Friday, July 12, 2002

Chapter Four of the Durian Fruit series.....

So now, my order for Durian Mooncake was cancelled. I related this news to my colleagues once the horror of the September 11th terrorist attack had subsided a bit and we all had a laugh. Annie sent me some postcards from Malaysia, a Malaysian ringgit and other souvenirs and I brought those in to work for show-and-tell. Our janitor, Dave, noticed one of the postcards bearing a picture of a Malaysian woman setting out Durian Fruit and said, "I've seen those at Shop-N-Save!" Dave told all of us he had seen a small sign advertising the fruit in the exotic fruit section of the market and said the fruit was suspended in a plastic mesh sack to prevent one from being pricked on it spiny skin.

One of my office mates, Susan, offered to stop at Shop-N-Save and pick up a Durian. We made a plan to sample it when she brought it to work and everyone was excited, exclaiming I was bringing so much world culture into their lives. Susan returned the next day saying she couldn't find any Durian's so had asked the woman who was working the produce section that particular day, where she might find one. This is what the produce lady said to Susan:

"Oh they are all gone. We only had a small order. You aren't missing anything though." The produce lady said.

"What do you mean?" Susan asked.

"Have you eaten one?" Produce lady asked.

"No, but my friends at work want to try one. We've heard of them."

"Don't bother. We took one out back, cracked it open and had to throw it out."


"Nobody could get past the stench to even think about tasting it."

"What did it smell like?"

"Rotting flesh. Raw sewage. Rancid meat. Take your pick."

So, me and my colleagues are Durianless. I seem to be the only one with the guts to still try one. After all, I managed to get through two weeks of point-and-eat while in China and still don't know what that octopus looking, rubber tentacles plate was that I ate. Yuck. But, the Durian story goes on......I recently received an e-mail from Annie, telling me of yet another exciting escapade she has been on....

"I don't remember much of last week, except that I had a five course "Durian" dinner with a friend. We only intended to eat just one fruit, but the fruit stall owner had so many varieties of Durians that we couldn't help but try them all. They had funny names. We had started off with the common ones, the ones with alphabets and numbers. Grades, D7, D10, and D24. Then, we went on to the "Gourmet Durians" which were stinkier than the "Starters". They had funny names. Translated in English, they were 'King of the Cats', 'Sleeping Cat' and 'Bad Feet'."

Bad Feet?

Even Anne Charmaine gave a shrug at this one. As puzzled and as full of Durian Fruit as she might have been, Annie came up with a theory about the "Bad Feet" Durian. Annie thought it sounded like a name for a native American and I thought I was going to hear a story about a Choctaw Indian who rubbed his feet with Durian Fruit imported from Southeast Asia to get rid of athletes foot or something. I was wrong. Annie came up with a very palatable theory, no pun intended.....mixed in with some very interesting Malay history.

Stay tuned.

To be continued.....


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