Thursday, January 10, 2008

BleigieBen and clubfa

The Swedish girls in Goa introduced us to two fun parts of their culture: a drink that's more fun once it's gone and a new year's tradition.

They brought the clubfas all the ways from Austria. These small bottles of apple vodka had to be carried on their flights in the stuffed regulation size Ziplock bags for liquids. Although not packing much punch on the liquor end, I entertained myself after each round by stacking the bottle in the most creative configurations I could imagine (note: that's not really saying much, I'm a scientist with the imagination of an engineer/cauliflower).

On the Russian New Year(so it doesn't really count), they showed us the bleigieBen. It's a kit that has a metal spoon, a few lead figurines like a horseshoe, basket, etc. and an instruction/interpretation card. You need a candle and bowl of cold water. I know what it sounds like but they assured me that these kits rarely contained heroin. You put the figurine in the metal spoon and hold it over the candle until it melts into a pool of liquid metal. Then you quickly dump the metal into the bowl of cold water. The metal solidifies into a new shape that you must determine and it's very open to interpretation). The shape portends your future for the next year. Here's a list of meanings.

I got a boat meaning good luck in my future plans (quite a relief). The odd yet endearing Nepali waiter couldn't stop giggling when he got a shoe that says he will get married. Everyone started giggling when Tessa's piece broke into pieces signifying a baby on the way. We joked about their coming union as the waiter's eyes widened in excitement.

Actually, one person never heard Tessa's fortune. I made sure that the woman who ran the hotel never found out. I watched her all week: a cute plump woman in beautiful sardwaras (dress to the knees with matching pants and a scarf around the neck and down the back) dedicated to her rottweiler/german shepherd puppies. However, I could see a little sadness and desperation in her love for them. She didn't have any children and India can be hard on a childless woman. While playing the game, she immediately asked about the symbol for a baby. It's the first she mentioned children and you could see disappointment run quickly across her face at her fortune: good luck in business for the year.

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