----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

USA: Fear of Rice

One day a couple of years ago, just before returning from a year in Asia, I was walking along a street in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I looked into a Chinese restaurant and quickly turned away.  I couldn't go in. For over four years, I had spent a huge amount of time in countries where rice is a part of every meal. I'd had rice nearly every day, and for the past year, I often had it twice a day.

Now, suddenly, the idea of sitting down to a Chinese or Indian or even Mexican meal that included rice filled me with a feeling that can only be described as, well, fear. I'd developed a fear of rice!

Kentucky Fried Chicken and the A&W became my favorite restaurants. No rice.

When I arrived back in the US, even hearing or seeing the word made me cringe. I had to ask some of my friends to shift from our usual meeting place, an Indonesian restaurant, to someplace with a different cuisine, like Italian. Raoul, who loves rice, figured my fear was a good reason to eat out a lot, when usually he likes to cook. He had a cupboard full of noodles, so I didn't quite understand his reasoning. Maybe he just was hunting for an excuse, and I provided it.  But I didn't have to face rice.

My next trip would be to Central America, where gallo pinto (rice and beans) comes with everything.  The idea was a little unnerving. After I'd been away from rice for nearly three months, I was able to face my fears and have the Cajun rice at Popeyes.

After a couple of months, the fear returned.  Once I arrived in Panama, it was easy to avoid.  I could get everything here that I can get at home. On a typical day, I'd use the free wi-fi at a place called New York Bagel. I could have a bratwurst for lunch. And on my first night, I ordered a pizza from Domino's.

Now I'm considering a return to Asia. What will happen to me then?Will the fear return? Will I develop a fear of noodles?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mexico: Something to Aim For

I've been thinking back on my Mexico trip, reminiscing a bit.

The woman in the bed next to mine went home at the end of January, winding up a month-long break from the Michigan winter. She won't be home for long though, because at the beginning of March she will leave again. This time she would spend three months traveling with a friend through Argentina and Chile, with a brief stop in Brazil to visit Iguazu Falls. She backpacks, staying in hostels and guesthouses, cooking her meals and doing her laundry by hand, roughing it more than I do.

And in between the two departures, she will celebrate her 77th birthday.

Now, just in case you think she might be overly ambitious with her travel plans, in the past few years she and her friend traveled through Eastern Europe for three months, and spent three months seeing Australia and New Zealand. She mentioned other trips, one to Kruger National Park in South Africa, two trips to China, and many previous trips here. She talked about how much she likes Norway, and there was something about ferries in Scotland.

She does't like to plan too far ahead, but she does have a couple of trips in mind. She wants to visit western China (she takes tours there, because of the language difficulties), and maybe do a road trip in the US, to visit all the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. But, she told me, she's saving that for when she's old.

Note:  I wrote this a while ago and recently came across it in an orphaned folder.  I am not currently in Mexico.