Here’s a synopsis of something that happened two weeks ago that nonetheless has got me thinking:
My friends and I went to Al-Hamra restaurant (kind of like a Middle Eastern Mcdonalds) for the third time and ordered our food as usual. Although women usually sit upstairs away from the gaze of men, we were a mixed group and so we sat downstairs. (Of our group of 5 only two of us were women).
We had done it once before with no problem. BUt this time around a “waiter” came overt to us in a very authoritative and aggressive tone: “Next time you go upstairs!” and walked away. To top things off the chicken that I ordered had bite marks in it, which led me to believe that they had recycled a meal and made me pay full price for it.
Now, in the states I would have had a fit, but I was calm (disgusted, but calm) and resolute my mind to NEVER eat at that place again.
Here’s the thing, no one else has a problem with Al-Hamra. In fact one of my comrades here said that if he had bite marks in his food he would have eaten it. ” You have really high standards.”
I know I am an in a developing/underdeveloped country, but since when is expecting the food that you order to not have bite marks in it having high standards?!? I can be a princess at times, and bitch about things that are to be expected in a non-Western, or even non-American setting, but recycled meals is where I think I have to draw the line. Besides, even the dive restaurants that We’ve eaten didn’t serve recycled food: or at least not food that was quite so obvious of its dubious nature.
Hamra’s meals cost about $5.00 which is maybe a sandwich in the U.S. but only middle class People in Yemen can afford to go there… Doesn’t everyone deserve a certain standard in food preparation? I just don’t understand how this can be acceptable for anyone…. These are paying customers I am talking about.
Is there some lesson in cross-cultural interaction that I’m missing? Am I being stuck-up, snobbish, self-righteous? Maybe, but as God as my witness I will never set foot in an Al-Hamra again, not if I can help it.
My rant ends here.