Top 5 - Coolest Things I've Done
1. Driving my sister back from the Delhi airport in a rickshaw - this may be my greatest personal achievement. My sister arrived late at night, a day after the Delhi bazaar bombings in 2005. We jumped in a rickshaw, sped away (it was illegal), and started to negotiate the price. The guy was asking for a lot, so I said "Ok, I will pay you that much, but you have to let me drive." He agreed and I took over. I can tell you that fighting with giant trucks on the crowded Delhi roads was simultaneously the coolest and most frightening thing. I don't I could've made it as a rickshaw driver. I gained so much respect for the profession on that night.
2. Pulling a lady through a human river in the Howrah train station - Howrah station is, or was, the busiest train station in the world in terms of human traffic. You can't really imagine what that means until you're standing in the middle of the place facing a river, not a stream, of people going from one side of the station to the other. I was in awe. There was more people in front of me than in my hometown. Then a woman snapped me back into reality by grabbing my arm (I suppose she saw that I was about to ford the river). I did what any person with any knowledge of football (the North American version) would do: put my head down and kept the feet moving. I emerged on the other side with all my belongings and the woman in tow. Our eyes met, hers said "Thanks," mine "I can't believe I just did that."
3. Propelling a cycle rickshaw in Jaipur - I've been fascinated by cycle rickshaws since the day I first laid eyes on one. We briefly flirted with the idea of buying a cycle rickshaw and offering it up for hire (it's not like we were doing anything interesting at work) on the streets of Chandigarh. Alas, that plan never came to fruition, so I went for the next best thing: asking some cycle rickshaw driver who was already taking advantage of us (Ryan can attest to that) to let us propel is rickshaw. He obliged. The next few minutes convinced me that this is something I would love to do.
4. Holding a street BBQ in Cairo - I'll never forget this day. Tom Gara and I had a mission: take over an Egyptian restaurant and BBQ our legendary creations for our close, personal friends. After making the necessary arrangements with the great people at El Hendawy, we were all set. It was to be the most epic BBQ Cairo had ever seen. On the menu was five different types of marinated lamb: mango-mint, coriander-fennel, balsamic-garlic-oregano, cumin-coriander-lemon-garlic-turmeric-oregano; honey-soy-garlic chicken; and grilled vegetable salad. It was all cooked to perfection. We were the kings of Cairo on that night.
5. Negotiating a bribe in Russian to get my friend into Georgia - this can be chalked up to the Caucasus being the Caucasus. Naturally, at the Georgian border, there was something "wrong" with my friend's Georgian visa in her Chinese passport. I set to work talking to one of the border guards. He asked questions, I asked what was wrong, he explained, he went into the building, he came out, asked some more questions, went back into the builing. Finally he came out and started to talk about percentages. I asked how much and he gave me a speech about how nice he was being to us. I asked again. He quoted a price much smaller than I expected. Not bad for a first time.