Limping to Sri Lanka's Good Durian


We eat a lot of fruit. Here in Sri Lanka, we're really enjoying the coconuts, golden beauties that cost only $0.028 since each! We're going pretty wild on coconuts.

To make a long story short, last night Rob was chopping open a coconut. It was a hard one, and the small cleaver he was using bounced off the husk and hit him square on the shin, cutting through to the bone. This made for an interesting two days as we attempted to care for the wound in Sri Lanka. On the bright side, we did manage to find good durian.


Today we had agreed to meet up with an old local man we met at Kandy's Central Market. Weera is a cook at the local army headquarters, and worked as an army cook during the 25 year civil war between the Tamil Insurgency and the Sri Lankan army. He was very talkative, friendly and seemed to have a lot of stories, so when he asked to meet up on his day off and talk over a beer and tea we agreed (to buy him a beer).

When we met Weera, Rob's wound was already splitting open again causing blood to run down his shin. We asked Weera to take us to the pharmacy and help us communicate with the pharmacists, since the night before I had been unsuccessful in explaining to the pharmacists that I needed bandages for wound care. After looking at Rob's cut again, we all agreed that he probably needed stitches.


In Thailand, Rob's motorbike accident produced a pretty nasty infection. We were very concerned about sanitation, and the doctor's office didn't induce confidence. A tiny poorly lit room crowded with a desk and three plastic chairs, it seemed more like a janitor's closet than an examination room. Weera assured us that this was a legitimate medical establishment.

The doctor gave Rob two stitches without any numbing medication or injections. I thought Rob was really brave. I kept wanting to laugh because it felt so ridiculous and hard core, like something I had read about in books, but had never imagined experiencing. If only we had some whiskey!


When the doctor finished, Rob was ready to go home and lie down. But Weera had a surprise for us. He knew where to get good durian, the kind that had been allowed to fall naturally. This was his one day off that week, and our chance to have a local show us where to go. What's a durian hunter to do, even with a bum leg?

We rode a bus to Katugastosa, about 5 kilometers from Kandy. Along the way, he shared durian stories and local tips. We got off at a single durian stand along the roadside. "How do you know it's good durian?" I asked Weera as we walked toward the stand. "Of course it is good," he said, "See you can smell it already!"


He was right, and this durian was nothing like the bad durian we experienced in Pilimathalawa. This durian was silky-smooth, soft and buttery with a mild sweetness. The flesh was pure white bordering on gray, with those fat folds and wrinkles that I love to see when a durian is opened. Rob and I are both happy to report that Sri Lanka has good durian.

And, that Rob's leg hasn't yet fallen off. It's a good sign.


3 comments:

  1. Poor Rob! Did you get anything to keep the stitches from getting infected?

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  2. We had iodine at home so we dosed him :) Two days later and the wound looks fine

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  3. tell us when you find the buttered popcorn flavored durians......loving your updates soooo much..thank you!

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