Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Coconut Milk Guy Gets A Shower

The coconut drink stand from today's post is on the right in this photo
[Today's article is a re-working of a post I made on a Thai forum that many of you wouldn't know of, and since that post is now two weeks down the list I figured I'd share it here.]

After visiting the small tree-covered wat at Bang Kung (stories here about the inside and outside) I'd gone wandering around the grounds outside while my friend spoke with the police man near the entrance to get directions and information about another spot he wanted me to see but hadn't been to himself. The officer looked over and laughed when my friend pointed in my direction, because he recognized me from a recent night when I'd unknowingly been taking night shots of the front of the police station and attracted the attention of a few from inside. They'd come out to do a quick interrogation, but that's a different story I'll try to get posted tomorrow.

Walking across the road to the small grouping of animals they had caged on display I took a number of photos before going around back, looking for a hong nam to leave behind some of the water I'd been pouring into myself to avoid dehydrating myself (again), which is all a part of staying healthy there.  From around the corner I could hear a rhythmic chopping sound that I followed until I ran across the guy below.

Chopping open partially hulled coconuts for the milk inside
He was collecting coconut juice for the blue-canopied stand behind him to his right (and up top today) - swinging a 20" machete-type blade quickly and (thankfully) accurately, chopping open the coconuts and pouring the liquid inside into the stainless steel stock pot on the table to his left. He was opening and pouring the juice out of what I guessed to be about four a minute. The coconuts had been partially hulled to make it easier to open them, and when he got enough of them prepared he'd get to "juicing" them.

Not wanting to be the cause for him losing a finger - or worse - I stood quietly and watched, waiting for him to pause and look up so I could ask if he'd mind me taking his picture. I didn't have to wait long; the pot soon got as full as he wanted it to be and he carried it over to the woman working the stall. She then emptied it out and handed it back to him in-between customers. It was mid-day, and they were doing a brisk business.

When he came back he acknolwedged me and I held up the camera and asked, as I usually do "OK photo?" He smiled and nodded, and I took one photo of him posing and smiling. By that time my friend had spotted me and come over, and I'd asked him to ask the young man how long he'd been doing this and how his luck had been with that blade flying around so quickly. He said he'd so far not had a problem with the knife, but that sometimes he got doused with coconut juice if he wasn't careful. He picked up the knife, grabbed a coconut and went back to chopping.

The young man sprays himself from waist to chin with coconut milk
The very first one he hacked into sprayed his previously dry shirt liberally all the way up onto his face. I'd had the camera on him already, waiting to take another picture so I caught the shot above as he reacted to his dousing. It's probably a regular hazard because he didn't look all that surprised. After wiping his face of with the back of his wrist he said in Thai "my luck isn't so good today... maybe I'll slow down a little, too!" After my friend translated it for me I laughed, too, gave him a thumbs up and said "chok dee!" as we headed off on our way.

No comments: