Sooooo many little nuances and differences to write about, however today I've chosen a topic that I find almost totally mystifying – the Eggmen.
Now, as a keen participant in Western Culture I'm totally at ease with the notion of convenience food, and indeed after a bacchanalian night out have availed myself of roadside regret food in many of its forms (e.g. kebab vans, KFC, anything from The Woody Grill, and the infamous and unrepeatable Pie Floater episode). However as forgiving as I am, I just can't grasp the egg concept.
It's quite widely known that I'm not a fan of eggs. The texture and the smell of virtually any form of cooked egg make me feel nauseous – with the bizarre exception of omlettes, which are my favourite Sunday morning breakfast item in the world – and I therefore can't fathom why people would eat them at all, let alone in the cold sober light of day (India being a country which doesn't seem to exhibit much of an obvious booze culture). But these bloody things are EVERYWHERE ! Dudes selling eggs at the side of the road here are like chicken shops on Willesden High Road !
Equally bizarrely, you never seem to see bits of eggshell lying around, and come to think of it I've not actually seen anyone eating eggs on the street. And yet these eggmen always seem to have discarded cartons about them. The other day I saw a guy walking along with a shoulder loaded with trays of eggs, but couldn't get my camera out in time.
Maybe I've made a false assumption ? Maybe they don't eat them ! I assume they're being hard-boiled (although upon first glance they appear to be being slow-cooked on top of a hotplate somehow), but maybe they're actually for throwing at monkeys as a deterrent ? Although again, given the lack of eggshell evidence one would have to assume that everyone's either a terrible, or a really excellent shot.
About the only real utility they're providing to me is that the smell given off by their methylated spirit stoves – coupled with all this walking about in the forested mountains – reminds me of Duke of Edinburgh hikes in the early 90's and the torturous cow puns inflicted on our group by Mr Diercks and Mr Broadbent following the tragic event where Kristian Oehlschlager lay across my rucksack during our group game of poker, bursting my carton of UHT milk (hey, it was my first hike !) and dousing all of my possessions with increasingly rancid milk. Eeeeurgh, the trauma.