Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day #11 - Feast

Day #11 of 30 Days of Indie Travel
For some of us, food isn’t just a part of our travels, it’s the reason why we travel. Whether you travel the globe to try new foods and use food to form a deeper connection with the culture or just eat to live, food plays a big part in the travel experience. Share a food-related story from your travels or describe your best meal.

I'm gonna digress a bit on this one, though it'll still be about food (I promise). Here I'm gong to tell you not how I enjoyed traveling more because of food, but how I enjoyed staying more. This is also related to the "related article" they have listed on this blog prompt - street food. What is this magical, mystical food that made me love staying, you ask? Batatas! For those of you who don't speak Arabic, it's a potato. Specifically a sweet potato. Even more specifically, bought from a dude who rolls around a giant metal cylinder with a chimney and will trade you a piping hot sweet potato wrapped in used paper for a Pound or two. No, not a Pound Sterling, an Egyptian Pound, about 0.17 USD.
Now, you may ask how exactly this man made me love staying, and you would probably not be alone in wondering that. But my roommate Matt and I had almost made a game out of finding the batata man - as his store was on wheels it was often rather a challenge - after we discovered his existence in our new neighborhood in December. We would actually make a point of telling the other when we found the batata man, even pointing him out if we were in a cab together and we drove by him.
I know this isn't exactly your average food story, but something I have neglected to mention, which I feel is obligatory for a post about food, is that the batatas were damn good. But that was totally not (all of) the point. Moving to an apartment in a new neighborhood with a landlady that barely spoke English, an apartment that was kind a piece of crap (you get what you pay for, we were ok with it, but still) in a neighborhood that's certainly not a popular tourist destination (and thus where I was subject to more prejudice for both being white and for being a woman, and also where much less English was spoken so I had to survive with my ever-improving but still much-to-be-desired Arabic skills) is kinda stressful. But the batata man was awesome. He had good food, cheap, didn't care that we were white, and made us feel local. So I was excited to be staying, because of batatas.

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