Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Incongruous Dining

As I mentioned in a post from a previous trip to India, sometimes the dining environment is not always consistent at restaurants here.  For instance, there is often a lovely setting (5 star hotel), but strange music (hard core rap) playing in the background.

Tonight I had another of those incongruous dining experiences. 

Some friends here in the India offices decided to take my colleague and I out for a group dinner.  We went to a place that serves shish-kabob-type  barbecue at the table (there's a little coal grill inserted into the table, and grilled vegetables, meats, etc. are served on skewers for the group).  I really like the food at this restaurant, and seem to recall it had a nice, normal atmosphere.

Not so this time.

Under the Sea?

I started to suspect that something was a little different when the entrance looked like this:

A giant, illuminated octopus.
Why wouldn't that be at a place famous for grilling at the table?

Behind the octopus, on the glass near the entrance was this:

The Little Mermaid? 
Now, we all love Ariel, but....

We were brought to our table, and this was on a nearby wall:

Nemo (ish)?
What's going on here?

I started to look around the restaurant, and there were random sea creatures everywhere.  Thinking that maybe I was just having a "cultural" moment, I asked my Indian colleagues what was up. 

None of them had an explanation for the under the sea theme.  They were as puzzled as me.  We asked our server.  The restaurant was having a seafood festival.  That explains it...!?????

Dance Club?

After we were seated for a few moments, we noticed that our table was right by a little stage filled with big speakers.  A couple of folks at the table started to get nervous that conversation would be impossible if those speakers were turned up, so they requested a new table.  The on-duty manager assured us that there would only be, "10 minutes of loud music around 8:30pm."  Okey dokey.

True to their word, around 8:30 someone came by and started messing with the speakers.  He put in a CD and turned the music up loud.  Servers and cooks started to appear nearby.  Then we understood why:

A dance!
Of course.

Pretty much all of the restaurant employees lined up and started to do the same dance.  It was odd, but at the same time, a lot of fun.  And not something you see everyday.

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