Pictures from Senegal

Wednesday, August 25


I finished the secret stash of dried cherries I’d been sent in a birthday package today. I'm surprised they made it this long, about a month. I so miss American fruits. We have strawberry flavoring here, but not the real thing. I have Mefloquine induced dreams about a refrigerator full of fruit waiting for me back home over the Christmas holiday. Raspberries, or really anything ending in ‘berry,’ top the list. We've got melons (water, cantelope-ish- football shaped version, etc) and citrus (lemon/lime, orange, grapefruits) and I've seen bananas... but that's about it.

Oh, wait... how could I forget the MANGOES?? I could probably kill myself with the amount of mangoes we have here. Seriously, a kilo (2.2lbs) costs only about $1. I don't eat them all that often because I don't want to get sick and never eat them again (overdose!) but they are helpful for reminding me to floss. Not to mention, there is no graceful way of eating a mango... as I only have a Swiss Army knife to cut them.

And then there are all the new fruits. We have this one called Ditahk which is like a ball of roots with some green bits mixed in, and a shell on the outside. To eat it you peel the shell and suck on the roots to extract the green stuff. It's super healthy for you, a lot like those health food drinks they sell in the organic section of Toms or FJ's; lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and other good stuff.

There's also Tamarind which is a root based item (that I assume is somewhere in the ginger family- but sweeter) that it typically extracted and made into a juice that's a deceptive diarrhea-colored brown but more like a pear in taste.

Ginger is here too... considered a fruit in Africa. Go figure.

There's also Baobab from the like-named giant trees that Africa is so famous for. These are the trees with enormous trunks you see in pictures. Anyway, the fruit is bland, grainy, and dries out your mouth... but good in juices.

And there's something I forgot the name of that resembles a cranberry in size, shape, color... and almost taste. But it’s somehow not a cranberry. Or it’s all been lost in translation. But as this fruit is rare, and in season for about a month only (in winter) I'll have to figure it out later.

Last but not least is my new favorite: Corossol. This stuff is unbelievably good. Like a guava in flavor it resembles an over-grown green strawberry on the outside. You don't eat the skin, you wait until its squishy like a bad avocado and then cut it into chunks and eat the white parts (without seeds obviously). It’s stringy like a mango but tasted better than guava. So good.

There are other tropical fun fruits there like guava itself, papaya, coconut... but they aren't very common. There's a season thing I haven't quite figured out and I'm guessing their imported from somewhere with better climates as they are typically more expensive than the everyday budget. Grapes, pears, dried or semi-dried dates and apples fall into the imported and therefore rare and expensive category, too. But hey you have to indulge from time to time, right?

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