Food so far

So far, so good!

For breakfast, our hotel buffet had a variety of American and what I would assume to be local food. There were hot omelets, American pancakes, cheese, turkey, sliced fruit, cocoa balls (which I learned to be Cocoa Puff cereal), granola, milk, hot naan-type bread, croissants, and so much more. The juices were a bit disappointing, however. The big pitchers labeled as cherry juice, apricot juice and apple juice seemed more like cherry koolaid, apricot soda and apple drink. The apple drink tasted like fake sweetener. But overall, with such variety, it was easy to put together a complete meal.

For lunch today we ate at a local restaurant, where we were surrounded by almost all women. Bek never explained why there were no men (I would assume it's because they were all working) but he did explain that it's a social tradition that women get together and all pitch in to buy a meal together to hang out. One woman makes the reservation, then the rest all pitch in to pay. The women at the tables were all chatting or showing their purchased goods to one another that they scored at the market. A few had children with them, but mostly it was just women between 30 and 90 years old having a social lunch. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.

At the restaurant we ate the most delicious bread ever. It was warm and soft and like a donut with a flattened part in the center. We were then served meat dumpling soup, and then fried cod, much like fish and chips without the chips. Then for dessert we each had a huge slice of coconut-caramel-chocolate cake, which was almost bigger than our fish portions, and of which I ate almost none, since it was so rich.

I told Ben that we were talking about horse meat and how it's so common here. He asked if anyone was opposed to it or had any issues. "Because we have a huge horse meat feast planned in Almaty."