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Monday, April 30, 2007

Penang: It's Rambutan Season

A Rambutan is a funny little fruit. The edible part is a shiny, moist, juicy white, much like a lychee. But the outside is red, with soft, rubbery green spines. You open them by twisting, and sometimes digging a fingernail in a bit.

Empty rambutan skins along the road are one of my strongest memories of my first visit to Penang. I was doing a day trip loop around the island, by public bus. There were three other travelers doing the same route. As we walked up to one of the stops, a waterfall where we could swim, munching on our bag of rambutans, we noticed all the skins along the road.

We later found out that they grow just about everywhere, and only tourists buy them. As someone told me today, "We usually steal them." It reminds me of the big island, Hawaii, and stopping along the road to pick the guavas that were everywhere.

"Stealing" doesn't save much money. They cost four ringgit for a kilo (2.2 lbs) in the tourist area. That's $1.20.

I love them, and I'm not sure if it is the taste or just the whole weird look of them, and that funny twist to open them. Or maybe it's just the memories from my first trip to Asia.

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