Monday, March 26, 2007

More than a Mouthful


Eating camel’s meat was one of the points on my ‘things to do in Saudi Arabia’ list. May be I should rephrase that a little..the list should be called ‘just about the only things you can do in Saudi Arabia’ list. Though I am yet to do that, I have had a few interesting situations at restaurants I have been to

The first few times I went to the local restaurants, I was literally lost for words. The guys there couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t speak Arabic, and they didn’t have many pictures I could point to. So I would do the next best thing – look around at what other people were having, and then point to that. Then the waiter would go something like “dajiwerdegh??” and I would go “daji…?” and he would repeat ““dajidarjierblahblahwerdegh?? I would point to the dish again, nod my head vigorously, raise my index finger, point towards me, point it towards that dish again..and just say ‘YES!ONE!’ and hope he understood. I’ve been lucky so far.

Two days back, my roommate and I headed for yet another local joint. When we reached the place, we were dismayed. There was just one other customer, and he wasn’t eating anything. We knew the names of just a couple of dishes and we didn’t want to have those either. We looked around for pictures and luckily, found one we liked (pictures always look nice and that’s something someone should do something about) and pointed to that. The picture was that of a juicy grilled chicken sitting amidst a plate full of colorful rice. You know, the one that keeps rotating and roasting over a fire.. “Dajiwerblah blah shawayya?” the waiter asked. We nodded our heads in unison, and tried a combination of Hindi, English and Arabic. “Rice?” – English!!! We were ecstatic and burst into English..now it was his turn to look confused. Turns out he didn’t know too much of English. “Rice” we confirmed.

Ten minutes later, the waiter returned with a huge plate. When I saw huge, I mean HUGE. Picture a plate around 3 feet long, and picture a full grilled chicken smack in the centre. And all around that unlucky piece of chicken, ALL around it, was rice – rice for as far as the eye could see. We went WOAH! Why have you brought so much of rice??? There was rice enough to feed the beleaguered and luckless Indian cricket team and we were just two Indians who were looking for a simple square meal. The waiter gave a quizzical look, seemed to ask us to go ahead and enjoy the meal and took off. We just stared at the plate in front of us. Neither of us said anything. I was wondering where to start my campaign from. From the edges, and gradually, hopefully in another 3 hours time, reach the chicken in the centre? Or from the centre and then slowly work myself outwards? Neither choice looked tempting. Especially since our apartment was a good 15 minute walk away.

Ten minutes later, we walked out of the restaurant. The juicy piece of chicken was reduced to a pile of bones. The rice was left unharmed. The waiter was not very happy, but then we were not concerned about that. Better an unhappy waiter than a terribly stuffed (and that too with rice!) tummy.

It’s true what all those ‘success gurus’ say - It’s all about having your priorities right.

15 comments:

Riaan said...

You ate camel meat...you lucky chap...thats on my meat wish list along with dog,frog and rabbit...

3inone said...

Shain, what are all those people doing around your plate of rice?
:-) And you changed colour again!

claytonia vices said...

Hmmm... you nearly lost yourself in the dunes of rice! :-)

claytonia vices said...

now, is that something like 'camel pulau' in that pic? How do they reach the middle of the vessel???

Macabreday said...

yeaa..does someone jump into the middle....?? haa
and hey...i prefer this color for ur template.

Sumo said...

I knew it!!! U forgot to take along ur Hitchhiker's Guide, didnt u???

Me said...

Where did you get that picture from? At first I thought it was just a closeup of a dish and then I saw the tiny people next to it.
wow.
That's an eating fest. Much like the one you had?

Jimmy said...

Ha! But check the rulebook before you go out to eat again. They might have some punishment (300 lashes with the whip??) for eating the chicken and leaving the rice untouched!

Everyman said...

@Riaan - Read carefully..i have NOT YET eaten camel meat..inshallah..hope to do it soon:)

@3inone-That's not my plate:-p I am a man of small means..as for the pic, it was sent by a friend who wondered whether I ate under similar conditions:) And i am glad u like the color..what better way to beat black than to go white!

@Vikki-I guess they have to jump in and enter the plate after a while..or else reach for the food with one of those big pitchforks or sthing..

@ Mac - Then this color stays!!

Everyman said...

@Sumo- I didnt take it along..you are right there..but that was coz i was scared the authorities would confiscate it..HHTTG is a kinda bible too isnt it :)

@Me- yup..the people do look tiny don't they:)Reality was a little different,but trust me..the plate was BIG!

@JJ-Naah..they are very lavish with food here..it's only the other pleasures of the flesh which they lash out on

Jimmy said...

Hi Shain! I have created an Orkut community called MCC bloggers and sent a badly-worded invitation to all of you whom I know about.
Don’t know if I had the right idea, but do let me know what you think about it .... like, is it a good thing or bad.
I haven’t put anything in the community yet, so don’t get turned off by the sight of it :) Also, do let me know if I have left anyone out...

Grey Shades said...

LOLLLLL!!!! Man this post is a keeper! :)

Sundancer said...

"From the edges, and gradually, hopefully in another 3 hours time, reach the chicken in the centre? Or from the centre and then slowly work myself outwards?"
Giggling mad here and I'm supposed to be working. That's quite a dilemma though :0)

Aparna.G said...

hehe.. i can see clealy now.. when u return, u wil be one FAT 'Dubai retuned' Indian!! U ate ALL the chicken?????? Man!!! Kudos dude.. kudos!!!

The Smokin' WDM2 said...

ha funny one... I'm saving this!

PS: gvnpwe :)