Season 8 of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations premiered last night with a beautiful/depressing/enlightening/uplifting/amazing episode about Mozambique.
As per usual, the colors and the foods and the descriptions and the vistas and the cinematography were so beautiful that I got sad about my less-aesthetically pleasing life. Why do I have to live in this ugly country? Why can’t I live on an island in the Indian Ocean? Or at least afford to buy plane tickets to go to islands in the Indian Ocean? WHY DOES MY LIFE SUCK?! (These are totally normal feelings when watching this show, I checked.)
So there’s that, the longing. But then there’s the other feeling: Deep shame.
This television show on the Travel Channel has taught me most of what I know about poor people in the world. It’s brilliant, because it never says explicitly: “I’m going to teach you about poor people in the world.” But it does, always. Bourdain is interested in the origins of the foods he’s eating and gets to know the people and the People who are preparing his meals. Those people, so often, are really poor.
In last night’s ep, Bourdain and company did a really lovley job explaining and exploring sadness and tragedy of the country while also celebrating the people and the cuisine. This Tweet from the folks at The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck pretty much sums it up:
— Big Gay Ice Cream (@biggayicecream) April 10, 2012
This is a show I watch because I love it, but it’s also serves as a reality check and Thing To Think On. I go back and forth between feeling sorry for myself for being an idiot with money and therefore not being able to go to Mozambique and participate in colonial tourism (basically), and then a second later, I’m so ashamed of being spoiled and terrible and can’t believe that I’m not just, the happiest person all the time.
I mean, check this, from Eater’s collection of last night’s best one -liners:
On the former Grande Hotel in Beira: “There’s not a single toilet in that entire structure or electric power and 2,700 people live in it. That’s enough, call it a day. Nothing more to say.”
Next week’s episode takes place in Kansas City.
Photo Credit: flickr/babasteve