Another tidbit about food...while many people (Hindus) here are vegetarian, there is still no shortage of non-vegetarian food for other religious folk to indulge in. Albeit, a bit risky to try, after 2 weeks one does begin to live on the dangerous side and opt for chicken a time or two. Chicken noodle soup or a chicken briyani (rice seasoned and prepared with chicken) becomes a tasty option and has served me well thus far, until now. Opinions changed as we were enjoying our rickshaw ride back from the ghats through the busy streets around 8 pm last night.
Watching the local tradesmen in their shops along the dusty and busy street, I noticed cute little white caged chickens and it appeared we had finally spotted a butcher's shop. I looked at Eric and said, "Well at least now I've seen where the chicken comes from." Thinking I've seen enough raw butching in Chinatowns across America, I figured this was nothing I hadn't seen before. Wrong. Right next to this cage was a bucket for plucked white feathers and above it was a table with a man squatting in typical indian fashion. He was holding a rather rusty old knife in between his toes (yes, toes) and using his hands to slice and dice the chicken parts accordingly. All within about 3 feet of the stray dogs, random cows, dust and fuel fumes of the streets of Varanasi.
I'm back to being a vegetarian in India.