Summer adventures are a little different this year.
1) We're missing two of our best adventurers.
2) Stuff built in the 1900's isn't very handicapped accessible.
But we're still trying to soak up all the summer we can.
It started with a visit to the Omaha Children's museum, where this summer's exhibits include a mini festival of nations. Today's interactive booths were hosted by Mexico - tortilla presses, Day-of-the-Dead piñatas and Frida Kahlo; Germany - spätzle with sausage, apple cider and soccer; and then we've got China.
Where every other country had 3-5 people working their booth, the Chinese came prepped like this was the olympics of ambassadorship - and they brought stuff.
Sooooo much stuff.
The writing demonstrations were beautiful. The karate was cool.
But the food?
I'm not talking about normal food. We're talking candy. Chinese candy. The kind of stuff none of us would probably crave under normal circumstances, but they had so much, so many different things, and hey - we're on an adventure, so off we went.
Moon cakes, sesame patties, coconut chews, jelly pots, seaweed crunchies, mango gummies, lychee cakes, rice cakes - yeah, I know, some of it SOUNDS good, but up close it didn't look remotely edible. Most of it tasted the same - overly sweet or salty or fishy and chewy and stale.
But the worst, the worst by far was the durian fruit roll. It looked like a little crispy piroulene - safe enough. But then the girl says to me, "No. No, you must smell it first. Smell it, because it smells very very terrible, but it tastes, um, well. . . good."
Nothing about that sentence was true.
First, nobody needs to smell it. Go ahead and Google "What is the smell of Durian?"
This is what you'll find: "Regarded as the king of fruit in much of south-east-Asia - is best known for it's pungent smell, variously compared to sewage, rotting flesh, or at BEST overripe cheese."
But I'll tell you what it really smelled like. Imagine the scent of stale diesel fuel. Now imagine feeding that fuel to a goat. Imagine that this goat has the stomach flu. Imagine that this goat farts, and then you light the fart on fire, and then you soak your cookie in the aroma of that jet fuel, goat diarrhea fart.
THAT is what that durian fruit roll smelled like.
So by this point you may be asking yourself why Yoda and I proceeded to EAT it.
To be fair, it was a COOKIE. I mean, no matter the scent, how bad could an innocent cookie be? And have you forgotten the tail end of that sweet Chinese girl's sentence? "It tastes, um, well . . .good."
All of it.
That cookie had the lingering taste of being force fed whatever was coming out of that stomach flu goat's backside for HOURS. Even Rico, who was smart enough to refuse the durian roll and tried a sesame stick instead, was pretty nauseous most of the day.
Only a dinner of lasagne at Old Spaghetti Works began to erase the damage to our taste buds. That, and a trip to Hollywood Candy in downtown Omaha, where we got lost in the dozen rooms of retro props, a Lady Gaga's piano, and thousands of jars of retro candy.
Tiny chose a tube full of blue squeezable marshmallow fluff, while Rico and I continued a day of bad decisions by sampling the chocolate covered corn. We clearly need more supervision.
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