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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...


PANAMA | Sunday, 14 November 2010 | Views [620]

Here I am at Hostal Bastimentos sipping my third or fourth pipa (what a coconut full of water is called out here), quenching my thirst. Damn it tastes good! Much better than a can of Red Bull! And it's only 25 cents. Here in Panama I've drunk heaps of agua de coco, and I've been to several countries in which coconuts and coconut water are abundant: Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Panama, and I've visited a street vendor for a "coconutful" at least once in each country, and in some of them I've even visited a home and asked someone to crack me open a nut. Coconut water is like a fine wine; you savour each drop, and if you choose you can crack the nut in half and eat the flesh.

Coconuts have so many health benefits and so many uses. Pacific Islanders have used every part of the nut for many centuries, whether it be for their skin, for fuel, for food, or whatever. It's possible to make a living on coconuts alone if you're stranded on a deserted island (that might be fun, and good for you too!). As I enjoy my pipa here on Bastimentos, I think about all the canned coconut water I buy in the U.S., New Zealand, and those places, and I always long for the water of a fresh coconut when I leave the tropics.

Tamil Hindus see the coconut like a human head. The outer husk represents the elusive nature of the world, the inner matter between the outer husk and the shell represents karma, the hard shell represents ego, and the coconut meat (white part) represents the divine. The water represents the union of the gods and the three eyes represent that of a man and the eye of Siva. They eyes must be broken before unity with the divine can be attained. A devotee who smashes a coconut before a murthi of a deity is engaging in a devotional ritual which implores the deity to bestow upon that individual the blessings of spiritual unfoldment and liberation.

Coconuts also have the added advantage of not having a plastic bottle when you buy one in remote places like Bocas del Toro, San Blas, and elsewhere. Rubbish removal (if it is removed) is a constant problem but coconuts don't contribute to rubbish. Coconut shells return to the Earth and are often home to insects, crustaceans, and other creatures. If you visit Bocas, or anywhere for that matter consider coconut water over Coca-Cola. It's better for you, the environment, and it's less expensive. 

After sharing all this, I'm down for another coconut!

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