Monday, March 7, 2011
The Guyanese Appendicitis Diet...try it!
Three weeks, 10 pounds, one belly button ring hole sewn shut, and three incisions later I am finally adjusting to the Guyanese way of life. We have moved into a village called Vreed en Hoop (sp?), which apparently is Dutch for “Peace and Hope”, though we haven’t been able to confirm this. We are living with a host family that consists of a middle age East Indian couple who love, I mean LOVE, American 90’s soft rock and just blast it almost every day. Classic! We live in a modest two-story house that consists of a concrete bottom, a wood second story and an aluminum roof. We bathe with a bucket every night, but have to make sure we bathe between 5-9pm, because the water that is piped into the house shuts off between 9pm and 6am. They have a small kitchen with a gas stove that they cook a lot of Indian food on. We are becoming pretty accustomed to the diet, which is carb-heavy and lots of veggies fried in oil. We eat almost no dairy and rarely have cold drinks, but that surprisingly is easy to get used to. We eat fresh fruit in the morning and try to eat the fruit that the birds have picked at because they are sweeter (it’s true). I have no idea if birds pick the sweetest fruit or after a bird picks at a fruit is becomes sweeter, but it works every time! Any fruit with bird holes in it are noticeably sweeter than no bird-hole fruit. For lunch we eat sausage, which as you can imagine is not the same thing as it is in the states. Sausage or chicken is Hot Dogs and if you want chicken you have to ask for “pluck chicken.” Needless to say, we have eaten a lot of hot dogs thinking it would be chicken. Healthy, I know! (can you sense the sarcasm). Dinner usually consists of sautéed veggies, deep-fried fish or chicken or something curried, and rice or roti, which is a flour tortilla-looking thing. My favorite meal thus far is Dahl Puri (split pea soup) Roti (baked flour tortilla-thing) and Fried Okra!
We sleep under a mosquito net and apply bug spray likes it cologne and live among geckos, huge beetles and tons I mean tons of small frogs. To be more exact I have about 7 to 8 small frogs join me for my daily bath. They jump out of the pipes, buckets, and my toiletry kit and scare the living crap out of me (ironically they also have giant toads called crapos). It’s like I am showering in a herpatarium fun house every night.
On the weekends we go to what in the States may be considered fast-food, but here is a special occasion restaurant in town called “Chesters” to drink beer (in which they put ice!) and eat fried chicken and french fries. This is a very special night out. Not a lot of people can afford to do this, actually on our PC salary we cant afford to do this, but our host family is very generous and has treated us to this taste of home. I am surprised at how quickly our perspective has changed in just three weeks, and how an outing such as this is such an incredible treat!
As weird as this place seems to us, we seem even weirder to them. There are a lot of funny mistakes we make on a daily basis, which makes us feel like walking jerks. Let see, people don’t bless sneezes and stare at you like you just farted when you do, we try and use clean language like “freakin” and that is even worse than the “F” word, we never order food correctly no matter where we go (e.g. having a cashier scream at us “Use in” or “Take Away”) and we are constantly wearing shoes when we are supposed to be barefoot and vice versa. Little reminders like this every day tell us that culture is so much deeper than food, language, and music.
Till next time.