did not include. But first, breakfast.

My first breakfast in India

My first breakfast in India

Tony, Jeanette and I hire a driver for the day to take us to about 6 sights (with no stops for lunch – are these people insane?? They did weight about 75 pounds between the two of them)

Qutab Minar - Tower build in the 1100's

Qutab Minar - Tower build in the 1100's

The Doctor is IN!

The Doctor is IN!

A Typical Street in Delhi

A Typical Street in Delhi

Goat Peddlers wading through traffic

Goat Peddlers wading through traffic

We visit the Lodi Gardens, where we encounter attacking Eagles!! They’re actually called Kites, but they look just like them. Their wingspan is enormous and I could feel the whooshing as they swooped over my head to torment some cracked out dog.

Lodi Gardens - Masoleum or something

Lodi Gardens - Masoleum or something

Why are there so many birds in India?? The pollution must contain bird seed extract!

Why are there so many birds in India?? The pollution must contain bird seed extract!

We visited the Lotus Temple, it’s very large place of worship for the Ba’Hai faith and we heard it’s boring inside, so we just snapped a few photos.

The Lotus Temple

The Lotus Temple

We drive by the Red Fort, have no interest in going inside and snap some exterior photos. We must have known we’d see plenty of Forts on our tour.

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

The India Gate - Gift from the British; a thank you for letting us crash all this time!

The India Gate - Gift from the British; a thank you for letting us crash all this time!

We drive up to the gate of the President’s house and see some monkeys frolicking.

Monkeys picking their butts on the President's lawn! Show some respect!

Monkeys picking their butts on the President's lawn! Show some respect!

Finally, we visit Jantar Mantar. Built in the 1700’s, it’s this really cool observatory that is supposed to predict the movements of the sun, moon and the planets. For as old and well preserved it is, they sure let everyone run all over the place. Brats, destroying history. I proceed to do the same.

Jantar Mantar - Old Observatory and apparent skate park!

Jantar Mantar - Old Observatory and apparent skate park!

After our day long excursion, we meet the rest of our tour group in the dining room of our hotel.
And my worst fears are confirmed. THEY’RE MOSTLY OLD PEOPLE!!!

IL PASTAIO

  • December 3, 2010 4:03 pm

lobster

I’ve recently returned from an exhausting trek to India and as Ricky Ricardo would say if he were alive today (and a real person), I have a “lot of bloggin’ to do”!

In the meantime, I needed a nice, luxurious lunch at a snooty Beverly Hills hotspot to try to flush some of the curry out of my system.

Those of you who know me or read this blog, know that I did NOT eat the meal above (crab and linguini with lobster), my friend did.

I did, however, consume the items below.

Arancini - Fried Risotto stuffed with mozzarella and peas. GREAT!

Arancini - Fried Risotto stuffed with mozzarella and peas. GREAT!

Vegetariano Salad (with chicken)

Vegetariano Salad (with chicken)

400 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210-4820
(310) 205-5444
http://www.giacominodrago.com/pastaio.htm