Last fall, Rob and I took up residence on Koh Phangan, Thailand. It wasn’t durian season, and for lack of something better to do I began recording the GPS of every durian tree I found. This baffled Rob. “What exactly, ” he said, “Are you going to do with that? How will that ever be useful?”
“Hmmmm,” I said. “I don’t know. But I bet if I put it on the blog, someone will have a good idea.”
I often don’t have a great explanation for why I do things.
Something catches my interest, and I explore it. Because I want to. No reason, or logic, or incentive that I can legitimately claim. I do it, I think, because I’m curious. I think I’m not alone in this, and that often claiming some utilitarian reason is just an attempt to sound like we made our decisions as logical, responsible people.
So if I have to rationalize why I GPSed every durian tree I could find on Koh Phangan, I would say it has a lot to do with getting my first smartphone.
It’s a pink Motorola, and it can do amazing things. I can call my Grandma while riding on a bus through fields of palm oil. I can check on how many of you opened my last newsletter while sitting on the ferry in the middle of the ocean. And, if I want, I can create a pin on a map for any durian farm, stall, or tree that I want to thanks to satellites in space. Why did I wait so long to join in the phone revolution?
The first tree was simply because I wanted to see if my new GPS App would work. It did! How enthralling! So I tried it again, and I had two trees in my little Durianville. Then I started thinking about all the other durian trees we whip past every time we go to town. Rob usually drives, and I sit behind and count durian trees. One, behind the blue house. Two, the really old one at the corner.
Koh Phangan is not well known as a durian growing island, but it seemed like we were always passing durian trees. I started wondering if the durians were spread equally around the island, or if there were clusters of orchards in certain areas.
So I started pinning trees whenever I saw them. And a pattern emerged.
Koh Phangan Durian Map
You can see from the map that there are there are two main durian growing areas. Actually, there should probably be another up near the black circle. I spotted some trees there one day, but didn’t have my phone with me for pinning purposes.
The map is open for viewing or editing, so if you want to you can add pins of durian trees too.
As far as the map’s utility, that’s up to you. Maybe it will help you find someone selling fresh, tree-ripened durian out of their front yard. Maybe you will want to start a durian farm here yourself someday and now you know where most durians grow. The map may be completely pointless and obscure data set, interesting only to me.
Yet, I have a feeling one of you smart and durian obsessed people will find some way to use this information, maybe in ways I can’t even imagine.I’ll be curious to see.