i was very hungry at lunch yesterday and asked my assistants to bring me back to the hidden place with the rice and beans. we walk over there and this time, i got to go around the back of the house to order. it's like a national geographic scene: chickens, dogs, children and an old lady bent over, barefoot under a tarp held up by black burned sticks, cooking over an open fire with various pots everywhere. someone is washing dishes in a dirty washbasin while another woman is sweeping the cooking area with a home-made broom of tied sticks. on the table there are a bunch of dented aluminum pots. you lift up the lid and make your choice. i got the rice, beans and plantains - the first vegetarian meal i've had since i've been here, which got a roll of the eyes out of the server.
a guy showed up with a creepy homemade marionette - it had a doll head, a big booty in some baby sweat pants and flip flops for hands. he sang and made it do a really dirty dance, grabbing it's crotch and grinding on the floor, which i presume is what happens in the nightclubs.
inside a really dark tiny cement room with a sewing machine is my new tailor. he's making me some killer button up shirts! with snaps! and a dress. for only $3. here come the christmas presents! we go sit down under another tarp, shoo away the flies and dig into our food. a few others from the office show up and have a seat and someone orders a steaming hot plate of.....CATERPILLARS!!! which are in season... everyone is all ooooooh yummy! and dig in. they're hard to pick up with a fork so a bunch fall on the ground and get eaten by a dog. they were various colors and shapes, you could see their heads and tails and feet, no hairs. i felt too tacky taking a picture and besides, they were eaten in about a minute. they saved one for me. but i just couldn't do it. everyone was sucking their fingers, yum! but for some reason i could only shudder. i thought of being on fear factor, and someone offering me a million bucks...still couldn't do it. i tried closing my eyes, imagining eating a piece of bread, couldn't do it. finally, i downed a glass of beer took a deep breath and when do one was looking grabbed it quickly with my fingers and put it in my mouth closed my eyes really hard and tried to think happy thoughts happy thoughts and finally swallowed it half chewed. it was crunchy with goo on the inside. it had an unexpected taste. like, lemony bitter eggplant. totally gross.
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