Indeed a journey through the underbelly
What is it that I love about traveling?Is it the unfamiliar landscapes, the weird angle with which the light falls on the picturesque buildings, the seemingly audacious path the sun goes through, the unusual shades the earth acquires in that part of
rt of the world you're new at? Yes, of course.
Is it the people you meet, the weary snorting faces whom you sit beside on the bus, at the diner, in that lonely train station during the night? Yes. Even the stinky ones. Even the loud ones. Especially the loud ones, actually.
Is it those accents previously unheard of? The obscure languages and unintelligible dialects and tones you're surrounded by? Yes. At least as long as they're not shouting in your direction, along with handcuffs, screaming housewives or a big big stick, they are lovely, they make you feel special and humble.
Is it the long hours of waiting and then the frantic runnings to your connection? The panic and the adrenaline mounting your temples when you realize you got lost just in the wrong wrong neighborhood to get lost in? Sure. I love all this.
But the food – the food!
If traveling is an orgiastic experience – and no doubt it is – the food you eat when you're traveling is the climax of it. No metaphors intended here: food gives me orgasms. Abounding, glossy, steamy creamy luxurious food peering out of every corner, caressing the softer skin under my arms – but no, I've already eaten, and no! I need to save. I turn away – odorous tentacles crawling into my nostrils – I frown. Fuck it. I'll have it. Come on here let me have this and that and what is that over there? Can I taste it? How do you think they do this? Can I watch you while you cook? Please let's go to the supermarket, I've got to find this stuff – can I have more? Do you fry these little things here in oil, or is it just sweet sweet salted fat? I've never tasted anything like this. We do it differently at home. I'd never seen this herb before. They do something like that in Iran. Can you teach me? This is very original. This, on the other hand, is disgusting but hey, I won't find it again for a long time so let's eat it all.
I listened to Bourdain passionately reading KC while sitting in a car with my love, riding westwards through the US for the first time. A new continent. Which means: plenty of new food. And long hours of sitting, contemplating the yellow bands of the US highway smoothly rolling behind under my butt, visualizing boxes of juicy clams that smell like the sea, mountains of spices all colours of the earth and even more, gigantic pans in which viscous noodles steam and revolt in their own sauce, sweet potatoes roasting on a low fire, fabulous fruits in rivers of honey, metal scales red and blue around yellowy eyes – staring at you, judging – burning stings piercing cushions of scarlet flesh, cheeseflakes showering, dewy parsley, coriander, chopped chickens lying on beds of wild rice, spicy horns, lemons squirting, an ocean of red wine overflowing the scene.
Thanks Anthony Bourdain, for bringing my journey to its climax.