Bread So Delicious Grown Men Fight Over It

Bread So Delicious Grown Men Fight Over It

Sometimes a single meal deserves its own dedicated post because it’s just that amazing. It possesses that certain combination of delicious food, ideal ambiance, and possible violent, drunken brawl that makes a dinner unforgettable. After a day on our tour of Munnar gone-wrong-gone-right, we set out that evening to hunt down something tasty for dinner in the city. The main draw to the town is its surrounding tea plantations and mountains. Munnar itself is actually a bit dark and dingy, but, after sampling food from a few shops, we discovered the city was also pretty tasty. Along one of the streets, a food stall was set up under a barely-lit tarp. There were rows and rows of benches filled with rows and rows of Indian men chowing down on chicken, curry, chickpeas, and some sort of amazing looking bread.   To the right, a man was doing the Indian equivalent of flipping pizza. He took tiny balls of dough, flattened them out, spun them around on his hand, and then twisted them into neat piles. We walked over and started to chat with him. He introduced himself as Raju and explained that he was making paratha – a sort of flaky pita. They were passed out to customers as quickly as he could make them. Then someone ordered a dish called kothu paratha. Several pieces of the bread were thrown on the grill, chopped into tiny bits, and mixed with shredded vegetables, egg, and sauce. There was a sudden chorus of “That! We want that!,” from our group and Raju happily showed us to a few open seats. We ordered four...
How We Made Our Package Tour of India Not Suck

How We Made Our Package Tour of India Not Suck

“Where are we stopping now?” I asked. “We’re at The Super Awesome Fun Park,” Jessica answered. “Are you serious?” “Yeah, for 300 rupees we can bounce on a trampoline.” [Hand smacks forehead] I’d reunited with my favorite on again, off again travel partner Jessica, and her friends Lyric and Dhaak, for a three day tour of two cities in Kerala, India. Packaged tours are not at all how I like to see a country. But, I was feeling travel weary, so the thought of someone else being in charge of me for a few days had some appeal. Our tour would start in Kochi and take us to Munnar — a hill station with beautiful mountains and tea plantations.  Along the way we were promised various “natural wonders” and “cultural sites” – words that definitely struck a fair amount of tourist-trap fear in my heart. Our driver, Sebin, met us at our guesthouse in Kochi on the first morning. He seemed nice, but a little withdrawn and quiet as we made our way out of the city and slowly started climbing into the mountains. Then the “tour” portion began. We started off by stopping at two “waterfalls” that trickled more than fell. “They’re bigger in rainy season,” Sebin reassured us. We were then treated to a visit to a chocolate shop and “herb garden” which looked reminiscent of the gardening center at Home Depot – plastic planters, bags of mulch, and a few wilted flowers. We unanimously declined to pay the two dollars to walk around. Next, we stopped at a “flower park” which also looked like the Home Depot...