1. Bananas (pisang): Ever the butt of crude joke makers everywhere, bananas are potent imagery in a country where the warm and sultry tropical climate lends itself toward amorous encounters. Indonesia has at least 42 varieties of banana, ranging from the sickly sweet Pisang Mas (gold banana) to the absolutely huge Pisang Ambon. No wonder Indonesia has a large and growing population (240,271,522 and counting).
2. Rambutan. These testicular looking fruits are a delight to eat – if not to touch. Get to the wonderfully juicy flesh inside by breaking open the hairy fruit by squeezing it between your thumb and first finger. But be warned - when buying these fruits in the market they’ll probably already be crawling in ants – which are presumably attracted by the fruit’s sweetness. So either wash the rambutans in a bucket of water when you get home or expect to get ants in your pants when you unpeel and eat them!
3. Durian Definitely an acquired taste, the English writer Anthony Burgess wrote that dining on this fearsome looking fruit was “a lot like eating vanilla custard in a latrine”. Nuff said methinks.
4. Pineapple (nanas). Being a pineapple lover myself I had once been mystified by how unpopular pineapples seem to be in Indonesia – especially since they are so cheap they are almost being given away. I finally found out why this was so when a number of years ago a rather prim and proper young lady strongly rejected my offer of a few large slices of fresh & succulent pineapple, telling me in the strongest possible terms that they can do all sorts of “unspeakable things” to a woman’s “plumbing” and even cause miscarriages (apparently there’s some truth to her claims). But what impact do they have on men I wonder?!!
5. Mango: The best recommendation for this juiciest of tropical fruits must come from Antonio Blanco, the famous Catalonian painter who made Bali his home. It was just another perfect day on the Island of the Gods when Blanco was asked by a London art collector for his views on that old philosophical chestnut that has been troubling philosophers since time immemorial:
"Antonio, you are rather Philosophic my friend; what have you found to be the meaning of life?"
And Blanco’s answer: "When I am biting into a ripe succulent Mango in my right hand, and at the same time fondling (with my left hand) the firm buttocks of an 18 year girl…..er…..model, THAT I have found to be the closest THING to a MEANING FOR LIFE".
Fruits 6-10 will be my next post.