7.11.12

I almost vomited on the streets of Guadalajara today.

One of the hardest things for me while traveling is eating.

At the root of it all I am a very picky eater.
Please don't get this confused with a very "healthy" eater, although I think my diet, especially in SF, is on the clean side that dosen't apply to what I'm talking about now.
I can be a bit peculiar about food, the texture has to be just so, the temperature just so, and it can't look too funny. I like to try new things, and really I do like a lot of different foods...but not always, and sometimes I just don't like anything. Sometimes while traveling my dinner will be a banana or a bag of corn chips just because.

Another contributing factor is I'm a pescatarian (ah such a hoity-toity word!)
I started being a vegetarian at the age of 12, had a foray back into the world of meet for about 6 months in my early 20's, went back to being an even stricter vegetarian (cutting out eggs) and held strong till last year, 34 when I brought fish back into my life.
Bringing fish in was a tough choice, I had brought eggs back a year previous, another tough choice, but one that ultimately felt right for me.

So here I am embarking on an adventure that I know will be a challenge to my culinary pallet, not only will language be a barrier but so will culture when it comes to maintaining my diet.
It is by no means impossible to be a vegetarian or even a vegan out on on the road, but it is a challenge. Gone are the days of lard free beans and chicken stock free rice, say goodbye to things like kale and readily organic vegetables and farm fresh eggs.
I tried hard to find things hat fell into my healthy eating habits but time and time again came up with the same few ingredients. I began to eat some much cheese and corn in various combinations, trying to find something else anything else, sometimes it felt like something different but sadly and painfully for my body it was still cheese and corn no matter its disguise.

Along the coast life was better, fresh fish was plentiful at least but veggies were slim. Salads were available but honestly I hadn't ingested so much iceberg lettuce since I was a child. I chewed on the listlessly wondering how healthy iceberg lettuce and rubbery carrots were for you, and salads themselves were crap shoots every one out of three sending me down for the count.

So I struggled with the thought of meat.
Should I go back to eating it?
It'll make life so much easier, won't it?
Can I still eat it without making myself sick?
What does it mean if I eat it?

I agonized over all these questions and more. For weeks and weeks I kept thinking about it, and what would it mean if I ate some meat, what if i just tried it?
I realized how much of my own identity was tied up with being a vegetarian, a word I still call myself even though I eat fish.
So after a long meditation I decided to end my obsessing. It was either eat meat, try it out, or just stop thinking about it.
I mean I'm a world away surrounded by no one I know, and no one had to know, EVER.
Who was going to tell them right?

So I did it one night, I ate meat, and I didn't die.

Lightning didn't strike me, a piano didn't fall on me, and no sirens went off in the street with a spotlight pointing to me the meat eater.

It was ok, I could do it.
I felt dirty for doing it, but glad that I had faced my fear.

I ate meat a few more times after that, testing it out, like putting my toes into a pool, was this going to work?
Yes! It was going to work! I can eat meat and be fine!

But what I also realized is I don't want to.
I stopped eating meat when I was 12 because I didn't like it, not for some more lofty goal of morals or health or animal rights, I mean those came later and I was happy to support them, but originally I just didn't like it, and all these years later, I still just didn't like it.
I could breath easy once again.
I might not be a full vegetarian anymore, but I have made peace with the fact that I eat fish.

Inland Mexico it's so much harder to find things to ingest, it's a very meat rich culture, and a meat rich culture that uses all the parts. I love that about this culture, if you're going to kill it and eat it that at least put it all to use.

I think that today I was having a picky day. I didn't want to eat anything but I was hungry, I roamed the streets and finally gave in, having sopas with frijoles and papas. I was feeling picky, feeling queasy and only ate part of my meal, I left and was walking for my bus and something strange caught my eye.
Little red loaves with little red holes in the front lined up like soliders in a shiny glass case. I stopped dead in my tracks causing a bit of sidewalk congestion, and felt warm bile swell beyond the proper pipes, I slammed my one hand over my mouth terrified of spewing on the good people of Guadalajara, and realized what I was starring at.

Pig snouts.

Red roasted snouts sitting all alone side by side.

I don't tend to be squeamish when it comes to these things, I have seen plenty of meat markets in plenty of foreign countries, cows, pigs, and goats strung up fully in the street, raw and ready to buy your cut sort of thing, but for some reason this set me off.

They looked so sad, so lost. It felt cruel to separate them from the rest of their face.

I was so shocked I couldn't even photograph it, I had to leave, and quickly, bile still bubbling.




No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo

I study and teach ATS style belly dance with FatChanceBellyDance.
www.FCBD.com

I am about to embark on a world tour:
www.fromthebellyofatraveler.com