Monday, November 10, 2008


Now that the election is over (and the good guys won!), I feel like the internet is filled with the lost souls of blog readers, desperate to find something to fill in their work day now that they can’t debate the relative merits of a $4000 haircut to a just plain $1000 haircut. This could be my moment, to grow from a cult classic to a main stream readership. But, alas, my real life is not cooperating. I am in Dili. Again. I spend my days at the office and my limited free time underwater. But you heard that story.

So I am going to need to improvise. On Sunday a big group of expats hired a large sailboat to take us out of the island of Aturo. It was a day of sunbathing and diving, culminating in a moonlit ride back to Dili harbor as lightening flashed in the distance, and dolphins did flips in the boat wake. And I got a couple good shots of undersea life that I would like to post.

All that I am lacking is a compelling narrative. I am going to borrow a story.

The captain of the boat was your typical Aussie – stone crazy. He build is boat piece by piece, and sails it around Southeast Asia with his much younger girlfriend and a cargo of god-knows-what. (From scallops for Australia to booze for drier parts of Indonesia, this man is an example to seafaring capitalists everywhere.)

But, as inevitably happens with people of this persuasion, we ended up playing “the weirdest thing I have ever eaten”. I am pretty good at this game. As longtime readers know, I am completely kamikaze about what I will put in my mouth.

He opened a story about spending a season castrating camels in Australia and feeling wasteful about “throwing away all that good meat.” I countered with days-old undercooked sheep brain in Mauritania. He moved on to the large maggots that tasted like ham-and-egg hotpockets when cooked (“not to be recommended raw though mate.”) I busted out fried termites and caterpillar-in-oil sandwiches in Burkina. He swung back with garlic and chili cicadas at his brother’s marriage into a headhunter tribe in Boreno. I whipped out live ants in Thailand. He was starting to sweat a bit and I thought I might have him on the ropes. I was running low, but I still had dog and monkey so I wasn’t worried…

It started innocuously enough with kangaroo tripe – which is cooked without washing the “semi-digested crap” out of it and doesn’t smell good. On the plus side though, it can be whipped up in only a few minutes while it takes two hours to cook a full kangaroo. Okay. Then he started talking about how they actually cook said kangaroo. The tail is cut off for later, and the stomach you had already taken out through a small incision because, see previous story, you were starving. Then the right of the kangaroo hunter begins. The hunter has earned the right to drink the blood of the kangaroo. The carcass isn’t drained of blood before it is put on the coals, so the blood gets hot and pressurized as it cooks. When it is done, the hunter puts a slit just below the ribs and drinks the stream of steaming kangaroo blood, which, in the true spirit of too much information, congeals immediately into “a really fresh like blood pudding.”

I picked up my ball and went home. The jaws of everyone onboard just dropped to the deck. The vegetarian weaved unsteadily. This guy was King.


Erin Browne said...

Sorry, but had to skip to the end on this one. I think I would have falled overboard if I was with you.

Doctor X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doctor X said...

Mmm...fresh blood. Could this be connected to the eerie return of vampire stories that accompanies the Obama administration?

"With Obama Election comes the Return of the Vampire"

[The comments cut the link in half. You may have to re-construct]