What differences stood out to you the most? Quality of life. Our tour guide took us through an area that we would certainly consider the "slums" of New Delhi. But for them, it was just a normal neighborhood. It was massive, and the streets were so narrow that only about three people could walk side by side. Certainly no cars (not that it matters, no one living there could afford a car). Our tour guide was taking us to visit his grandmother's home, which was large by the "slum" standards. There are about 16 people in his family living in a space of probably 1600 square feet. One sink, no mirror, and the kitchen the size of a coffee table. But I experienced zero pity - everyone looked happy.
I must say, however, I felt quite at home wherever I went, and not once did I feel out of place. The ebb and flow of the culture was welcoming to me. The people there understood the meaning of hospitality. Sharing one’s wealth with another has long been an ancient symbol of friendship. These amazing people shared just that: their homes, their food, and their smiles. The landscape and community were new to me, but they never truly seemed “unfamiliar.”
Off the main thoroughfare, and into a more quiet neighborhood, the sounds of a two-man island-style band can be faintly heard, beckoning curious wanderers to wander in to relax and enjoy the sounds, the atmosphere, and the Cuban cuisine. The Riviera Hotel South Beach consists of three buildings in the Art Deco style that's consistent up and down South Beach. Painted white on the outside, the walls are curved, and the floor tile is made of jewel tones flecked with stones. The varied colored tile begins and ends sporadically, creating beautiful abstract shapes -- a masterpiece of timeless 40s art.
“Do you love what you do?” we asked. “You have to . . . to really do it well,” Executive Chef Rex Hale said, smiling. Between intervals of purposed movement, he would come and sit calmly with us in the restaurant Basso. There was a passionate energy about him that reminded you to really focus on the flavors you were experiencing. As Executive Chef for all the restaurants at The Cheshire, a boutique hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, it is this man’s pride in his work, his love for all things taste, and deep passion for his craft, that are the constant undercurrents of his confident and calming presence. They are the impetus that keep the engine of the entire operation running magnificently.