horticultural fair in Soropadan, Central Java. It’s a celebration of
Indonesia’s first export of vegetables to Singapore, as well as a 4-H style competition with prizes for best duku, mangosteen, avocado, salak, and of course, durian. Why else would we be here?
For a horticultural festival, there were very few farmers. The event was dominated by an over-supply of government officials from the Farm Department. Our translator Joko pointed out to me that nearly every car in the parking lot had a red government license plate.
Surprisingly, while there were many displays of huge, beautiful looking
fruits, there weren’t many fruits for sale on the premises, other than
some overpriced duku and durian. We were a little bit hungry. Especially
since we watched all the judges eat durian!
Luckily for us, around lunchtime the governor of Central Java showed up, trailing paparazzi. He busted into the durian judging area, and posed for pictures cracking open a durian husk. He ate 4 pieces, giving thumbs up to the camera. This seemed to give permission to the crowd to eat durian as well, and people began surging toward the table. Durians were being cracked open right and left, some people greedily grabbing multiple pieces! Rob and I put our elbows out and managed to sneak in and start sampling too. Each one was so yummy, and so different. Unlucky for our translator, he’d gone to do his midday prayers and missed the durian.
Tomorrow I hope to interview the
winner of the durian contest, and see if I can get a statement from the
governor about the importance of durian in Indonesia. He seemed a little
too important to talk to me, but we’ll see if I can at least get a