The bus stops. We are 4 hours behind schedule. But, we are not at our destination yet. We are stopping for lunch. This is typical of long bus rides in India, Myanmar, and Thailand. The drivers and conductors receive a commission and a free lunch for bringing a bus-load of tourists to their restaurant. In my experience, the restaurants are almost always very bad.
We walked in and sat down. The waiter and waitress, who also happened to own the place come over to take my order. Our language barrier resulted to awkward friendly smiles. He seemed to think it was funny that a white person was sitting in his restaurant. Probably not many have been there before. He proceeded to explain that he serves chicken, pork, and monkey. He said the monkey was fresh.
I couldn’t pass that up. So I ordered the monkey. I don’t regret it, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it.
The monkey, which was apparently shot in the jungle the day before, was cooked into a stew. The stew was serviced Luke warm. It had a spicey and fishy flavor, typical of many street meals in Myanmar. Monkey meat is very lean. It is also difficult to eat from the bone because there is not a lot of it. Lastly, it seemed as though the monkey was thrown straight into the fryer because as I ate it, I would get little prickly pieces of hair in my mouth. It was pretty brutal. I struggled to eat it, even with the beer I bought to wash it down. All in all, I dont have high hopes for monkey based cuisine.
Quickly following lunch, the bus departed and drove 3 more hours to our destination. The last stretch was a sweat fest. The temperature rose to about 90 degrees and humid. The air conditioning on the bus had been broken for about 15 years so we passengers just endured the hot box that was the bus.
We finally arrived to our destination, excited the bus and continued our journey into Thailand, which took 2 motor taxis, a boat taxi, a truckshaw, and an entire day in itself, but that is a different story.