at the mercado

A rainy day brings it’s own simple joys, like a trip to the local market.  Aside from the dizzying display of bacalhao (dried salt cod) and hams prepared and preserved in every imaginable way, there was a bountiful selection of exotic fruit imported from the former Portuguese colony of Brazil. The carambola and kumquats were easy to recognize.  As for the mangosteen, well, the “mangustan” sign proved helpful.  But a scaly thing that looked liked an armadillo in hiding?  A spiky dinosaur egg the size of a beach ball?  There was nothing in my culinary phrasebook to help. Collectively, the display emitted a smell so fragrant it was borderline narcotic and I couldn’t resist the adventure of buying a softball-sized mystery fruit for later.  Once I got back to my hotel, however, my fruit’s distinctive odor – separated from the pack – became apparent.  I had chosen one of my favorites: passion fruit.

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