I’m told I’m a magnet for crazy. I attract them in any shape or form. You know when they tell you a place is defined by its people, believe them. And when you’re a c-magnet like me, you’ll find crazy walking down the street. So why should the fact that I was lost and dragging a suitcase the size of Istanbul in Venice be out of the ordinary to me. Booking my hotel online meant I had no clue how far it was from the island of Venice. My hotel was in Mestre on the mainland. If you aren’t prone to taking unnecessary risks like me, make a note never to book online. You may find yourself taking the 11:15 bus into town, with the illustrious company of sexworkers.
Most ‘normal’ people would take in the usual sights and sounds of Venice; pay 150 euros for a ride in the kitschy gondolas, complete with ride under the Rialto just like the brochures promise, Volare being sung to you in the boatman’s baritone free of charge.
But not me, I wanted to see what the night would bring. And boy did a night in Venice not disappoint. After buying the customary stock of liquor we went back to our hotel room to get hammered. The bus ride, a short walk and my friend’s grumbling stomach made us stop by at the only open eatery. Mehran was closing his doner kebab place for the night. He asked us the usual questions, where we were from, where did we think we were going at 12 at night? And then he did what any man seeing three single women would have done. He offered us a ride in his boat to Picolo Mondo the nightclub we were headed to, provided of course we agreed to meet him and his friend the next day when he got off at 1 in the afternoon.
A short jaunt over the Academia bridge and we were in one of the labyrinth like by lanes, outside a nondescript wooden door that looked more like Shylock’s house than a nightclub. We paid the cover charge and then entered Lajpat Nagar. If someone had planned on opening a discotheque in Amar colony that’s what Picolo Mondo would have looked like; complete with mirrored walls and loud 80s music.
Being drunk makes us exceptionally democratic in our choice of dance partners. After dancing with every single man, woman and bouncer in the establishment, we stumbled out of the club at 3 am. Joining the other merry bunch of drunks on the streets, against our better judgment we hopped into a boat with three guys. In retrospect, visions of our bodies floating up in the sewers of Venice make their way into my nightmares once in a while. Small price to pay though, for the experience we had.
So when your brain’s logic is fuzzy, you might find yourself being taken on a boat ride with 3 strangers, enjoying the soft kiss of the night breeze, under the stars, floating through canals so narrow you can touch them with outstretched arms. All it takes is letting go of your natural suspicion of strangers and a willing suspension of disbelief.
Don’t forget to:
Enjoy the company of strangers in piazza San Margharita on a Saturday night; you may even bump into the ubiquitous Shah Rukh Khan fan.
Head to the restaurant with the cutest waiters.
Check out Picolo Mondo for a chance to party like its going out of style.
Buy Casanova’s mask from an artist’s studio instead of going home with some made in China trinkets.
Head to the Tourist information centre, they’ll give you free information on where to stay and even book your hotel for free whatever your budget.