Hygiene, Bygiene

Jeddah is a city of many wonders, albeit my being incarcerated in the office, at times from 8am to 11pm (just yesterday, new personal record for me), it makes for an interesting place to have a walk-about. The sights, the sounds, and the smells, oh the wondrous smells!

Which brings me to the topic in question. As I was walking back to my hotel one time, I came across a simple restaurant, nondescript, a mere felafel place, but it had a grill outside, a large circular contraption, worked by an expat (probably from India), and they were making what appeared to me as Chapathi. Or its distant cousin, the porata (stuffed chapathi).

Back home, I had not seen such foods, so was interested in trying it. Now, here comes the dumb-foreigner part of my story, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I cannot communicate with people in Saudi. Everyone talks REAL fast! And coming from me, a real fast talker, that is saying something!

So, I had to grab the attention of the short-order fry chef, which in itself took about 15 minutes (what can I say, I’m one polite fellow), and explain my order. Now I read something on the window near him and assumed it was what he was cooking, so I pointed at the words, then pointed at one of the things he was cooking that interested me. It was a stuffed concoction, with either egg or cheese.

I waited, anticipating the delicacy. And waited, and waited, and waited. Somewhere along the line my order was confused, due to a lack of communication, and he brought me something that did not look like what I ordered, so I shook my head, pointed at the sign on the window, and at an item on the grill and said “I want like this”.

During this fiasco, I noticed that the chef dropped the roller he was using on the floor, on which he discards the egg-shells and all else. I immediately commented to my colleague as to the lack of hygiene in the place. To our surprise, the chef picks up the roller and wipes it clean with a rag!

Good right?

WRONG!

No sooner had the words left my mouth (I am very loquacious) as to chefs decent actions, did the chef take said rag he used to wipe the roller and, and, and…

Proceed to wipe his forehead with it! Who can blame him, the temperature of the grill must be soaring, and hes cooped up in a little space, and obviously sweats.

Major Eww.

In the end, it turned out that the words I was pointing at on the window were different from the food I was pointing at on the grill. It was called “Mutabug” (which means folded in arabic), and its taste was no where near what I expected. It was sweet, when I was waiting for sour. So I will never have it again.

Oh yes, after the incident with the roller, I still ate there, we’re men baby!

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