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Traveling, Day 4

Posted by tinako on April 20, 2010

Breakfast this morning was the same hotel buffet.  Lunch was the same snacks, on a picnic.  Not sick of them yet.

Dinner was kind of disappointing, but partly our own faults.  We were tired.  We’re picky.  We were driving back to our hotel from a day of fun sightseeing, and our chosen restaurant was closed so we were trying to pick one as we drove down the road.  This wasn’t working well, with several trendy restaurants in succession having nothing even meat-free.  Finally I chose a Turkish restaurant, which I thought would work well because ethnic food is often vegan, I have done well in Mediterranean restaurants, and their menu seemed appealing.  However, once I started grilling the waitress it came out that there was hidden animal products in many things – that is just how they cook in Turkey, apparently.  It was disappointing that the server/cook/owner was unwilling to make any substitutions, so the vegetarian (or maybe it was called vegetable) variety platter (including chicken-broth rice pilaf and two other non-vegan items) was out.  I ended up getting a veggie wrap, no feta or cream sauce, and it was good, fresh food, but pretty plain, certainly not the interesting ethnic flavor I’d hoped for.  No one else was happy with their meals either, due not to quality but to pickiness or, in one case, crankiness.  So I was losing my holiday enthusiasm watching people dissect their meals and grump – I think I would have enjoyed my meal more at another table – ever have a meal like that?  There were a few other non-vegan-related disappointments about the restaurant, so… well, everyone has an underwhelming restaurant experience sometimes.  Big deal.  I’m just tired.

When I had expressed my apprehension about finding vegan food on this vacation, several vegans told me I would have no trouble since Southern California is more progressive, healthy, and so forth.  I am noticing that there doesn’t seem to be as much junk food offered – the beaches are not lined with mobile shacks shilling fries and onion rings, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single fudge store.  Today I noticed a boy eating a fancy lollipop on the beach, and the fact that it struck me at all tells me I haven’t been seeing people eating while they walk around, which everyone does where I’m from, at attractions I mean.   Kind of like, when I see someone smoking, once every few months, I think, wow, people still do that?  But the meat and dairy is just as ubiquitous as back home, and I don’t see any more comprehension in server’s eyes than I’m used to.   I was thinking maybe it was because we were mostly hitting chain restaurants, but today’s experience shot down that theory.  Most people don’t seem to have met a vegan before.  It’s all, like, “good luck with that.”

Tomorrow is another day.

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