Something worrying seems to be happening to me. Sure, it all started with the best of intentions but so many things do, don’t they? And now I’m worried it’s too late to stop, that I’ve passed the point of no return. That the old me is gone.
You see, when we first arrived in Nepal we avoided eating meat because we were about to trek out into the wild where a tummy bug would be a lot more serious than a trip to the nearest doctor. And while trekking we carried on not eating it because there was no refrigeration in most of the places we went to.
That’s right, I think I’m turning vegetarian.
See, after the mountains it became something of a habit. Vegetarian food here is cheaper and often much tastier than food with meat in. And having passed a few butchers, with their half-carved carcasses hanging in the open air, spotted with flies, being splashed with rainwater and fingered by passersby, the thought of meat has become distinctly less appealing. And those are the higher-end places. Several times I’ve passed men skinning animal heads on a tarpaulin by a roadside.
Plus there is rarely beef anywhere. Hindus won’t eat it because it’s sacred. So it’s generally substituted with buffalo (or buff as menus call it – not that making it sound like beef is fooling anyone). You know how a buffalo looks like a bonier, surlier cow… well, that’s all the clue you need to understand its jaw-exhausting texture.
And the only other real choice is chicken, which of all the meats is the one it’s probably best not leave by a roadside in the heat for a few days before consumption.
So it’s been tasty daals and curries, pakauras and sandhekos, naans and rotis… and rarely a piece of meat at all. And it’s been fine… until I realized I might be in danger of turning to the dark side*.
So tonight we go to a post-trek institution: the famous New Everest Steak House, with beef flown in from West Bengal. Hopefully they’ll get me back on the right track.
* Green side?