Readers be advised...this blog posting is not recommended for the faint of heart nor the vegetarians in the crowd...
So the last couple of days have been FULL, and I mean jam-packed, smokin' FULL of new experiences. The highlight being...get ready for it...horse meat!!!
Even as I write I'm grinning ear to ear, just recollecting the experience...well, experiences...I had a horse meat sandwich for lunchy yesterday too!!!
Okay, so the other day some of the guys from the office were going out to lunch and I asked to joing them...I'd been stuck in the office for the morning I think (just uploading photos etc.) and was dying to get out. Plus the sun was shining and I figured that these guys would probably take me to some side street spot that only the locals frequented...I was really quite tired of the tourist track. Right on the money, the two guys wove through the winding alleys towards a busy street full of food stalls. To my dismay and much excitement, one of them informed me that they were buying horse meat for lunch. I seriously thought he was joking as I really only figured people ate horse in, like, Mongolia. I expected camel but not something from Aunt Sally's petting zoo.
So here's how it works. You go to a stall, buy your meat, and take it down the street to the stall that provides BBQ services. There you give them your meat and right before you eyes, voila, the ground meat (called kefta) is kneaded into small pieces and sandwiched between these really cool grilling tools (I don't know how to describe them, but want to bring one back!!). Then your meat waits in line to be BBQd and you watch and wait. The smell of BBQ and smoke was just about enough to make me homesick, but with the warm sun beating down on my back, my camera around my neck, good company to laugh with (even if we couldn't speak much, the fact that I was nervous about eating horse was enough to make the three of us joke and laugh) and BBQ Moroccan-style to be had, I couldn't have been happier!!!!! Honestly, the entire experience will remain one of the highlights of these entire four months!!! And the horse...tasted AMAZING!!!!! Similar to beef, and served on a platter, along with dipping sauce and the country's drink of choice next to mint tea...Coca Cola...I was in HEAVEN...just to sink my teeth into hunks of meat, eat w/ my hands, and watch the locals take their lunch break was almost enough to make me faint with joy! And for the three of us to eat it cost about 1.50 Euros....even better!!! Later on that evening I thought about a phrase I've used quite often "So hungry I could eat a horse!" and realised that this could never just be an exaggeration for me anymore!!! The next day we ate the same but back at the office, and it came in the form of sandwiches!!! And today, gulp, was cow feet served w/ chickpeas and sides of kidney beans and fries. Fries and feet--beautiful. Though the taste was ok, the globular chunks of meat staring me in the face was almost enough to make me gag...but I made it!!!! One of the guys my age from the office kept looking at me eat and said that if I could eat it, then he could eat it!!! The other guys ate it on a fairly regular basis so I think they wondered what the fuss was about!!!
On a much more tame note, I indulged in my first Moroccan couscous with beef and veggies last night. The flavour, the textures, the colours, the fact that we just got to dig in with our hands...amazing!!! And I made my first couscous ball!!! It was really tiny but I tried all dinner to get one and i finally did it!!! Basically you scoop the mixture up with your right hand and using your thumb, roll the mix around, kneading it until it becomes a firm ball. Then you flick it into your mouth using your thumb as if you were going to flip a coin. So fun!
And completely aside from the food factor, I got invited to the hospital where one of the women I know was having a baby. Only minutes after the baby girl was born, I was ushered to the little room where the nurse was weighing her, cutting the umbilical cord etc., to take photos!!! Then I photographed the family when they all came together (the father is not allowed in the delivery room, and their other son was with his grandma before). I'd never done that in Canada never mind a foreign country!!! I felt SO privileged!!!
I really do love it here...I feel like my heart is finding a home here, as it usually does as soon as I become attached to the people and the culture. After one week I really don't want to leave but know that in one more week I'll move on and so will they. Sucky!!!
Anyway, I gotta go, but it was really great to finally type on an English keyboard!!!
More reports after the weekend!!! Oh yeah. GO STEELERS!!!
Jaime the Carnivourous