Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Caught the Bug

Posted from Hoi An, Vietnam

Sadly, it's not the traveling bug. Nope. On the second morning of our trek through the hills east of Luang Prabang, our group sat down to a quick breakfast in the Khmu village we stayed in overnight. Our guides had prepared a plate of fried eggs and a baguette for each of us. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling quite up to snuff. The night before we'd all sat around the table, drinking some sweet, semi-fermented rice liquor the villagers down by the gallon. Being a gracious guest, I accepted what our guides put before us, again and again and again. Although I went to bed with a mostly clear head, I simply could not fall asleep. Not one wink. So when the guides set our breakfast plates in front of us, I was only too eager to dig in. But there was something about those eggs. I don't know if it was the slightly bitter, smoky flavor from the cooking fire or the fact that the eggs tasted a bit like our dinner from the night before, but something about those eggs did not sit well.

When we arrived back in Luang Prabang, I figured that a little Western food would be just what the doctor ordered. The others were having pizzas and curries, and I decided to take a stab at an American classic: the cheeseburger. But even that didn't make it down. The meat was too salty, and the cheese was a creamy, French cheese. Yech! So Western food was out. I tried Lao food, but that was a non-starter. It seemed like no matter what my eyes wanted to eat, my stomach had a vicious and violent difference of opinion.

Still eating very little, we left Lao and arrived in Hanoi. At least that night, I was able to try a Vietnamese dish of grilled, marinated pork and noodles, and I managed to enjoy most of it. The next morning, however, our guesthouse served us each a baguette with a plate of fried eggs. I tried. I really tried, but the eggs were too much. Instantly, the smell and the taste of the eggs from the village filled my senses, and I couldn't do it. I munched on my baguette, trying to forget that smell.

Over the course of the past day or so, my stomach has slowly returned to normal. Except that now I have an almost allergic reaction to the taste or smell of eggs in my food. Be that as it may, I'm still taking it easy on the food adventures, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be a little wiser when accepting drinks from strangers.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I'm glad you're feeling better!