Fruit. I am having a love affair with fruit. It began years ago, before I can recall really. My mother used to tell me that my first real food was bananas, real bananas that she crushed and pureed and fed to me. After that came all manner of real fruit, crushed and pureed and fed to me. Sweet soursop, sour tangy passion fruit, melons, bitter oranges, pulpy sugar apple and runny juicy mangoes. I have always loved fruit. It is the first thing I seek out when trying to make myself a home.
The last few years I have found myself wandering markets as I’ve traveled and relocated. Every year or two I spend the first few weeks searching for markets on the streets of some new city. Forget the pyramids of Giza (not really but..), have you picked fresh dates while waving flies away by the side of the road in old Cairo? Visit the King’s Palace in Bangkok and then search the streets for mangosteen and lychees. Be careful though, the purple skin of those mangosteens will stain your fingers and your clothes. The sugary bite of the pulp inside maeks it worth it though. After your visit to Schwedagon Pagoda, walk around outside and get yourself a pineapple. They are sticky sweet, juicy and only available in season. Imagine my gut wrenching sadness after bounding down to the market and finding no more pineapples. They weren’t in season. No more. No preservatives to keep them fresh on the shelves after season.. Markets are where the real fruit is. The browning fruit, the in season fruit, the fruit with flies on it, unwrapped fruit, no plastic packaging hiding the stink or sweet of it fruit.
This year I am in Antofagasta. It is a desert. One of the driest places on Earth I’ve been told. So the fruit comes from the south. I found El Mercado and La Vega markets where there are stacks of fruit. Strawberries and mangoes and the juicest melons I have ever tasted. In the desert I still seek out fruit, watermelon, banana, orange, and mango. Stacks on stacks on stacks. Fruit.