Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Historical Post: Another Update (30 April 1998)

My first experience of Indian food, and it took me literally years to get over my self-consciousness about how I dressed. I still look like an American...

From: Eamonn Sullivan

To: diary entries

Subject: Another update

I might as well file these frequently while I have the time. By next week, I'll be swamped. This week, I'm blissfully ignorant of what I should be doing.

Yesterday's new experience was my first trip to an Indian restaurant. They exist in the US, of course, but I've never been to one before. They're all over the place here -- even more common than Chinese restaurants in the US. Indian food is the cheap eats of choice.

Last night, I got back to the hotel about 8pm, starving. So I walked about two miles through a somewhat dicey-looking neighborhood to an Indian restaurant. The place was recommended to me by the hotel's bus driver. Of course, I immediately forgot the names of all of the foods suggested to me by various people, but they were patient enough to translate my vague descriptions -- "Chicken thing...spicy. Bread thing...stuffed with potatoes and veggies, I think." -- into actual menu items. I had to ask for a plastic folk or spoon. They found one, and were nice enough to wash it for me.

While they were looking for the restaurant's one plastic utensil, I asked if I could add a bottle of beer to my order. The guy behind the counter said he really wasn't allowed to...."But, what the heck, here ya go," and he stuck one in my bag. I asked how much. Nothing, he said. "It's illegal for me to sell it for carrying out," he said, "so you can have it."

The food was good, not intolerably spicy, and I got way more than I could eat for about 7 pounds.

I dressed differently today, as an experiment. Black shoes, dark green pants, dark shirt, leather jacket, dour look on my face. It must of worked. For the first time all week, the street vendors stopped trying to hand me pamplets for sightseeing tours.

Until next time.