Fascinating story in The New York Times this week. It starts off like this:
GAZA CITY — The French fries arrive soggy, the chicken having long since lost its crunch. A 12-piece bucket goes for about $27 here — more than twice the $11.50 it costs just across the border in Egypt.
And for fast-food delivery, it is anything but fast: it took more than four hours for the KFC meals to arrive here on a recent afternoon from the franchise where they were cooked in El Arish, Egypt, a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama — Arabic for pigeon.
“It’s our right to enjoy that taste the other people all over the world enjoy,” said the entrepreneur, Khalil Efrangi, 31, who started Yamama a few years ago with a fleet of motorbikes ferrying food from Gaza restaurants, the first such delivery service here.
People in Gaza can’t get KFC — and a lot of other brand-name fast food, or iPads, or a lot of other consumer goods that much of the rest of the world takes for granted — because of bullshit politics that keep the city under seige. Someone later in the article likens the attitudes of Gazans to a prison mentality, in that almost anything from the outside comes with a certain cachet simply because it is from the outside.
Even given that, however, it’s still hard to imagine that someone would be so desperate for KFC that they’d pay more than twice as much to get it cold and soggy… and it’s not like there’s any way you can revive that stuff onces it’s past its prime.
And yet, people crave their KFC.
The question for this weekend is:
What food would you have to have smuggled to you if you didn’t have access to it?
I’ve got people shipping me packets of Splenda from the U.S., since the stuff you get in the U.K. is different and not as good (in my opinion), but smuggling isn’t involved. And I could do without it if I had to. I’m not sure I could do without the tea it goes into, however. That would have to be smuggled in to me in my tea-less prison as a sanity-saving measure.
(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)