Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tropical Fruit

I'm sorry to be a wimp, but, it's cold here in the mornings. I know it's all springy and pretty and the cherry trees are blossoming early and you can get away with leaving a window cracked over night. But when you've just come from a praia next to a turquoise ocean in América do Sul, forty five degrees is downright frosty. Um, and where's my fruit? With Brazil's delicious heat comes delicious food, and now I am very spoiled. Blog readers will know there's a slight fruit obsession round these parts.

Mornings in the Northeast of Brazil went something like this:
  • Wake to sounds of saguim whistling and carambola hitting the ground.
  • Open shutters and gaze at mamão tree to see if any are ripe yet.
  • Pull on shorts and put coffee on to brew. Wander out in bare feet to say good morning to monkeys.
  • Putter through the neighborhood chatting with said monkeys, picking and eating azeitona, pitanga, and acerola.
  • Marvel at the size of the jaca fruit. Some are as big as toddlers, I swear!
  • Imagine I might actually see a sloth someday (preguiça).
  • Pick and take home huge abacate that needs time off the tree to ripen, and pick up small, fallen manga for a snack later.
  • Collect carambola that have dropped overnight, and eat them whole on the porch with a cup of coffee.
  • Decide to go to the beach.
  • Curse at yet another truck that says "100% Jesus." Declare yourself 100% pansy, 100% monkey-lover, 100% bummed that evangelicalism has colonized the Brazilian mind.
  • Smell roasting castanha along the road, slam on brakes and buy a bag.
  • Swim and lounge. Buy abacaxi and boiled amendoim from vendors when hungry. Drink coco, which is a fresh coconut with a straw in it. No container necessary.
  • Visit farmers market on the way home.
You can see why waking up without access to bananas, to graviolas, to maracujá, would feel like a morning lived, well, not quite as well. Yes, there are down sides: my gringa skin is peeling off in great sheets and....that's all I can come up with for downsides. I'm making an effort to get back into the rhythm here. I'll do what we do in the Northeast of the U.S. in spring: wear flip flops with sweaters, enjoy flowers and seedlings and the appearance of leaves, eat the first edible weeds of the year (dandelions, garlic mustard, spring onions, fiddleheads), and watch for the emergence of all the pawpaw trees planted last summer. Soon we'll be ankle deep in juneberries and mulberries, and I'll wander around the yard barefooted talking with the cats and eating off the trees. I can't wait!

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