Cultural Challenges and an Unexpected Guest

July 30, 2017

in Insect & Animal Stories

This happened a few years ago during my first trip to India to meet my East Indian fiance’s parents. They lived in a busy, but non-tourist part of Gujarat. They were lovely people and one evening took me and their son out to a wonderful restaurant which was unaccustomed to foreigners.

Not being used to seeing young, white, female Americans, the entire restaurant stared mercilessly as we were led to our seats. Having become accustomed to being stared at pretty much everywhere we went all that week, I didn’t let it bother me, although I can be pretty shy and don’t like being the center of attention. It’s simple curiosity and no one meant it to be rude. It just meant that people were pretty much watching me all of the time. No pressure! Ha-ha.

The pleasant waiter took our order and I was very impressed by how attentive the staff was. When the food arrived, I asked if I could please get a fork which sent the staff into a panic. They seemed to be tearing apart the restaurant to find one. I felt terrible because then I realized that perhaps they just didn’t have forks there. I wish I had thought of that before asking. I was right. They finally turned up with a large spoon and an apology and I thanked them profusely. When in Rome…

All was going splendidly! Our server was dedicated to our table only, and while close and ready to wait on our every need, he wasn’t so close it felt uncomfortable. The food was delicious! Simply out of this world. It was in mid bite when I heard an odd screech off to my right. I turned toward the sound and saw two of the staff chasing a large monkey… yes, a monkey had somehow made his way into the restaurant.

Now this isn’t one of those cute, little doll-like looking monkeys with a vest and a hat that perches on one’s shoulder, this was a HUGE beast! Well, huge to me. If he were to stand on his back legs, he would have been easily over four feet tall. Now I happen to be PETRIFIED of monkeys. During my stay so far I had seen a few, but at a comfortable distance, and never this close. I froze, spoon suspended in mid-air.

Much to my horror, the beast runs right up to me and literally bats the spoon right out of my hand. As much as I wanted to remain dignified, I couldn’t help but let out a short yelp of surprise. Everyone was horrified and I was just plain terrified! My fiancé had had enough and helped the staff chase the monkey out. Once he was gone, all eyes were on me yet again. I’m sure the entire restaurant was wondering how the prissy, fork-loving American white girl was going to handle this unexpected disturbance.

By that time, I had recovered a bit from my shock and couldn’t help but see the situation for the comedy that it was. I started to laugh so hard I could barely contain myself. Once they saw my reaction, the others, including the staff, relaxed and joined in the laughter. We were able to continue enjoying a wonderful meal. Our unexpected guest certainly made it a night to remember!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jonesnori September 17, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Brava! What an experience!


susan September 25, 2018 at 4:34 pm

I wonder why they couldn't find a fork? What did the usual customers use? Was it a usually hands only place?


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