When I first arrived in Indonesia, in 1997, I was a little bit more excitable and a little less wise then today.

Like most new arrivals, I heard all about the infamous durian, and like most new arrivals, I was a little bit doubtful. At this point, my house was still mostly unpacked boxes and unworking plumbing. I still hadn't seen the wonders of the Indonesian outdoor markets, and although I probably had seen a durian segment from afar, saran wrapped in a styrofoam shell, I hadn't recognised it for what it was, and I was far enough not to notice the smell.

At this point, we still bought all our food from a western-style supermarket. We still didn't have a maid at that point, and the supermarkets were a bastion of familiarity to us.

One such time at a supermarket; it couldn't have been more then the second or third time, I was looking in the dessert section and I saw some durian ice cream. I thought: "what the heck, how bad could it really be."

It was a putrid shade of light green, and had a stank that multiplied as it melted in my mouth. I consider myself to have a strong stomach, capable of choking down the strongest padang food, yet I gagged as I savoured the first spoonfull. In North america, it would be illegal to make a onion/garlic/custard ice cream, yet somehow I was suckered into buying it as soon as I left home. I don't think I had more then a bite, and then threw the container out, but my freezer stank for the next week.

A few months later, I learned that even my Indonesian friends who enjoy the fruit find durian ice cream to be gross, so I don't feel so bad. Even after four years, I couldn't get myself to like, or even tolerate durian. I tried, really. Just bad associations, I guess.

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