As anyone who has been following our Facebook page has probably noticed, my Mom and Dad are in town. They flew all the way from I-Promise-You’ve-Never-Heard-Of-It, Oregon, to hang out with us in Australia for a couple weeks and get their first taste of durian. Really I think they just wanted to see wallabies and go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, but since they’re hanging with us durian is just part of the packaged deal.
This was their first time tasting a fresh durian. I’d bought frozen durian in the USA to share with them, but they hated it. And I mean….hate. I got death glares from my little sister the first time I brought it into the house. My Dad came home convinced the water heater was leaking gas. My mom wrinkled up her nose, and said “Really?”
When I stayed with them for a month last summer, I had to get creative in how I disposed of my various durian leftovers. I was eating mostly the frozen pulp kind wrapped in saran wrap and blending it into a super smooth whipped ice cream (here’s the recipe). It’s awesome, by the way.
When Mom went to work, I’d take the blender outside the house and plug it into the electrical outlet near the hose. I made my ice cream outside, rinsed the blender outside, and disposed of the water in the garden. Then I washed off the saran wrap (with soap, mind you), and, at a loss of what to do next, deposited the plastic in the trash can in the garage.
They smelled it every time.
They never really made a fuss about it, but I could tell they didn’t like it. Mom might turn on the overhead fan, even though it wasn’t hot. Dad might be caught fiddling with the water heater, until I gently reminded him I’d eaten durian that day.
So I wasn’t expecting miracles when I picked them up from the airport and announced that durian was on the menu for lunch. Our friend and durian source dropped two off the night before as a gift for my parents – to kick off their trip to Australia right. Welcome to our version of Australia, Mom and Dad.
He’d chosen a particularly mild and milky durian with a smooth texture. For a durian, it had a light odor, but we’d still meant to leave it on the porch before they arrived. Instead, we’d left it in our bedroom (for protection from whatever keeps munching our fruit stash – I blame the gecko).
The whole apartment smelled like durian. Oops.
But Mom and Dad were good sports. Or maybe they were just too grateful to be smelling anything after 20 hours in an enclosed space huffing 200 other people’s bad breath. Either way, when we suggested eating the durians for lunch they actually agreed.
And they shocked everybody, including themselves. Mom took a polite, poker-faced bite. Then her face broke like clouds parting on a particularly drizzly day. It’s not that bad, she said. She took another bite.
Dad even took two extra seeds.
Are they in love? Not quite yet. They both say that eating a fresh durian is a different experience than a frozen one. The texture is creamy instead of slimy, and the smell isn’t as overwhelmingly stinky. Still, I don’t see my Mom chowing through a Red Prawn with gusto anytime soon.
We’ve got one more durian orchard to visit before they leave Australia, and it’s a special one. Maybe it will be the durian experience to change their minds.
For the rest of their stay, we’re going to be doing more normal, non-durian tourist activities. I’m currently posting regular updates and photos to our Facebook Feed, showcasing some beautiful landscapes and interesting, quirky locations around Northern Queensland.
I’ll also be posting some videos of our Australian adventures to our Youtube channel. Rob and I are both a little camera shy and have hesitated to even begin making videos. But, I do think a lot can be shared and communicated through video that is clumsier and more static in text and images. I’ve already posted our early morning durian hunt at Rusty’s Market as well as an interview with ex-durian farmer Robert Lockhart.
I’ve got a few more back-logged videos that I hope that you will enjoy while we enjoy a few weeks off the durian trail exploring Northern Queensland with my Mom and Dad.
Who knows, maybe we’ll convert them yet. 😉 If not, at least we’ve seen a lot of wallabies.
P.S. I’ll be publishing the Durian Guide to Thailand later this month. Woo-hoo! Will let you know the details ASAP.