It’s Durian season here folks, a season (un) affectionately termed by me to describe a period of time in Bali when durian fruit is (un) fortunately plentiful. It is so abundant, in fact, that you can smell it in the air many meters before you actually come upon it. For those who like durian fruit, this is a convenient tracking mechanism. However, I liken this olfactory experience to encountering a frightened skunk.

For those of you who don’t already know, durian emits a funk funkier than the P-funk All-stars. It’s like the smell of mass death, of giving up, of wickedness, of sin.

Yet people here eat it! Nice people, who are smart and funny and sane. These otherwise intelligent, good people purposefully go to the market with the intention of purchasing durian fruit, and they they eat it…willingly! They cut open that spikey melon ball, and they chew, savor and suck that martian meat. Then they lick their fingers with appreciation and lean back in gratitude. Gratitude for what? Day-old Easter ham that’s been mushed together then farted on before serving?

A few weeks ago I was driving back from the beach and came upon the smell of that fruity time bomb as I traveled innocently home to my villa. Afraid that the smell might karate kick me off my bike, I held my breath and sped up in hopes of telephoning myself past the horrific smell. About 10 minutes later I was finally able to take a breath without gagging. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the durian-polluted air I was forced to breath prior to that (only enough to stay alive) left bits of it stuck in my teeth, because despite flossing every night, I had bad breath for a week.

But that’s how durian works: it warns you not to eat it by emitting a smell more foul than even the most creative mind can fathom. Really, it is begging you not to eat it. It’s like, “Hey, you seem pretty smart, but let me make this really easy for you. You know that smell that’s making you woozy? That’s me. So why not pick the