I have been on the road again, just realizing that I’ve covered the expanse of the U.S in less than 7 days – Boston last weekend, a two-day layover at home in Arizona and on to Honolulu, Hawaii, where I am now. A six-hour time difference from east to west, which meant I was up before sunrise this morning. The circadian rhythm doesn’t change as quickly as the time zones! But who can complain when you wake to the sound of ocean waves, salt and plumeria pungent in the air … and that first taste of my favorite local fruit – papaya!
Nothing sings Hawaii like papaya for me. Not pineapple (though, here it is so very mild and sweet), not a big bowl of ramen soup (thought here, the curry is earthy; the pork slices, so tender), not soft, delicious malasadas (though here, you can buy them fresh from the oven, 6 am to midnight, 7 days a week), not octopus poke (like ceviche, but infused with Pacific Rim flavors) nor a Duke’s MaiTai (sweet and sour and full of power!). No, it is papaya – soft fleshed, smooth on the tongue, it needs no accompaniment except a spoon to scoop every bit from its soft skin into my mouth.
No papaya on the mainland comes near to it in texture or flavor. It stands alone, incomparable flavor with the added bonus of being full of natural digestive enzymes. What more could a girl ask for?
I was 16 when I made my first trip to Hawaii with my family and with it, my first taste of papaya. Thus began my love affair with this fruit, and I am as passionate for it now as I was then. Papaya for breakfast every morning … I can’t wait for its kiss.
Eat well. Be happy