Airport shops and vending machines can yield sweet treasures
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some people get bored at airports and complain when flights are delayed, but Leigh and I have always managed to make the best of those times.
I suppose that, for a business traveler making a regular tedious commute, any delay is frustrating and annoying. But we always remind ourselves that we’re en route to some exciting adventure, making that time in the airport more than worthwhile — besides, airports have to be one of the best venues for people watching.
Often, we’ll work on our laptops to pass the time, but sometimes it’s fun to go on a scavenger hunt for weird candy when you’re in a foreign airports. So during a recent layover at the AeroParque Jorge Newberry in Buenos Aires we set out in opposite directions to check the selection. We couldn’t find any wifi signal, so it seemed like a good way to pass the time. Reading Reading the labels in who-knows-what language is a sure sign of globalization, and the sweets make great gifts and conversation starters.
The el Cachafaz, caught our eye, looking like a semi-squishy, chocolate-covered mini-cake, wrapped around a marshmallow filling, with a thin layer of biscuit. I decided it was a worldly, latin-tinged Scooter Pie. Plus, there was plenty of reading material on the package to help pass some time.
The Tita bar was a let-down, just a square, thinner version of the richer el Cachafaz, but the big winner was our stash of Artika. It looks like gum but it’s a kind of lime-flavored breath strip with no sugar, made primarily from some sort of algae extract. It’s powerful enough to freshen the breath of the penguins decorating the wrapper, and when we got home, my-11-year-old took it to school to amaze his friends.
And you never know when you’ll find the weirdest stuff. A couple of summers ago, we rode a ferry out to Texel, one of Holland’s dune barrier islands. The main lobby of the ship looked like a giant Lego construction and featured a brightly lit vending machine and we scored when we bought a couple of packs of Red Band from a vending machine.
Scrutinizing the fine print (in Dutch, with all those wonderful double-vowel combos), I concluded that it might either be a laxative or an anti-laxative, or maybe a seasickness pill. But the hard-powdered chocolate mint was delicious, a little like a concentrated version of a Peppermint Patty. It helped stave off starvation during a bike cruise around Texel a few days later.
What kind of weird candy have you found and enjoyed on your travels? Leave a comment in the box below and let us know.