a baby elephant & his buddy

FRIDAY, January 12th
My phone buzzed steady through the early morning hours. It was an international number many digits long * buzz * buzz * buzz * but I didn’t answer knowing it would be an expensive conversation with a mysterious voice. After hopping in the shower, really mine has a trampoline floor, I checked my messages and solved the mystery of the morning caller. It was my pal Annie in India. One month ago we finished a six week journey around the amazing country and after a short trip to Africa she returned to India to work on Wes Anderson’s new film “Darjeeling Limited.” She was calling to see if I could hop on a plane in two days to deliver a wig to India. I exuberantly answered, “Of course, anything for a head of hair!”

I picked up a handmade wig and extensions from a local home workshop. It was accompanied by a mannequin head filled with curly pen marks illustrating the wig’s placement.

Following a morning of meetings I did a load of laundry and packed my valuable cargo. In the early evening I started my airborne adventure -> LA -> Munich -> Delhi.

mmmmmm….airline food.

I cruised through customs at the Delhi airport. “Anything to declare?” Never. I then rendezvoused with Dinesh, the film’s man in Delhi. He passed along two more wigs. Three’s a charm. Now I was big-time! After a delayed departure (adjust watch to Indian time: slow motion and high commotion) I flew to the always exciting Rajasthani city of Jodhpur, also known as the Blue City for its beautiful clusters of blue homes. Once in the place to be, I dropped the wigs on target and was paid in the oh so common currency of Tanzanian Shillings.

I hadn’t planned on being in India at all so my itinerary was open. I spent my time wandering casually with wide senses. I strolled down narrow alleys and gazed at blue buildings, cows and goats. I ventured through bustling markets and met curious people, elephants and camels. I walked up steep, winding roads to unknown destinations and waved to children, goats, puppies and passing motorcycles. On a lark I boarded a bus crowded with Rajasthani men (gold earrings, huge turbans and spectacular mustaches) and women (dark skin, sparkling eyes and brilliant saris). After many dusty fields and scattered farms I ended up in a small village called Osian. Here I met a huge crowd of wide eyed school children, explored 8th century sandstone temples, and whistled afternoon greetings to peacocks, wild boars, and green parrots. Just another day electrically alive.

After a morning of more exploration I boarded a plane to Bombay. Upon arrival in this raddest of cities my mind was laser focused on Haji Ebrahim’s Radio Repair and Record Shop deep in the Null Bazaar across from Handiwala Masjid. I jumped into what I soon discovered to be the slowest taxi on Earth. Due to my Hindi illiteracy I must have missed the words “SNAIL JALOPY” emblazoned across the side. The driver stopped every few minutes to have a snack, make a phone call, ask for directions and request I give him a spray bottle of shirt starch (of course, I carry these everywhere). Meanwhile I was wringing my hands with the fear of missing my record shopping opportunity. Luckily Haji’s crew was on high alert and once in the vicinity we were greeted by a motorcycle escort through the packed streets. I spent the next few hours digging through a blissful bounty of amazing Bollywood vinyl. I walked out with a treasure of amazing wax and a smile on my face. This quickly faded into an expression of fear as I swooped into the turbo taxi yang of my earlier cabbie’s molasses yin. We sped through the streets at a dangerous pace barely dodging humans and other animate and inanimate thingies.

After 24 hours above the clouds and in airport lounges I was back where I started in sunny Los Angeles. There was one major difference. My luggage was filled with amazing music in place of artificial hair.


for more images from this hairy adventure please click HAIR.

a super snack scene