I am a raccoon person – confirmed.

I am an adult. Legally, emotionally (most of the time), physically, the whole shebang.

I do not always act the adult. This evening, after a seven-hour shift at the school in Alotenango, I was seriously debating staying in bed and, for the second night in a row, eating a meal consisted entirely of potato products (yesterday was French fries, today was going to be sweet potato chips).

I, most admirably, overcame this urge, and looked up restaurants near me. There was one, a vegetarian joint called Samsara, only a five minute walk from my hostel. Not going to lie; I was a little worried about finding vegetarian-friendly places here, so I was more than a little excited to check this place out.

The menu was familiar – there was chai and curry, though I don’t think it was meant to be an Indian restaurant. I ordered the chai and a quinoa shawarma curry dish (this was so goddamn good I’m going to be thinking about it for the rest of my life) and did what any person alone at a restaurant would do in 2019: stared at my phone.

I’m still stealing photos off of Google

Then things started going wrong, because I don’t know how to exist in a society.

The waiter brought out my chai, and there was a little cake-like thing sitting on the edge of the plate. It looked like black semi-translucent gelatin that had been dipped in white sprinkles. I immediately realized how screwed I was. It was the hot airplane hand/face towels all over again.

There were two options: eat the cake, or put it in the tea (I could have also not touched it, but that’s the coward approach to life). If I ate the whatever-it-was, and it was meant to be eaten: good. If I ate it, and it wasn’t meant to be eaten, then I could never eat at this restaurant again. The same goes for if I put it in my tea.

So I nibbled on it when the waiter wasn’t looking, and it tasted like spices, so I was like, “dope, lemme just pop it in that tasty chai, add some spice to my life.”

And then I registered the taste of fennel, and realized how similar those white sprinkles looked to the candied fennel I ate all the time in India (the same fennel that gave me E. Coli and giardia on two separate occasions. Don’t eat the fennel in India).

This is the fennel that you should, under no circumstances, eat, unless it is your personal fennel and you can confirm no one touched it with their hands

So I panicked, because now the gelatin-fennel thing was melting into my chai, and scooped it out of the tea and into my mouth before the waiter saw.

Then, because of course, he came over and engaged me in conversation, setting down a cup for my tea bag and a shot glass that was either full of some sort of warm liquor thing, or some soup (I have no idea).

Anyway the shawarma was fantastic, and I highly recommend the Samsara in Antigua, as long as you know how to behave like an actual human, and not a raccoon-person, in restaurants.

See you when I see you, except this is a textual medium so I won’t ever see you,

Jules

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