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Question #91314 posted on 05/24/2018 5:36 p.m.

Dear Tipperary,

Tell me a funny story about South America



Dear Every Morning a New Arrival,

Of course. Let me set the stage.

We were in Brazil and had just got back from a long day of adventuring. We hardly had anytime to eat all day, so we were super excited for dinner. Our reservations were for the fanciest and finest seafood restaurant in the entire city. We roll up and we walk into the restaurant and it is suuuper fancy. We sit down in the fancy pants chairs at the fancy pants table and they bring us the fancy pants menu; we look at the menu and it too is suuuper fancy  and suuuper expensive. Thankfully however, this dinner was payed for by the study abroad so we could basically get anything on the menu. This was going to be a night to remember.

While we were all racking our brains trying to decide which succulent seafood dish to order, our waiter comes by and informs us that they had an all you can eat seafood special. They would bring around different seafood dishes for us to try Tucanos style. Nearly everyone gleefully signed up for the wonderful opportunity to sample a smorgasbord of high end ocean chow. The first dish they brought out was an amazing shrimp soup. The broth was flavorful and buttery, and there were plenty of nice juicy shrimp. It looked like we were about to enter seafood heaven. 

But, things started to take a turn for the worst. They brought us out some tilapia, and then some salmon, which were both just okay. Then, they brought out some shrimp casserole. The shrimp casserole was actually pretty good, but the dish they brought out after the shrimp casserole was another shrimp casserole. We tried just a bit, and it was okay, but we were hoping that they'd bring out some more fish. Unfortunately, lo and behold when the waiters returned, they returned with another shrimp casserole.

At this point you might be thinking "Gee Tipperary, maybe you could tell them not to serve you up any shrimp casserole". That strategy works in theory, but the most of us had little to no Portuguese skills, so by the time we realized they were asking us if we wanted any, they had already served us some. Also, half the time we said no, they still served us more shrimp casserole anyways. "Just ask for little portions" Wrong again. We asked them for a little bit and they served us huge portions. "Just don't eat the shrimp" Also wrong. See, in Brazilian buffets it is extremely rude to not eat everything on your plate. It's so frowned upon that most restaurants charge you a bunch extra for any food you waste. So when the waiters served us a big ol' laddle of shrimp casserole we had to eat the whole thing.

As dinner went on our stay in seafood paradise nose dived in a downward spiral into a shrimp nightmare. Every once in a while they'd bring out some fried shrimp and get our hopes up, only to crush them under a mountain of shrimp casserole. What had started as a quiet and elegant dinner soon turned into a racous bunch of college students making jokes about the food while our professors tried to maintain the peace.

Towards the end of the dinner we had all eaten about 30-40 shrimp, when a waitress brings out what appears to be a dish full of crème brûlée. I ask her what it is, and the only Portuguese word that I understood was banana. I like banana and I love crème brûlée so I asked for a big portion.

Ecstatic to finally be free from over cooked shrimp casserole I put a big spoonful into my mouth and instantly gag. "What is that!" I said (much louder than I should have said it. Our professor who speaks Portuguese replied "didn't you hear what she said? It's fish with bananas and cheese." Fish with bananas and cheese? Who in their right mind invents such an awful dish and thinks it's a good idea. (Also, how come our professor didn't warn us until after we had all taken a bite). Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse the head waiter came out and gave all of us a tiny dish (whether we asked for it or not) with their "crab specialty dish". We took a bite, and had a near simultaneous spit take. At that point our professor, who up to this point had been very respectful, drops his fork and whispers "I'll get the check. Shut up and let's get out of here before we all lose it". 

So that my friends was how we suffered through the most comically terrible meal of all time. I'm pretty sure that between our group of about 10 people we consumed over 500 shrimp, and spit out about 10 bites of banana cheese fish. The entire rest of the trip we had amazing food, but of all the meals we had, this is the one we'll never forget.