I’ve finally seen the Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay episodes of No Reservations, and all I can say is … I’m worried about Bourdain. He’s like ice cream melting in the sun.
Granted, you ridicule Saudi Arabia at your own risk, but he seemed to enjoy it – even though their “no alcohol” culture basically put him in detox. Delirium might explain why he compared Jeddah to Las Vegas and found camel meat “humpalicious.”
I searched for Ottavia in the shadows under an abaya, but I’m guessing she gladly took a pass on that trip.
In Laos, he predictably loved everything, including ant egg omelets, calling it “magical” and “an enchanted place that no one knows about.” His old self came through only when he admitted wanting to spit out those salty swallows that had an “unpalatable aftertaste.”
One interesting reference to Ottavia came up in that episode. When one of his hosts graciously wished for him to “get lots of money, make lots of money,” Tony smiled and said, “My wife has the same wish.”
In Uruguay, Montivideo was “charming.” He seemed to relish his brother Chris’ company, and even shared valuable pointers on marathon eating: Skip the potatoes and veggies, and use bread only for sopping up sauce.
His lyrical wit peeked through when he described their pig-out on piles of meat at Estancia del Puerto as a “glorious, joyous miasma of meatness.”
But then he balked at killing an armadillo when he saw it trembling, calling it “deeply disturbing.” As they ate it, he said, “This will haunt my dreams – really.”
Perhaps he was considering an armadillo as Ariane’s first pet, one of the few animals he could promise Ottavia would never shed on the furniture.
As usual, the locales were lovely, the food intriguing, the company stimulating. The only thing missing was Tony’s trademark snark. It’s gone. Without cynicism, he’s doomed.
If he doesn’t snap out of it, he’s going to be washed up, No. 3 behind Samantha Brown (who’s experimenting with feistiness these days) and – ugh! – Andrew Zimmern.
I wish they’d make Tony go somewhere he’d be totally miserable, just to get him back on his game.
On second thought, that would be advocating torture of a fellow human being as entertainment, and I can’t go there.