Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The sexuality of travelling, a spaghetti recipe, and more

I'm home! What an amazing trip. I met so many people and experienced so many things. That's the great thing about travelling, I've realized. Every day is a new experience. It's so different than my daily grind and schedule at home. A single day felt like three days. Faizal and I couldn't remember what day it was while we were away, and we had to go through the list of things we did every day to try to figure out what we did when. I never knew what's going to happen from moment to moment. We had no real schedule or plans. We made decisions on the spur of the moment, and according to who we met. I met dozens of fascinating people from all over the world and learned so much about their experiences and traveling. I love Aussies, Dutch, UK. It was interesting how much we all had in common.

Last night (the 15th), I felt inspired to cook dinner. I decided to try to replicate the amazing spaghetti I had while in Victoria at this trendy restaurant. Spaghetti tends to be a bland, ordinary meal, but I wanted to do a gourmet version. Here's my recipe:

Use spaghettini (the very thin stuff)
I bought one red pepper, one red onion, 10 giant mushrooms, 5 Roma tomatoes, an elephant garlic, a pesto and sun dried tomato paste (concentrated), fresh basil and oregano and a large amount of hamburger (I haven't bought hamburger in at least five years).

I chopped the tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, basil and oregano into tiny pieces. The mushrooms I sliced thin. Then I minced an entire elephant garlic clove (very important to use the whole thing).

I fried the hamburger, making sure it was chopped into the tiniest pieces possible and well done. I took it off the heat, and put the hamburger aside.

I used the fat from the hamburger to begin frying the veggies. First I put in the garlic, and sizzled it until I started to smell an intense garlic scent. Before it browned, (don't let your garlic get brown ever because you take out the flavour) I added the red onion and mushrooms. These I fried until they began to get soggy.

Then I added the tomatoes and red pepper, stirring, and after a while I added the oregano and basil. I didn't want to get the last ingredients overly sauteed - keep their freshness.

I also added some garlic salt, five to six tablespoons of the pesto/sundried tomato paste, a generous shake of salt and pepper. Plus... I added several shakes of hot red pepper, just to give it that slight "bite." I tasted it and it was awesome. I was afraid to add the hamburger, because the vegetarian sauce was amazing.

Guests in the hostel came into the kitchen asking me what I was making - the garlic smell was intense. I added the hamburger, put in a big more hot red pepper to taste, and voila! It was even better than the spaghetti I had in Victoria. Faizal and I ate loads of it, exclaiming all the way through how good it was. The final spaghetti sauce should look more meaty than saucy. So use lots of hamburger.

Make sure you do the pasta al dente (I think that's the word). And the main key to it is - TONS of garlic, not overcooked or sauteed. We stunk and still stink of it, even today.

By the way, the above recipe makes about six servings. Use a whole box of spaghettini.

After dinner we went to the livingroom and digested, talked with fascinating people, then headed to the main pub in Tofino. It was busy! It was $1-for-a-half-pint-of-beer-night. Everyone in Tofino was there. It was such a weird combination of people. There were only two gay guys there, out of the dozens of straight men and women. I like going to a straight bar once in a while. It's an anthropological study for me, on the behaviour of straight men and women. How do they interact and try to get mated? What is their manner of dress and language?

The styles of the women were pretty horrible. Both Faizal and I tried to find an attractive woman there. Although they were all young, their hair was unkept, they wore no make-up, and made very bad clothing decisions that were unflattering. It's almost as though they dress to look anti-glamour. These west coast girls who go camping probably had hairy underarms.

About 50% of the guys though were sexy. They all wore the baggy jeans, the silly t-shirts, the tight head caps, had hairy eyebrows and sexy eyes, macho behaviour, etc. They used this silly slang and language to communicate. It's as though the more uncultured you sound, the better. It's uncultured, but friendly, in a masculine kind of way.

I flirted with both the men and women in this trashy, outback, westcoast town of visitors. Even the straightest of guys were responsive.

I think there's something addictive about traveling, staying in hostels - you get to meet someone, talk with them for a while, spend fun time with them, then you're onto the next city, the next experience. It's like one night stands, but times ten. You never get really close. Relationships are quite superficial, and there's no commitment. You're on the go, you make some intimate connection... even if it's for a moment. It's a moment of fantasy, imagining their life, being a part of their life and culture, getting to have sex with them and their sexy UK, Aussie or Dutch bodies, and then they're off, you're off, and you're onto the next one. You get to see these hot guys in the hostel washroom, shirtless, in their undies, shaving, taking showers, fixing their hair. You sleep with them next to you, hear them snore, hope to get glimpses of them in the morning putting on their skivies with a hard-on, still fresh from the night's sleep.

Faizal confessed to me that there is a heightened sexual tension among people in hostels. He's had lots of experience. I've never stayed in one until now. I've always done the packaged vacations. Private hotel rooms, four stars, no one talks to each other, except politely. But in hostels, veryone wants to have sex. I experienced this. It's like being at a gay bath house, that is mostly straight, but has bisexuals also.

An aside: I learned from Victoria locals that it's known as the "bisexual capital of Canada."

I think I'll plan a trip to Italy and Spain this summer, and stay in hostels. I've heard it's quite affordable (in terms of traveling and accommodation). I've missed a whole part of my life, going to school for ten years, being poor, and now being a working slave to keep my home.

A whole new life of superficiality and distraction has opened up to me. Yeah!

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