July 11, 2011

Life lessons from a coconut.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a story about coconuts for a while. If you wonder why that seems necessary, it’s quite simple actually: I love coconuts. Anything with coconut in it to eat makes me swoon and the smell must be one of my favourite smells of all times. So I thought the coconut deserved a little ode.
I’m not even sure when and how it started, it may have been since I moved to Cape Town as coconut and New York doesn’t really seem to work well together, but I can’t really point a date and time. Come to think of it, I did start a quite obsessive love affair with coconut water already back in NY as they would sell it at my yoga studio. The best thing ever to hydrate, I would gulp down a tetra pack before class and probably two after and in between when a shopping marathon proved to tiresome.
Can you imagine my excitement when I went for strolls in the Seychelles and they would sell fresh coconut water in shell and all at the side of the road? I must have been too excited as I managed to schlep a 1.5kg coconut drink around for about an hour while slowly savouring it.

Life Lesson 1:
It’s very exhausting to carry a coconut and drinking the water will not make up for sore arms the next day.

Not the right kind of coconut for eating, but makes for a more dramatic picture.
I was even more excited to realize that one can actually just take the coconuts, which lie on the beach, and take them home to eat. That is if you didn’t make the mistake to lie under a palm tree and get hit by one. That happens more frequently than you would think.

Life Lesson 2:
 Even in a fight 100-year old tortoise against falling coconut, the coconut wins. True story, I saw the surviving tortoise and she did not look pretty.

I was staying far away from any trees and would just quickly run towards a coconut, grab it and dash away. Back at the guest house I would spend hours trying to bash it open, which becomes the ultimate DIY project if you don’t have a hammer or whatever professional coconut-opening-equipment there is. It is however a very satisfying way to spend an evening when you only have one TV channel in French. The reward is a fresh coconut snack and when no one else is around, you can actually pretend it tastes so much better than the pre-cut coconut you can buy at a store and that it was worth chipped nails and the trouble you got for bashing in a tile on the veranda.

Life Lesson 3:
See above. Maybe if you pretend long enough that it was worth it, you can at least convince your friends when telling vacation stories.

I however was not put off and my love for anything with coconut in it has continued. Bread, cake, macaroons – you name it. About two years ago, I discovered something else coconut related – Coco Extreme. A fragrance which smells of nothing but coconut and sun tan lotion and beach (A Thai hooker or boozy Malibu smell comes to mind if you wanted to be mean). A fragrance which goes perfectly with summer for obvious reasons, but also works in winter if you need a reminder that there will be a summer again sometime soon.
The other day a friend came to my house and she used my bathroom for, I guess the most elegant way is to say, a Number Two. She came out, closed the door and I interjected, saying she should rather leave it open and we would air out the flat. She said it wasn’t so bad as she has used my air freshener. I was a bit puzzled as I don’t use air freshener ever. I prefer matches. Guess what – a really expensive French fragrance can in an emergency situation a) be mistaken for air freshener and b) quite adequately do the job too. That is if you don’t believe like I do, that any kind of fruity air freshener only makes the smell worse. So I literally twice as now the coco smell was, true to its name, very extreme in my bathroom and well, my friend had just sprayed about $5 worth of fragrance into the air.

Life Lesson 4:
Don’t leave any fragrance that doesn’t come in a chic glass bottle and spells Chanel, Gucci or Dior on top of the toilet.

Lessons learned. Yet my love for coconut remains as unbroken as most of them I attempted to break.

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