24 May, 2010

Mangos!

CPH has about 5 huge mango trees here and they are dripping with fruit!, but unfortunately this year they will not ripen (not sure why) which is very unfortunate since mango in my opinion are ‘fruit of the gods’, they are so delicious!

The frustrating thing for me is that I am super allergic to mango sap or the skin of the mango.  I can eat the fruit by the handful, but give me one fresh from the tree (or even one in the supermarket) and I get this rash starting up my arms.  I first found this out when I lived in Hawaii and was covered in a rash one day.  I thought I had poison ivy or oak, but since there was none of that on the island, the dr. said it was probably mango’s as it has the same reaction in people as a poisonous leaf.  I got it time and again in Hawaii until medication wouldn’t cure it and I had to get a shot to rid it from my body.  I shied away from mango’s after that and once back in the continental US, instead of mango sap, I suffered through the poison oak my dog, Mattie, would bring me each time we went on a hike –sort of like a special reminder of our fun day together.

I really don’t mind that I’m allergic as actually getting the fruit from a mango is not so easy.  The skin isn’t always easy to peel off and the fruit sticks to the large seed inside.  In DC, there was a woman selling ziplock baggies full of cold sliced mango on the corner near where I lived.  She charged around 2.00 for a bag and it was worth every cent on a blazing hot day.  Once my friend questioned the price and I said “Just pay it! Do you know how much work that women went through?”  I didn’t tell her that some days, I would slip the woman a $5 bill slurring out ‘keep the change’ as my mouth watered and my eyes glazed over at the beautiful orange mango flesh.

Here in Nepal, Bhola gave me a mango a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to dig into it.  The mango rash was in the back of my mind as I stared into the bag.  I let it sit in my room for a couple days waiting for the opportune time to devour it.  One day, I picked it up and held it why I tried to figure out how I was going to cut into it in my room.  Because I wasn’t able to bring my trusty Swiss knife with me this trip (didn’t want to check in any luggage) I was trying to McGyver my way into the fuit.  Realizing that a tweezers and a paper clip just wasn’t going to do the trick easily, I put the mango back in the bag and figured I would go down to the kitchen and borrow a knife.  I got distracted from my mission and ended up not cutting into it that day.  The next morning, low and behold, there it was…little red bumps in clumps all over my forearms!  With my head hanging low, I took the sweet mango safely encased in the bag to Bhola and Jaya’s room.  I showed him my arm and said that I can only touch the actual fruit of the mango, not the skin or I will get this rash.  I made it clear (twice) that I can EAT mango, but can’t help in the preparation of it. Being the ever-so-thoughtful man, that afternoon as I worked on the computer, I heard a little knock on the door and one of the girls entered and it was like a shining orange beam accompanied her as I saw my mango all cut up and gloriously arranged around a cup of tea!
I would have taken a photo of it, but I think I was overwrought with delight as a lone tear of pure joy rolled down my cheek. 

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