As a south Indian who relishes spicy flavourful food, I knew I would miss food badly. But other than that, I faced these challenges:

1. Coffee

Yes! I missed coffee even before I missed spicy flavourful food. There was only black coffee everywhere. Cappuccinos I found were also almost like black coffee with very little milk. The very second day in US, I had resolved to get some good milk coffee at the hotel at any cost! And then, my colleague called me and told that she got Bru! Ah such relief and happiness! I just cannot express my happiness in words.

2. Cold milk and cold water everywhere

My colleague got Bru and we eagerly made our coffee using milk in the thermos at buffet only to realise that it was all COLD milk. I am so used to waking up to piping hot coffee. We asked the staff there to get us some hot milk. Their “hot” turned out to be our “luke warm”. Yet, I relished my warm coffee 🙂 The milk was good and coffee tasted really good. This good milk actually made my coffee taste delicious.

Next comes cold water. Be it office or hotel, it was very hard to find drinking water at room temperature. Drinking water is served damn cold. I tried mixing hot water from coffee machine. But somehow this water had subtle taste of black coffee and I didn’t even feel like I was drinking water. Finally, I got two empty bottles, filled them up with cold water, waited till it came to room temperature and drank that water. I immediately refilled bottle as soon as it got empty and gave water enough time to come to room temperature!

3. Food

During this trip, I understood the difference between “taste” and “flavour”.

Taste is unidimensional. It is like a constant sound from a musical instrument; no highs and no lows, its constant. Flavour is multidimensional, fuller, richer, organic, complex, and got several nuances. It is like different tunes coming from different musical instruments, and all tunes layered synchronously to make music; each tune got its specific highs, lows and even different volume. It might sound silly, but this is my interpretation 🙂

When a US colleague of mine, who is also a good friend, asked how was food in US, I couldn’t help but respond “Its FLAT.”

I missed food. If not for my boyfriend’s suggestion to use the DoorDash app and order Indian food, I would have lost 2-3 kilos weight during this trip. Everyday for dinner, I ordered Indian food from an Indian restaurant nearby. It wasn’t that good but was good enough to stop me from losing weight. For some weird reason, the restaurant people just add a lot of cream to Indian dishes. The cream just evens out the flavours and is so heavy that I couldn’t eat as much as I usually do.

4. Same boring breakfast buffet, day after day

I stayed at Embassy Suites for 6 nights and had 6 complimentary breakfasts. Menu on all the days is exactly SAME. By 3rd day, I almost dreaded going to the restaurant to have breakfast. I ate food just so I won’t feel weak in the meetings. If not for my colleague’s Bru to refresh my tastebuds, I wouldn’t have been able to consume that monotonous food.

5. Lack of public transportation

This is a very well-known problem. There is some public transportation available in cities. But to go anywhere else, car is the only way. For tourists, thankfully, there are some group trips to national parks. These are worth trying.

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