Dear Papaya,

Let's just start over, shall we? I know I called you all those horrible names at that breakfast bar at Macchu Picchu, but I think we should move on. I know, I know. You have every right to hate me. I practically projectile vomited you all over my traveling companions, but, so what, Papaya? Every friendship goes through a few rough patches, right? Okay, so, maybe "You taste like puke" is not something you say to a fruit you've just met. I apologize. I was young. I didn't know.

Brazil? Why are you bringing up Brazil? Alright, so I was much older then. It was many years after Peru, you're right. So I avoided you in Brazil like the plague. So what? Let's face it, Papaya. You taste like throw-up when you're overripe. And Peru scarred me for life. Plus, that lady at the hotel was feeding you to the local birds, so, really, how good could you have been? Imagine if you were all excited to eat fresh tropical fruit for the first time and it was early in the morning (and you don't do mornings) and you were standing in the midst of an ancient mountain range and you had piled your plate high with eggs and toast and brightly colored chunks of juicy, beautiful fruit as you prepared your body and spirit for a trek into those mountains. And then you closed your eyes slowly and bit into those exotic pieces of fruit, and instead of tasting God's candy, you tasted... well, you know what you tasted like, Papaya. I know you're trying to emulate your svelte relative, the mango, but, ummm.. you are not a mango. You are mango's ugly cousin in a stained muumuu and you really just don't smell that good. I'm sorry, Papaya! Somebody had to tell you! I KNOW I'm supposed to be apologizing! Calm down! I'm just trying to be honest with you! You see? This is why we haven't spoken in almost fifteen years.

I know you feed a good portion of the equatorial world, and that you're rich in all the sorts of digestive enzymes that my body needs, but ever since that time in Peru, I have not wanted to go near you. Your green self I can handle. Covered in lime and salt and fresh chilies and tossed with onions and maybe a string bean or ten? Awesome, Papaya. We can totally hang. But that mushy fruit thing you do? Gross, dude.

I'm over it now. I'm a changed woman, Papaya. I just recently found a variety of you in Hawaii that I really like: the strawberry papaya. And for two dollars for SIX of you, well, even if you DO taste a little like stomach acid, I can't resist a bargain. You know what goes really well with you? Strawberries. And mint. In the blender. Yum.

So let's be friends, Papaya. I promise not to hate on you any more.

Now, if I can just get Guava to answer my emails...