Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Euphoria

Longana Euphoria
It was inevitable. I have blogger's block! This is my third attempt to blog something not trashy, but there is no guarantee whatsoever that this will see the end of day. Let's hope it will make it, and if you are reading this, it made it! For weeks in August, I was dreaded of an annual ritual that I must endure: harvesting the fruits off my fruit trees to get the highly sought after longana euphoria. If you are one of those whose tropical fruit tree horizon does not extend beyond the bananas, longana euphoria is the fancy name for longans. Phonetically, it conveys the exotic name of "long nhan" literally meaning "dragon's eye!" You must remember your disgusting reaction when watching one Indiana Jones movie in which Dr. Jones was offered the eyeball soup. Well, these longana euphoria look the same disgusting way, but it turns out that this exotic fruit is highly sought after, and it commands exorbitant prices in New York and other American cities harboring a China town where reportedly male Chinese elderly would kill for these fruits that they eat by the kilos. Come to think, their counterparts, the female Chinese elderly also love them. Recollecting from the childhood tales I heard, these fruits deliver doses of aphrodisiac like there is no tomorrow. This was confirmed by my savant friends living in France years ago. These dragon's eye balls are not labeled "euphoria" for nothing.

A quick astute research will tell you that there is not always agreement upon what foods or fruits are actually aphrodisiacs or anaphrodisiacs. The ancient list includes anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, rocket (arugula), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skunk flesh (a type of lizard) and river snails... The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily... Of course, it is because the latter belong to the "ana" group. And who would want that? I can tell you that if you get a hold of two handfuls of these longana euphoria and eat them, you may feel the same way I usually do: falling asleep. So this fruit may belong to the "ana" group, but it is sought after because it is believed otherwise. You pick!

Now that is the long story. The short story is that my annual job is to get these fruits off the trees, box some of them and ship them to the best friends of my wife and their families. I also can tell you that is a chore I abhor. So, in this year as in many previous ones, I procrastinate to the last minutes of the last days to harvest them. Then Katrina came our way. Out of the blue. By now, all of you must have heard of Katrina, the killer hurricane that devastated my favorite Jazzland, the city of New Orleans in the US of A. However, by this time, at this latitude and longitude where we live, she was only a budding baby storm and was ignored by most of us hard like nail habitant of tropical paradise. Eventually it became painfully clear to me that I must take action NOW before these valuable fruits are blown to be lost forever by potential hurricane force wind of Katrina. As a trained person with learned skills to predict hurricane behavior during my graduate school days (I am kidding, of course. It is more accurate to say that as graduate students at our world renowned oceanographic institute, we used to attend brown bag seminars to discuss modeled tracks of threatening hurricanes and if memory serves me well, I remember that none of any of the digital tracks would agree with any of the others,) I was certain Katrina will go North of us and would not arrive until tomorrow in the afternoon. So I gave myself until tomorrow morning to carry out the forced labor. Unfortunately, by the time the ladder was deployed at 9am of the fateful day, Katrina's rain bands were already HERE! So soon? Hey, this is a good omen, because after revising my calculations, there may be no need to climb up the trees after all. Not with all this wind around. There will be carpets of longana euphoria to collect leisurely, at fingertips' reach. Piece of cake. Thank you Katrina!

After a furious night of hurricane force wind in my yards, front and back and all around, I learned days later when the power returned that Katrina went right through US, and not North of us. So much for acquired skills in forecasting cane's routes. Sure enough, there were carpets of longana euphoria all right, huge carpets. These aphrodisiac eye balls were everywhere. The net result was that I still have lower back pain from picking them up one by one. But I did finish the chore asked of me and sent out a few of these boxes.

Fractal downed tree

The subsequent obligatory clean up job was no fun either. Fractal branches were everywhere, and they really were fractal so the number of snips to cut them down to manageable sizes increased not quite exponentially, but enough to give me nightmares for a few nights. Also, I can tell you that every night, the humid air temperature peaked to its highest marks between 1:30 and 2:00 am. If you ever sleep in a house without any electricity in the midst of summer nights after a hurricane passes through your area, I can guarantee you will wake up starting precisely at 1:30 am. It was HOT. So, as a corollary to my yet to do future blog: hell can never freeze over between 1:30 and 2:00 am. That's good information to have.

Fractal Branches

Was there any silver lining from such an odyssey? Look what I found blooming in my yard the day after: my precious ten thousand mile vine. And she was blooming! Actually, this sentimental vine is not that long, but that is its name: ten thousand mile flowering vine. I will leave you the task of finding out what this vine is. It is fragrant and its leaves are perfectly heart shaped.


Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Nobody knows but Jesus!
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Glory, Hallelujah!