Sat 20 Oct 07 - Sat 20 Oct 07
I had only been in Mumbia for 4 days and the food culture shock started kicking in. I spent hours wandering up and down the isles of grocery stores muttering to myself, desperate to find something bland.
Was it so hard to carry at least a package of cold cuts? How about some turkey meat? It didn’t even have to be "smoked" or "honey glazed". I would have even gone for ham or chicken. All I wanted was some good old bland American food, but that seemed to be the stuff that you could only get on the black market. Even the Ramen noodles only came in Spicy Masala style.
On Day 5 of the India trip, I decided to order some take-out while working at the office. Chicken Tikka Masala was my tried and true favorite Indian dish. I was very specific when placing the order. It had to be mild. Well, mild in the states and mild in India aren't exactly the same. I had probably the equivalent of 3, maybe 4 bites of the stuff. It was way too spicy for me even after the first bite, but I didn't want to be a wuss (yep, denial) and proceeded with bites 2, 3 and 4.
Now, I need you to visualize.
Think of a Roman candle.
Now think of a Roman candle lit, its beautiful stars of light bursting forth every few seconds.
Now, imagine accidentally swallowing that Roman candle.
Just when you think the fireworks are over, it launches more pyrotechnics. My stomach was on fire, and then it wasn't, and then it was again, and then it wasn't, and then it was.....over and over.
The rest of the afternoon, I had a very hard time concentrating on work because every other thought in my head was, "I will not throw up in a foreign country." "I will not be a typical tourist and get sick and throw up in a foreign country." "I'm half Mexican for heaven's sake! Spice should be in my blood, so I will not throw up in a foreign country!!!"
Never under estimate the power of positive thinking, because I was able to get through the rest of the day without causing a really icky, noisy and embarrassing scene. I was glad, too, because the bathrooms at work were kind of echo-y and I'm sure the whole office would have known exactly how much my stomach doesn't like pseudo-mild Chicken Tikka Masala.
I felt like it was a conspiracy. This whole country couldn’t really have the lead stomachs required to eat those spices daily, right? I think when the receptionist ordered our food for us, she secretly whispered that I was an American and asked them to go all “Emeril” on my masala...BAM, BAM, BAM.
The people here in the office probably took bets on how long it would take for us silly Americans to start turning green. I bet they got bonus winnings if they witnessed one of us in an all out sprint to the bathroom.
Well, I showed them. No money was won off of me, that day!
After that experience, I stuck to KFC, Pizza Hut, and granola bars.
Yes, my name is still Lori, and I'm still a wuss.