The Meat of the Problem

June 2, 2014

in Brian Brito, Central/South America, Ecuador, Summer 2014

May 30th, 2014
*This post was written on May 30th, 2014 about my first experiences with the food in Ecuador.

This post is dedicated to my friend, Maddie Hana Fontaine.

Throughout my first day travelling to Ecuador all I ate was meat. Two airplane meals. One hostel meal. A “healthy” content of meat. A 65 day meat-free hiatus, all ruined by the lack of vegetarian meal options on Copa Airlines and my own aluminum will. Not that I expected an airline to cater to my each and every whim (I don’t see how anyone in Coach class would assume that), but I have had so much help in becoming a vegetarian in the states that I hadn´t exactly learned to make the food options myself. In regards to the food at Hosteria Pukara, it was your average hostel food, but even after the program told them of my lifestyle adaptation 2 months (then 1 month, then 1 week, then 3 days, then 1 day) in advance they still failed to accommodate me. The Lady TA (Amy Janik, B.S.) told me that even the semester program had its faults in supporting herbivorous behavior. The student in question was placed with a host family that knew he was a vegetarian, but they refused to make the cut for his vegetarianism. It’s just not affordable for families. So I’m not the only one.

When faced with the quazi-vegetarian’s dilemma, I made the choice of cheap, sub-par, low production quality meat. I could argue that I made the economical choice, with the largely overpriced airport food (the same in every country) being unacceptable to pay for, but it was still my own choice to eat the meat. I did ask both the hostel and airline if they carried a non-meat option, so I made the effort. But my argument is that if I didn’t eat the offered food, then I would not have been able to eat anything of substance all day. Some argument…

Since the program has commenced I have kept with my promised dietary restrictions, but I broke that day. At the price of cheap airline food and your average spaghetti meal, I threw away 60 plus days of hard bacon-less. To Maddie Hana Fontaine, I apologize.

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