June 23, 2004

You Call That a Salad?

Today I went to the Campus Restaurant where I usually take my meals because the food at the Visitor's Hostel is pretty unhealthy and is often runs 30 minutes late. Anyway, in my never-ending quest to eat healthy in India, I decided to order the half salad. I was expecting something, you know, green, leafy, something on which you could put salad dressing, but no. Instead, I got a plate with 11 (yes, I counted) slices of red onion, two things that may or may not have been string beans before they were desiccated beyond recognition, and a slice of lemon (the lemon was a really nice touch). Unfortunately, the waiter didn't speak English, and more unfortunately, I didn't know how to say "Are you fucking kidding me?" in Hindi. I think that this could be a phrase worth learning, as I would have already found it valuable in a number of situations. On one hand, it doesn't seem worth arguing about because the "half salad" only cost 30 cents, but on the other hand, I have this funny feeling that the guys in the back were messing with me because that was not what my labmates got when they ordered salads from the Restaurant (Maybe they ordered the full salad?):

"Hey Sanjay, the pudgy white kid is here again."

"Oh yeah, what does he want this time?"

"Get this -- he wants the half salad."

"Oh yeah? We'll he's going to get the one-sixteenth salad! That'll make him lose some weight."

Seriously, when I go to the Restaurant midday, I often get poor service. For example, the other day, the waiter pushed the bill towards me three times as if I didn't notice it or wasn't going to pay it. Then he stood over me and watched me while I calculated his tip. In the evening, I always have the same waiter (who doesn't get there until 4pm or so) and he treats me well, but I really feel like the lunch staff has it in for me.

Posted by Michael at 07:30 AM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2004

What I Eat

So some of you may be wondering what I've been eating. Well, so have I. I take all of my meals at the "mess" for the guest hostel where I'm staying. It's always buffet-style, so there are two or three trays of different things, but they are never labelled with what they are. Originally, I thought that this was because I was the only moron who couldn't identify the food, but I asked one of the guys working there what the stuff was once, and he didn't know, either.

Obviously, there are some things that I can recognize, such as hard-boiled eggs and Corn Flakes. When I got my first bowl of Corn Flakes, some guy offered to pour milk on them which I thought was very nice until I discovered that the milk was hot and it dissolved most of my Corn Flakes.

"Hey buddy, thanks a lot, it's 9am and it's already 90 degrees outside, so some hot Corn Flakes were really just what I needed." Similarly, "room service" also thought that it was worth waking me up at 6:30 in the morning to ask if I wanted tea. "Jesus Christ, I've never woken up at 6:30am for a beer, why the hell do you think I would want to get up this early for a cup of tea?" (Seriously, people are always trying to get me to drink tea here, and sometimes I capitulate since boiled water is the only non-bottled water that I trust.)

Also, it looks like I'm a de facto vegetarian for the summer since the mess doesn't serve any meat. (I did go to the campus restaurant for mutton once, but it wasn't all that great, and I'm a little suspicious of the meat here, anyway.) I was hoping to lose a lot of weight here this summer, and you'd think that by restricting myself to veggies and bottled water that I would, but I'm not so sure.

You see, before I left for India, the rest of the Bolin family decided to embrace the South Beach Diet™ which forced me to start thinking about how many carbs I consume. Here in India, carbs are tough to avoid since almost everything has potatoes in it and comes with a side of naan. Now I'm half-Irish, but even I can recognize too much of a good thing -- this morning's breakfast was mashed potatoes and Corn Flakes. How about another food group, people? The potatoes are really starchy, and from what I've read online, naan seems about as healthy as white bread.

So what to do? Well, I've been trying to eat smaller portions and of course, exercise. Eating less is a little tough in that it takes some self-restraint, but exercise is even tougher since it gets hot so soon in the day. I've been going running at 6am since it's not too hot then and there is little motor traffic on the road at that hour; however, me knee has started to bother me, so it looks like I'm going to have to do something else for a little while. There is a pool where I could swim laps; however, it's an outdoor pool which means that it's also open to the neighborhood dogs, peacocks, monkeys, etc., so I'm a little apprehensive about getting in (apparently Stanley's girlfriend at home has forbidden him from using the pool since she's so paranoid). Thus, today I'm going to try to get my IITK id card so I can use the gym here. Who knows what surprises it will hold?

Posted by Michael at 01:06 AM | Comments (3)