The Moodie Davitt ‘Roarport’: Landslides, Hotpot and Terracotta Warriors
In Chengdu the trio visited the world-famous Chengdu Panda Rescue and Research centre and of course tried the city’s famed spicy hotpot. Spicy? You bet? Hot? As in red hot. Website China Highlights even has a dedicated section called ‘How to Survive a Chengdu Hotpot’. Here’s their memorable advice: “Sichuan food is renowned for being spicy, oily and packed with plenty of numbing Sichuan peppercorns, and the traditional hotpot is no exception. Even for those used to the local cuisine, hotpot can still be quite taxing on the digestive system.
“For those who have never before eaten food cooked in a bubbling vat of chilli oil simmering away at their table, having hotpot for the first time can be quite a shock to the system. Locals advise eating a bowl of plain rice after your meal to soak up the oil, or having some yoghurt from a convenience store before your meal.”
Chengdu Hotpot: Tastebuds beware
Wild Tiger 1 (Gautom) and 2 (Paul) are made of stern stuff, however, and hailing from Kerala are well-used to a touch or ten of spice. Alas, Australia-born, US-domiciled Terry Smith was not saying ‘Bravo’ after his first encounter with Chengdu Hotpot, despite his wife being Chinese and a fan of spicy cuisine.Severe flooding in Sichuan Province, which had led to the collapse of expressways and numerous landsides, forced a change of route and our intrepid duo had to skip planned stops in Tongren (Guizhou Province) and Rourgai. “It seems that floods and bad weather have been following us on this trip,” says Gautom.But considerable compensation came in the form of a detour via famed Xi’an and Tianshui. “This worked out great because Xi’an is a city the three of us have read so much about in history books and wished to visit,” Gautom comments. “At one point the city’s lit-up buildings and LED shows reminded us of the Las Vegas Strip.”
Yesterday the Roar Crew visited the famed Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an where the TRiger proved almost to be a rival attraction. “We were mobbed everywhere and as special guests were introduced to Mr Yang Gaojian, one of the local farmers who first discovered the Terracotta Warriors in the Spring of 1974 and shocked the whole world. He saw Terry Smith wearing his Bravo Fashion John Lennon-style sunglasses and asked where he could buy a pair.” The answer was, of course, in duty free.
Imagine all the people: In 1974 a group of few farmers were digging a water well in Xi’an, when they discovered some pottery fragments and bronze weapons. It was the beginning of an extraordinary archaeological discovery. They had uncovered one of the biggest burial sites in China, belonging to the first feudal Emperor Qin Shi Huang (over 2200 years ago). Yang Gaojian (centre), pictured with Gautom Menon (left) and Terry Smith of Bravo Fashions (right) was one of those farmers. He met the Wild Tiger team during their visit, signed his book and tried on a pair of Bravo John Lennon-style sunglasses.
Terry tells The Moodie Davitt Roarport: “The decision to be a sponsor of the Roar Trip has been one of my best business decisions. The response from people on the street has been fantastic. Five days have flown by in spectacular fashion and I’ve enjoyed every moment being with the Roar Crew. Wish I could spend a little longer.
“To reiterate our commitment to saving tigers, we have commissioned a new range of Bravo sunglasses inspired by tiger print, and we will donate 10% of sales – not just profits – from this range towards Wild Tiger Foundation, run by Wild Tiger Rum.”
Adds Gautom: “It’s been a pleasure having Terry join and regale us with many of his adventurous stories. I personally love his hustle nature. He has seen the very highs and lows of life, and even at the age of 71, his enthusiasm and passion is akin to a young entrepreneur.
“He is one feisty Aussie who is not willing to give up on building his brand in duty free. We wish him nothing but the best. We are going to miss him and look forward to catching up over a Roartrippin’ cocktail at the finish line in Cannes.”
The TRiger (Tata Hexa) has been pulled over several times by traffic cops in China, many of them startled to discover not only a tiger-striped car but one with right-hand drive, a largely unknown concept in rural areas.
“In fact, everywhere we stop in China such as fuel stations, service areas on highways or public spaces, we get mobbed by crowds, especially by kids,” says Gautom. “They want a photo taken and we’ve been giving out to kids some tiger face masks and our replica tiger claw key rings.”
Xi’an behind them, our modern-day (road) warriors Gautom and Paul in their trusty TRiger are headed to Xining, in Qinghai Province, like Tianshui once an important stop on the Silk Road that ran through Tibet. The Roar Trip continues.
P.S. What will happen to the trusty TRiger at the end of the Roartrip? Answer, Gautom and Paul will not be driving it back to Kerala. They and it deserve a rest. It will be shipped back to India and no doubt used for well-deserved tiger conservation publicity.
#RoarTrip, #Roarforourtigers, #KeralatoCannes, #WildTigerFoundation #TigerConservation
HOW TO SUPPORT THE WILD TIGER ROARTRIP
Via the official website – www.roartrip.in
Account Name: Roar Trip WTF
Account No: 6766903189
Bank Name: Indian Bank
Branch: Sivananda Colony Branch, Coimbatore – 641 012,
Tamil Nadu, India
IFS Code : IDIB000S075 /SWIFT: IDIBINBBCBE
Please encourage your colleagues, friends and family to consider doing so.
En route to Cannes, the daring duo will be meeting up with other travel retailers. Those wishing to ‘meet and greet’ them are encouraged to make contact. Yes, Gautom will be checking his email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT WILD TIGER RUM: Kerala-based Wild Tiger is India’s first rum to be produced from a blend of molasses and cane spirit. The rum’s velvet tiger print stripe packaging reflects the fact that no two tigers share the same stripe pattern – so the stripe design of the sleeve has been designed and cut to ensure that no two bottles are alike.Wild Tiger made its Indian travel retail debut in February 2016 and is now available in 53 countries.
ABOUT WILD TIGER FOUNDATION (WTF): Wild Tiger Foundation is a CSR initiative by Wild Tiger Rum, which contributes 10% of its profits to the cause. It is a registered non-profit organisation headquartered in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India that focuses on the conservation of the tiger and its habitat by raising funds and creating awareness. It was founded in 2015 by drinks entrepreneur Gautom Menon and Coimbatore-based businessman Suprej Venkat.
The primary focus is the conservation of tigers and their habitats within the state of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, specifically Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Kerala and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. Wild Tiger Foundation acts as an influencer and an enabler.India had around 100,000 tigers in the mid-19th century. Today it has around 2,200, underlining the urgency of the conservation cause.