George Christy Talks About The Wonders of India, Elgart Aster, ‘What Men Want’ and more!
“After landing in Singapore, all passengers are presented with a card that reads drugs are punishable by death. As they are at Customs for those entering by other means.
“Singapore’s among the cleanest cities in the world,” informs our peripatetic Beverly Hillbilly Elgart Aster, who stopped by before his month-long visit to India with partner Paul Swerdlove.
“We felt very much at home when we found a Spago in the heart of downtown.
“Our itinerary began in Tokyo, a wonderful city which is neat, clean and exciting, with its mix of history and contemporary life side by side.
“We stayed at The Palace Hotel across from The Imperial Gardens that provide a beautiful way to relax for an afternoon.
“Everybody says ‘Arigato’ frequently which means thank you.
“We flew then into India, which has changed tremendously since my visit 30-plus years ago, when there were only two kinds of cars: Ambassadors and Fiats. Today, you’ll find every car imaginable including Range Rovers and Jaguars. The company now owned by the Indian Company, Tata Motors!
“The unanticipated consequence of success is traffic which makes the traffic in Los Angeles look like nothing at all.”
“We love India for the colors and for the women dressing in saris. Pink and pink. And red, fuchsia, yellow, orange.
“We were fascinated with the intricate textures of the various handicrafts that you may want to ship home.
“Additionally, we loved the architecture and art. And, of course, the food, all good reasons to book a journey to India.
“The food is healthy.
“Chicken Tikka Masala, is chicken marinated in a spiced curry sauce.
“Saag, is cooked with finely chopped spinach, broccoli and mustard leaves, with added spices.
“The popular aloo, is prepared with potatoes and peas in a vegetable curry.
“I’m crazy about the assorted lentil dishes that make my mouth water just thinking about them.
“It makes no difference if you dine at Thacker’s in Mumbai, with its very reasonable local cuisine, or the posh dining room at the Taj Palace. A delicious experience with both.
“India has a population of nearly 1.4 billion people. A friend pointed out that if you sell a product and have only a 1 percent share of the market, you still have 14 million customers! Whether you sell shoes or cars to just 1 percent of the populace, you have the opportunity for major wealth. Imagine if you have a 5 percent share!
“New Delhi is the capital of India, and the place to stay is The Imperial Hotel, a beautiful mix of Indian, Colonial, and Art Deco architecture. The city itself is home to diplomats and 151 embassies. The famous Red Fort is New Delhi’s iconic monument, having provided national security to the royals. The name comes from the red sandstone unique to the area.
“Agra is home to the famous Taj Mahal, built as a tomb for Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. The place to stay is The Oberoi Amarvilas, where all rooms face the Taj Mahal.
“Rathambore is the city known for its safaris. The Oberoi Vanyavilas remain an incredible experience – you stay in what is essentially a very luxurious tent. The walls are solid, the outside roof is canvas and the inside roof is upholstered with beautiful fabrics. We went on Safari and saw different kinds of animals, stunning birds like kingfishers, peacocks and larger animals like tigers only several feet from our vehicle.
“American friends attending the $100 million Ambani wedding are still gossiping about the extravagant first-class flights and accommodations and royal service around the clock with limousines, etc.
“Jaipur, known as the Pink City due to the number of buildings in its various shades.
“The Rambagh Palace is the home of a Maharaja, who lives there and has now opened it to the public to allay the expense of this daily operation.
“Jodhpur was the comical moment on our trip. Since it was wedding season in India The Taj Hotel in Jodhpur was fully booked and we could not secure a reservation at any price. Frantic, we ended up staying in a hotel adjacent to a mosque which had a call to worship through loudspeakers every day at 4:30 a.m. Aye, aye, aye. Ten percent of India is Muslim, although I suspect a higher concentration in this neighborhood.
“Then there is beloved Mumbai, where we stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace directly across from the Gateway to India and the Arabian Sea.
“The hotel has been beautifully refurbished since the 2008 attack by radicals, and security is extremely tight.”
“India’s the great grandmother of tradition,” reflected Mark Twain after his visit.
While Vogue’s legendary fashion empress Diana Vreeland, whose wit never fails her, declared in her crisp analysis, “Pink is the navy blue of India.”
Back in California, former San Francisco’s Mayor, Willie Brown, formally announced this week that Kamala Harris, vying for the Presidency in 2020, had been his mistress for two years. Obvious to the world at large that observed them coupling hand-in-hand here, there and everywhere. Should Kamala take over the Presidency, would Willie be named Secretary of State?