This post is an ‘interlude’ in our journey round Rajasthan. The incident described took place in Udaipur at the most southerly point of our route, but it could have happened anywhere in India – and we saw something very similar in Sri Lanka in 2015.
|We were in Udaipur in central southern Rajasthan|
As we plonked down our fruit juice and tea cups to 'claim' our morning breakfast table we noticed a lonely bottle of soy sauce standing sentinel on an adjacent table. By the time we had returned from the buffet it had been joined by a stack of pot noodles, and a waiter was approaching bearing a large jug of boiling water. A party of a dozen or so Chinese tourists had occupied a long table behind us and the Chinese tour manager sat behind the soy sauce and noodles doling them out on request. It is easy to mock, and indeed we had a quiet smirk, while acknowledging that British tourists can sometimes be notoriously inflexible, and not only when faced with ‘spicy food’ - I know a restaurant in Portugal that advertises 'all day English breakfast' and is rarely short of custom.
On the other hand, many travellers of all nationalities make it a point of honour to eat local, though maybe I am a little hardcore in eating local lunch, dinner and, particularly, breakfast. In France I eat croissants (doesn’t everybody?), in China I enjoy noodles with vegetables and soy sauce and today from the Indian section of the buffet I had selected sambhar with idlis and coconut chutney - perhaps a touch south Indian for Rajasthan, but let's not be too picky.
|Sambhar, idlis and coconut chutney|
But most European visitors eat a largely European breakfast. This generally includes Lynne, and once in a while me - I occasionally yearn for a comforting fried egg. We have stayed in several non-tourist orientated hotels in China where only a Chinese breakfast was available, but generally, throughout Asia you can choose between a local breakfast or something more or less western*. And so it was today, there was a choice between Indian and western, the western option being overwhelmingly taken by western customers - indeed I might have been the only European (or North American or antipodean) to take the Indian option.
I thought this post needed more pictures, but apparently I rarely photograph my breakfast. This one is from Marari Beach, Kerala
The fruit would suit everyone, Indian, European or Chinese, but only the Indians seem to have spotted that a squeeze of lemon turns papaya from ho-hum to magnificent....but I followed this with....
But what about the Chinese? There was no option for them. At the time of day when many people feel the need for something familiar, they were offered nothing, so they brought their own pot noodles. It looked odd, but I understand and, to a certain extent I sympathize (but I still think they should try the sambhar and idlis).
|....largely the same breakfast as at Udaipur, though with a dosa instead of the idlis|
*In China (and elsewhere) this usually means sweet, flaccid bread, a scrape of something yellow which certainly won’t be butter, and jam whose only discernible flavour is sweet. It is always worth avoiding, as is the glass of black, unsweetened Nescafé which well-meaning Chinese waiters occasionally try to force on tea drinking Brits.