It’s hard to believe that we have been on the road for 200 days now. After 9 countries, it still feels as though we just started yesterday – yet we are feeling quite at home on the road, which in some ways makes it feel as though we have been doing this forever.
Of course there has been good and bad times: it can’t all be easy. We’ve struggled with languages, shady characters, dodgy hotel rooms, horrible bus rides and a moody customs officer. Travis fell though a roof, and I nearly drowned. And there were a few bug issues… Overall though, it has mostly been good. We have had some incredible adventures and have learned a lot, grown spiritually, met fantastic people and eaten some delightful food. We’ve also acquired quite the collection of “Ali Baba” pants (as they like to call them here – I prefer MC Hammer pants) and a few other traditional clothing. Our bags may be heavier, but we are stronger, calmer, more in touch with what makes us happy and what we want.
And what we want today is a good meal – a celebratory meal in the likes of the one on our 100th day. Ironically though, we are in Pushkar, the holy city where all meat , eggs and alcohol are firmly banned. While one can get bang (hash) anywhere in town and alcohol in a few places, meat is a lost cause. Which I guess is a good thing, as we learned in our quest for a great 200th day meal.
What we learned is this: there are no great restaurants in this town, and no great food. Even in the fanciest of places, the food is still sadly pathetic, and the service, often horrible. Case in point: pasta served with no sauce but hideously salty “sautéed” mushrooms; way undercooked no lemon “lemon potatoes”; overcooked pasta made with canned sauce; undercooked pancakes; crappy fruit salads; a consistent streak of never getting the dish you ordered; and waiting hours for the privilege.
It got me thinking that this city seriously needs a great chef, and a great restaurant. Vegetables can be so versatile and tasty, yet this city makes vegetarianism feel like a painful sacrifice. And as much as I am madly craving meat, I think that it would be a waste of a life should it be cooked here, by the platoon of incompetent cooks.
As we were waiting for our meal last night, on a patio overlooking the city twinkling underneath the near full moon, we reminisced about our best meals on this trip – there were so many! South East Asia has so many great restaurants, so much great food. You can find wonderful, cheap local food or fancy, hip places serving great international cuisine. Thus far, we haven’t seen any such place since leaving South East Asia. Thinking about it, we realized that those hip, tasty places were most often run by expats, and maybe there just isn’t any of that around here…
While today (and last night) was a total food disaster, we did succeed in getting a few beers to properly cheers our 200th day. They had to be kept wrapped in newspaper, and it totally had that “homeless person in a park” element to it, but it was lovely nonetheless.