Months go by before mango season arrives in Phnom Penh. Growing larger and slowly changing from bright green to glowing yellow, the ripening mangos now suspend themselves from the limbs of mature trees like so many Christmas ornaments.
Those trees actually thrivein my densely residential neighborhood of Boeung Keng Kang 1, familiarly called BKK1, where an increasing amount of what passes for high-rises are replacing lovely villas on virtually every block next to a swelling number of restaurants that cater to expats and Phnom Penh’s elite. (Even in this relatively cosmopolitan neighborhood, the crowing of roosters wakes me before dawn, and construction workers from the provinces in one project that is a block from home have had a flock of pecking chickens accompanies them.)
The season is just beginning, bringing to fulfillment my dreams of excessively savoring the sweet flesh after months of diminished quantities, lesser quality and higher cost.
I’m capable of eating two at a sitting, between meals, with the fruit’s juice snaking down my chin. When delicious big ones go for 25-50 cents each, my self-indulgence is hardly extravagant.
Using something like baskets at the end of long bamboo poles, Cambodians often can be seen snaring the crop from branches far above the street.
That sight represents the immediate future.
After two or three months of filling up with mangos, however, I can’t wait for the season to end. Enough already! I go from sated with mangos to sick of them.
I am not alone. Even abysmally paid, and thus poorly fed, unskilled workers eventually start to shun the things when free for the taking from tree limbs or pavement. Give me a couple more months, I have to admit, then the cycle between desire and disinterest invariably starts again.
I would tell you how little they cost in and off season, but I don’t want to ruin your day. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org