Growing up in central China, I heard a lot about this melon called hami that is the pride of the exotic Xinjiang province, which borders Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and parts of both Pakistan and India controlled Kashmir to the west. I didn't manage to taste this melon until I was about nine, when a friend of dad's brought one back from this land known for ripe grapes and beautiful women. To this day, I still remember the honey smell that permeated the box it came in.
This past week, I saw this old friend at Trader Joe's on Monroe. What a treat! I picked myself a pretty one and let it sit on the counter in front my kitchen window to ripen. I almost always do that with my melons, since they are almost never at the right ripeness straight from the store. When I smelled that familiar honey scent, I cut the melon open. The insides looked like a cantaloupe, but the juices that ran down my elbows and dripped all over the floor gave it away. Never have I encountered a cantaloupe that ran like a river. The taste, after a few hours in the fridge, was so sweet and cool, I almost didn't share with the man. Almost. I am nice. :)