Monday, June 05, 2006

don't durian

My Intercultural Competence for Trainers class is wrapping up in two weeks and I've been having a blast thinking more intentionally about my diverse students and cultueral dynamics in my lessons.

Swollen with goodwill from this expanded awareness, I went to Uwajimaya with a friend.

This is a big pan-asian supermarket where you can find EVERYthing. We were just stopping by to find some tasty wafers.

Strolling down the candy aisle, I was tickled by all the variety. If you've been to this store or one like it, you know that the variety of flavors reflects the sheer vastness of the "pan-asian" region. We found straberry wafers and lemon wafers and vanilla wafers. But we also found more...experimental flavors.

One of these was durian.


Durian is this amazing fruit. It's harmless unless you open it. Then you are in the middle of chemical-warfare. Really aweful stink. Never to be opened inside a home. Or on a train. If they ever weaponized this stuff, it would be even better crowd-control than pepper spray. Less pain, but more revulsion. Humane, but nasty.

“Signs forbidding durians on Singapore’s mass transit system”

(why no fine???)

But beyond the stink, deeper in, lie these wonderful pockets of total ambrosia. The whole point of durian seems that one must suffer a bit to appreciate the divine.

Clearly a "message" fruit is ever God made one.


So we jumped at the chance to try out this exciting wafer.

Driving back in the car, we opened the package—

Waves of stench enveloped the cabin and we choked-laughed-choked at our folly. The wafers themselves seemed to have captured all of the aroma and none of the ambrosia.

Like skunk stink, it clung. Mostly to our airway membranes. Each time one or the other would exhale, the durian would come back up in full force.

We stopped for a Coke to wash it away. Durian overpowers Coke.

But worse, the carbonation...More burping. More durian recall.

So, if there was a lesson in this, it is that some fruit is forbidden for a reason.

Don’t durian.


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