Rice-around

Rice is everything here. There are the bright green or yellow rice stalks on the terraces; there is rice in the paste wrapped in banana leaves we had for breakfast; there is rice in the mortars where the grains are pounded into flour; there is rice in the bellies of the little children. The donuts, offered to us steaming hot at a roadside stand somewhere in the region on a beautiful crisp morning were also made of rice.

Rice is also in my cells now after 5 days of travelling like a local. We are eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner at tiny grimy little places which are called ‘hotely,’  or sometimes not even that. Sometimes it is just a lean-to with a few planks that serve as seats and tables. The word does not mean you can sleep there. It is a local eatery where the food is ready and made fresh constantly as there are always people eating. It is cheap and fast. Our meals rarely last more than 15 minutes or cost more than a dollar.

The other thing served with our roadside breakfasts was fresh coffee. Not Nescafe. During our entire trip I did not see one Nescafe advertisement, not one of the little strips with a few grams of the instant coffee. The coffee we have been drinking out in the region is grown locally, not for export. People grow it for themselves. It is roasted, ground and then put in a sock over which boiling water is poured. It is delicious, bitter black or sweetened black.

Miraculously my GI problems that have been dragging on for years and required expensive but fruitless modern medicine diagnostics are gone.  My rice diet seems to have fixed the problem. Rice: wonder drug?

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