In 2007, I had the opportunity to go to India for 8 days! It was an interesting journey full of contrasts: odors, heat, cows, fumes, elephants, coaches, poverty, wealth, more cows, hotels, bargaining, reality, another elephant … and a visit to companies in the region.
I do not hold food pictures from this trip as apps like Celicity didn’t exist back then, (as a matter of fact applications didn’t exist yet), but I’ll try to give an overview so you can see that a celiac and a Hindu can also come to understand each other.
Early in the morning of October 27, 2007, a taxi picked us up and took us to the Barcelona airport, where we boarded a plane that would take us to Delhi, with a stopover in Amsterdam.
Initially everything went very well, because on the way from Barcelona to Delhi I was offered a gluten-free menu during the flight (on request) and hotels were informed on the subject of celiac disease and there was no problem. The hardest part was breakfast as there was a buffet and everyone here puts the spoon where they should not: speaking from a celiac point of view, of course!
The following, we catched another bus that took us to Jaipur, stopping at the Taj Mahal , one of the most beautiful funeral monuments: a building of white marble inlaid with precious stones dedicated to love , in memory of Mumtaz Mahal , the wife of Shahjehan.
After the tour, we went to a local restaurant. This probed to be quite an experience, as it wasn’t planned and I had to talk to the guide to raise awareness among chefs as they took the usual breads (those who stick to the wall of the furnace), with chicken and potatoes all together and it took me quite a bit of effort to make them understand that they had to work on a separate one and with clean hands …celiac perks! However this is the case, where in Spain, England or the US would you ask for clean oil, right?
Honestly, they are not very used to these allergies, but also keep in mind that they do not throw food additives to everything, so things tastes much better. Although sometimes they use flour, if you ask them nicely and give them the time to explain, they will respond positively. In the end I went for a half chicken with salad. It was very tasty, however in the end the salad probed to be a mistake…
In the afternoon, we visited the Palace of the Winds, a building decorated with delicate windows, balconies and holes from where Maharaja women glimpsed at life outside of the palace. A whole different culture! Then we went to the observatory and returned to the hotel. By dinner time the effects of the salad were beginning to show. In some places we have to be extra vigilant with raw foods because they can leave the stomach inside out. I dined at a little place and went to sleep, but the following day I could not try anything at all for breakfast.
Also, that day I had to go with my father to visit a company, which in theory was going to be one of the most interesting days, but I felt terribly bad: a killing stomach ache which is difficult to conceal. Luckily they were accustomed to visits from Europeans who ate salad and it was not the first time they had seen one with a stomach-ache as a consequence. They were very helpful because they took us to a restaurant and ordered boiled rice and grilled lamb. At night I had something light for dinner and the following morning I was almost fully recovered!
After two days we were in Bombay visiting industrial areas and returned to Barcelona and Paris.
Learning bites, it does not take a celiac to have to watch what you eat when you travel to different cultures!