Anthony Bourdain: Peru and looking at Tonight’s Episode: Burgundy, France

Every Monday I will break down one of my favorite Episodes of No Reservations and talk about what I learned from it and why it is my favorite.

Then you’ll definitely want to join in the conversation on Tuesdays as we talk about what happened the night before!

Also, you’ll want to follow me on twitter @sojournerabroad so that we can talk live during the new episodes!

“Don’t tell me what a man says, don’t tell me what a man knows, tell me where he’s been.”

-Anthony Bourdain in Peru Episode

One of my favorite episodes of No Reservations has to be Peru.  I mentioned on Friday my love for Machu Picchu, and being able to travel there vicariously through Anthony Bourdain’s television show just fuels my desire to visit this city in the clouds.

Bourdain approaches his trip to Peru through the guise of seeking enlightenment.  And I think he does achieve some sort of “enlightenment” in three specific parts of the episode:

(1) Tony is stopped on the street by a woman that is a fan of his show.  The lady calls him the guy who eats gross things and suffers for it!  That’s what he is known as! I think that is a slight point of enlightenment that maybe his show was becoming like people who watch NASCAR for the car crashes… everyone (apparently in Peru) is watching and waiting for Tony to suffer!

(2) The second point of enlightenment comes when Tony is talking about a family that is taking him in to give him an authentic jungle meal, complete with jungle potatoes and piranhas.  On top of that, the family provides a drink that is probably less than ideal by most standards.  The drink is of fermented potato that is chewed up and spit out into a container where the saliva begins the fermentation.  If I were Tony, I doubt if I would have even considered drinking what is essentially fermented backwash.  But here’s the enlightenment provided by Tony.  The family is living in poverty.  We often patronize these peoples of the world saying, “well they live a simpler life.”  But the reality is its poverty.  The farmer in the family works for weeks to harvest a hundred pounds of potatoes which he is able to sell for a whopping $25 to feed his family.  And in the midst of all of this, the family is “giving until it hurts” as Tony puts it.  And they are a very proud people.  They opened their lives and their hard work to Tony.  The least he can do is partake in the fermented … stuff.  I’m just glad it was Tony’s cathartic moment, and not mine!

(3) Tony, of course, heads to the beautiful Machu Picchu.  The third enlightened moment comes to Tony as he is reflecting on his trip.  I think this is an especially important moment and one we can all learn from:

“It seems the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be.  The more of it I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”

Great words to remember as you continue your own adventures.

Tonight, Bourdain’s: No Reservations heads to Burgundy, France.

Here are my expectations for tonight:

  1. Wine.  Tony + France = wine. (see first ever episode of No Rerservations!)
  2. Escargot.  I may be wrong, but I believe Tony hasn’t eaten this iconic French dish in any of his previous visits to France.  He’s been to Paris twice, Brittany, and Provence…  And yet, I don’t remember a single snail
  3. Cured Meat.  I don’t even know if the French cure meat, but this seems to have become a theme for the show.  Sydney = Cured Meat.  Italy = Cured Meat.  Austin = Smoked Meat.  Okay so 2/3 isn’t bad.  Will he go 3/4?
  4. Hipsters. He has referenced hipsters so far in every episode.  For someone that claims to dislike hipsters (yet fits the description perfectly) he sure does talk about it a lot!
  5. Mustard.  Dijon is the capital of this part of France.  Let’s be honest… most Americans don’t even know that Dijon is a city in France.  If they mention it at all, our thoughts will go to mustard!

*images from wikepedia/wiki-commons

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What are your expectations for tonight?


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