This Week’s Shows 4.10.18 India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore

Well, I’m back on the Celebrity Constellation and as usual, I’m well past due for a weekly update. We’ve been busy sailing between Abu Dhabi and Singapore, playing a lot of Motown, crossover violin shows, a Phil Collins tribute, some swing-style crooner music, and of course a lot of saxo/DJ sets.

This itinerary is really interesting and goes to some very exotic places. I was finally able to get off the ship in India for the first time. When I did the India itinerary a few years ago I wasn’t able to go out because I didn’t have a seamen’s book at the time. This time I have my papers in order so I was able to venture out into the madness of Mumbai and the relative beach tranquility of Goa.

One of my favorite books of all time, Shantaram, takes place largely in Mumbai and the city is almost like a character in the storyline. It’s based on somewhat true events and places (there’s a lot of debate over how much is actually fact) so I was able to visit some of the landmarks that feature regularly in the book like Leopold’s and the Colaba Market. India is intense! The heat is almost unbearable, every two or three steps there is a different and often overpowering new smell, and the traffic is a whitewater rapid of honking horns and swerving motorbikes. All of this is punctuated by enormous horned-cows laying about placidly on the sidewalks, which no one seems to pay any attention to, which is odd since most people on the street seem pretty comfortable with staring openly at goras (white people) trying to navigate the noontime blaze.

Compared with Mumbai, Goa was pretty peaceful. We went to a long and very wide beach with surprisingly few people on it and a great restaurant/beach bar. To be honest, I was expecting the beach to be dirty and have a lot of litter, much like many of the beaches in Indonesia and other places in SE Asia do but this one was very clean. The water of the Arabian sea was brown, sort of like the Gulf of Mexico often is but very clean and there was almost no litter at all on the beach, which was a very welcome surprise!

After India, we made a stop in Columbo, Sri Lanka and Phuket Thailand, both places that I’ve visited in the past and then ended in Singapore. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Singapore in the past…multiple overnights and a month-long dry dock, so spending a few hours in the afternoon was a bit of a let down but nice to be back none-the-less.

Musically, this first voyage back has been a bit weird. Unfortunately we lost our pianist on the second day do to some drinking-related trouble so the band has been a bit handicapped. It’s a shame really because this is a great band. We spent nine days rehearsing in Miami before heading out and the band sounded great. It’s a great bunch of guys, mostly from Ohio, actually. We’ve replaced our pianist and are now back to full strength, ready for the return journey to Abu Dhabi, and then on to Europe for the summer.

Other than band stuff, I’ve done my saxo/dj thing a handful of times. My sets are getting more interesting as I find more and more music to incorporate. The idea is for the sets to be totally curated and interesting. I’m moving away from the deep house stuff and find myself gravitating toward dub, downtempo, and other more chill-based stuff, which seems to lend itself to the saxophone and flute really well.

That’s it for now…