Two days ago we landed in Sri Lanka, hoping to catch the tail-end of durian season. I’m definitely going to miss the Philippines and all the friends we have there, but Sri Lanka has an exotic, mystical flavor that’s so enticing I think we’ll be sufficiently distracted.
To get into the Indian-vibe, Rob decided to get a hair cut. He’s been complaining about his ponytail, saying that he looked like a ridiculous French person. So yesterday he brought home the scissors, and with my help he now he looks like a ridiculous Indian person! When I saw him standing with this mustachioed man, I couldn’t stop giggling, which I’m sure confused the hell out of the Sri Lankan guy. Doesn’t Rob grow a great ‘stache?
On Friday we took a bus from Colombo to Kandy, a 109 kilometer voyage that took an incredible five hours due to traffic. On the way we noticed a bunch of durian sellers, mostly in a small city called Pilamathalawa. We knew we needed to return, but felt intimidated by the traffic. Since today was Sunday, we decided to go since the traffic might be better.
It’s been a few days now since we’ve had fresh durian, and I think we’re going through withdrawal. So we were both really excited when we spotted the first durian stall. It was hopping, with people stopping by every few minutes to check out the durian.
The durian looked terrible. Riddled with phytophtera, the stems were brown and dried out and most of the durians were splitting. The fruit looked like it had been sitting at this stall for weeks. But, after watching a few people purchase them, we were game to give it a go.
It was just as bad as it looked. The color was pure white. Absolutely tasteless and watery, it even left a bad taste in my mouth. Strangely, while it tasted nothing like durian while I was eating it, I had durian tasting burps afterward. This was also bizarre because I never experience durian burps when eating regular durian.
Despite the bad durian, I really enjoyed seeing durian at home in a very Indian-like culture. Many men here wear the traditional lungi, a plaid sarong. It’s definitely a different vibe than anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
Just as we were about to head home we met a fruit vendor who had been watching us at the durian stalls. He told us that these vendors were selling old durians because it was Sunday. If we wanted fresh durians, we needed to come on a weekday. I had thought that by coming on a weekend, we would be more likely to find durian since families would be out enjoying a Sunday afternoon. Seems like things are a pretty different here!
Good thing Rob’s fitting in!