I (eliot) had the great pleasure to speak with an expert on India a couple days ago, Bob Patel. Bob and his wife Kusum have lived on Bastrop, TX for some time after moving from India to the US years ago. They owned a series of hotels in Bastrop over the years, and my grandparents Cecil and Chrysta Moore participate in the Moore family reunion in Bastrop every year. Long story short, my Grandfolks and the Patels got in touch when the need for a hotel for the reunion arose. Years later, the Patels host members of our family every year in their hotels.
SO: At the behest of my Grandmother (and with some help), I rang up Mr. Patel and we met up. Among other things, we discussed trip logistics, places to see and stay, and most importantly, the various types of mangoes to eat and how to eat them. India has WAY more mangoes than America, something close to 190 different varieties. Some mangoes have more fiber inside of them, and instead of peeling and pitting them, you can just make an incision along the top of the mango and squeeze the juicy goodness out the top. Holy moly roly poly, I am ready.
Mr. Patel is from the north western state of Gujarat. He suggested that if we go anywhere near the Pakistani border, I should shave my bodacious facial hair, as I may be mistaken for a Muslim and have to deal with, well, whatever may happen. I think I would have trouble relating my religious affiliation with the 24 Hour Church of Elvis to any curious Indians.
The talk was great - I came away with a batch of notes and knowledge and Mr. Patel came away knowing he helped a couple of clueless schmucks be less so. Thanks very much, Mr. Patel, and my Grandfolks look forward to seeing you and Kusum come the Moore family reunion!
In other news - I am getting over a totally mild cold. Actually hoping it was going to happen now and not right before we left for DubaIndia.
Also: 8 DAYS!!! AAAACCCKKkkkkk..coughcoughcough, huffkkugh.....Woo! 8 Days!