Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pineapple Express

Buying some of the many pineapples we will eat that day.

A pineapple plant...they don't grow on trees.

We had VIP seating at the cultural show.

A few years ago I was helping my neighbors Mike and Alex by being the assistant coach of a Stanley Lake High School Girls Basketball Feeder Team. (Wow that’s a mouthful!) Alex and I had the squad made up of 7th and 8th graders, and were determined to make the team our own. Alex had graduated from Stanley Lake the previous year, and wanted to keep some of the traditions she knew of from Stanley Lake.
Recently before the start of the season a member of the swim team had suddenly passed away, which brought everyone into shock. The young man was on the swim team, and I don’t remember the entire story, but he always seemed to start the swim meets with a pineapple on the diving board.
We decided that a tradition with pineapples needed to be started in basketball as well. We didn’t have a diving board, but we did have a pineapple sit on the bench with us, and at the end of each game we voted on who was the MVP of the game, and they got the pineapple as a reward. It was something small, but it kept us all motivated.
I have never been much of a pineapple person previously. They always seemed like too much of a hassle to cut. The taste never seemed that spectacular for the amount of work that went into cutting the thing (except at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii-those pineapples were fabulous!).
Pineapples here are delicious. Especially because they were everywhere, it began to make me think I never gave them a proper chance as being my favorite fruit in America.
Then Jen and Cammi came to visit.
I like to think of their visit as the Pineapple Express, as we were never without pineapples. We ended up buying two knives to make sure we were able to cut open a pineapple to snack on whenever we had the chance.
Each morning we ate pineapples, during the day we had pineapples for snacks, and then we ate pineapple with our dinners. Every time we would return home from our days outing we would bring pineapples inside from our outings. We ate pineapples on the beach, opened them while we were just at our car, and would randomly visit other Peace Corps volunteers to have a pineapple with them. I think we averaged consuming at least 3 pineapples a day. We even had delicious pineapple drinks when visiting Dana’s village.
Jen and Cammi loved shopping at the pineapple stands, as the smell of the pineapples was incredible, and they were so cheap. (Tiny ones were 1 tala, and gigantic ones were only 6 tala (less than $3 American).)
I didn’t realize that there was a difference between the pineapples we eat in Samoa, from the ones Jen and Cammi have been having in America.
Jen was the one who taught me how to shop for fruit in America, plucking melons and smelling pineapples, and I consider her a fruit professional as she always picks out the best every time. In America she said that you smell the bottom of the pineapple to see if you can smell something sweet, if you can purchase it. In Samoa, you go near the pineapples and the smell radiates, letting you know that you will be getting the most amazing pineapple around.
Samoan pineapples are amazing.
On a side note, I was just watching Sex and the City, and Carrie had to go to jury duty, and the person next to her had a briefcase. One day there was a mango in it, and she said that it was strange that someone would bring a fruit that you couldn’t bite into in your suitcase. It is funny to me because that is how I have been eating mangos for the past year. It can get a little messy with the juices, but it is so delicious and worth it. When a kid climbs a tree to give you a nice ripe mango, you can’t wait until a knife comes along, it is a necessity to bite into right away.
The next day, the man had a coconut in his briefcase. Watching it made me think of Samoa, and made me wonder if he was a Samoan as he was pulling out things I can see all locals here pulling out of a bag. Only here next to their coconut, they might have their machete, although it doesn’t matter too much, as you can always find someone with a knife to help you open it.
Carrie was waiting for the man to pull out a pineapple each day, and watching the episode made me think of Jen and Cammi’s visit since it seemed as if we were always pulling pineapples out of our bags.

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