The Festival of Fruit
Long ago Mystery Island was a much larger place, double the size it is now. Much of this land has sunk into the water or broken off from the initial island, but in those ancient times, several tribes of natives, some very small and others much larger, made up the whole of the island's population. Isolated from the rest of Neopia, and with so much land to call their own, these native neopets had their own culture, with its roots deep in the island. They make up the majority island's rich history. Their culture is an interesting thing to study and you will find many things to fascinate you about the history of this lovely island that my pets and I call home.
There are many interesting things I could share with you about this mysterious island, which has much more to it than one would think from reading the tourist guides. Thus I have decided to write an article all about the month of March, during which the Island celebrates Gadgadsbogen, the wonderful festival of fruit, dating far back into ancient times.
It is not surprising that a festival arose from this time, for this month, the month of Running, is when the majority of the exotic fruits here fully ripen. This is a wonderful time for everybody on the island. Everywhere you look--your backyard, the jungle, even the side of your house if there are vines growing there--there is bound to be a bounty of fresh, ripe, colorful fruit. You can eat as much as you like, and everybody--even large, twenty-pet families like mine--has more than enough fruit to eat. So, rather than let that fruit go to waste, every day during every weekend in the month of Running a whole half of the Trading Post is set aside, lavishly decorated, and prepared for a grand festival. Then, after everybody who will be participating in the festival sets up their stand for the day, the gates are opened, and the crowds fly in.
Nearly everybody who actually lives on the island will have a stand, and I have one this year as well. The month of Running is the biggest tourist month all year, July (the month of Swimming) coming in a very close second, so there is never a lack of customers at the stand.
You obviously sell plenty of fresh fruit at your stand, but that is certainly not all. You also prepare the fruit in many different ways--the obvious being edible goods such as pies, preserves, and juices or smoothies. But there are many other things you can do with the fruit as well, so you want to get creative. You can dry the fruit, soak it in a low-level preserving potion, and make it into jewelry. You can braid the stems or the vines into wreaths adorned with fruit and other goods from nature. You can make some varieties into fruit juice and/or their leaves into paints and dyes and bottle them up for people. The possibilities are really endless, and you always see a dozen more creative ways to use fruit each year. But it doesn't stop at actual fruit, either--also sold is all varieties of island merchandise and every sort of thing related to exotic fruit, like exotic fruit cookbooks, seeds for exotic plants, and paintings of island gardens. There's always more than enough things to see and buy at the Gadgadsbogen market!
But besides the market part of the festival, there's many more things you can do on the Island during this time. Every part of the island participates, so it's a very exciting time wherever you go. On the beach, as you always can during the summer, you can participate in all kinds of activities, including learning how to do things such as hula dancing, surfing, and (especially for Gadgadsbogen) growing tropical plants--even in non-tropical environments. You can even purchase a family beverage plan to receive free tropical drinks of all kinds from the beach and sample the flavors of Mystery Island. You won't find any of the generic fruit smoothies you're used to in Neopia Central here--they carry everything from the most exotic, duskily sweet beverages to flavorful, savory ones that give you a twist on your usual drink experiences.
Meanwhile, if you head over to the northeast side of the island, you will find a large, brightly-painted hut absolutely covered in vines just hanging with fruit. All around it are piles are fruit, and around those is a circle of bright, flickering tiki-torches. It is a sight to see at night, but at any time of day during Gadgadsbogen you can enter the hut and enjoy a marvelous game of (what else would it be called?) Gadgads Game.
Once you enter, you'll find yourself in a well-lit room painted with the same bright, fresh tropical colors as the exterior is. Dozens of yellow Kougras are waiting to help you through your gaming experience, with friendly smiles and lots of knowledge. They'll bring you into one of the rooms in the adjoining hall, and then the games will begin. You will be taken through three rooms. In the first one, you begin the task of gathering the fruits. The room is set up in a lush, jungle-like environment and you must dodge obstacles and avoid the enemies of fake jungle creatures until you have gathered a full basket full of fruit. Then, you must sort out the bad fruit. This process does not actually work to sort out bad fruit anymore with any but a certain kind of fruit. Long ago, in ancient times, the natives used to drop large quantities of Twirly Fruit off of cliffs, while other members of the tribe would run underneath with baskets, collecting the fruit again. If the Twirly Fruit bruised when it hit the basket, it was rotten; if it did not, it was fine. This only worked, however, because Twirly Fruit is a very hardy fruit with a thick, tough outer shell. It does not work with any other fruits. However, this second part of the game is only derived from this old custom and has nothing to do with actual rotten fruit. In the game, one scrambles to catch fruit falling from the ceiling in their baskets. You are trying to separate the different kinds of fruits from one another, a nearly impossible task with only one person. So it is advisable to bring a large group with you to hold the different baskets so one can succeed at this game.
The third and final game in the Gadgads Game building is a game titled Chef's Academy. As you may have noticed, entering the building, if you go around to the other side there is an entrance to a lovely tropical restaurant. It is here that you will work frantically for an hour to make, plate, and serve foods that all have some component to do with the fruit you collected previously. Of course, there are full-time waiters and chefs, but it is quite an experienced, being launched into the restaurant business cold-turkey, and not to be missed during the Gadgadsbogen festivities.
There are so many, many more things to do during the Gadgadsbogen festival, but I hope this relatively short walk-through will help give you an idea of what the Island is like during this wonderful time. If you're at the island during Gadgadsbogen right now, I hope you have the best visit possible! You can come visit my stall in the Gadgadsbogen Marketplaces with any questions or comments or just to see what I have for sale, or you could simply neomail me to find out even more about me, my pets, my writing, or anything else you're curious about!
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