We’re surrounded by Coconut trees - tall palms with thin trunks extending skywards up to the foliage and goodies. Ripe nuts harvested by men, helped by monkeys on ropes. Allegedly, more people die from falling coconuts than from shark attacks – hmm.
What you see in a supermarket or at a fairground is the hard, brown ‘nut’ inside a much larger green case – although this case is ‘soft’ pulp, a kilo landing on your bare bonce from 40 feet high would hurt. A. Lot. At harvest time I can hear the nuts plummet to the ground with a loud thump, enough to jolt me out of my chair.
Today (13/12) was different.
Men with chainsaws were harvesting two trees to make a new roadside ‘bench’ – a large wooden patio raised on blocks, with a tiled rain cover - where idle Thai men and women and children can squat and watch the world pass by. A national pastime – a gang of three men were sitting on their motorbikes watching the workers cut up the wood.
Right outside my window, while I was writing – change that to, trying to write. After the chain saws came a petrol-driven mobile bench saw. Feed the trunk in at one end and out comes a plank at the other. Repeat several times. My hat off to the speed of construction - when Thai men work, they don’t shirk (if the money’s right).
‘Why?’ I asked, (the cutting, not the shirking).
Well it seems like the house owner of the original bench had banned ‘guests’, even though these ‘guests’ had renovated his bench in the first place. And very smart it looked when it was finished. Possibly, the proliferation of booze bottles and cans littering the ground had something to do with it.
Or it could have been a complaint – a Swedish Farang has rented his guest house – the bench is only a few metres away from the guest house balcony. But that’s conjecture. Lasse (the Swede) seems amenable enough – and he drinks enough beer and Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky to challenge that theory. Maybe it was his Thai wife...
Anyway, it was Prik’s sister’s land and her trees. So he’s going to relocate to her site just down the soi (road) from us. Now, a discussion is taking place. Work has stopped – fag break. I can see this is going to be an all day job... ah, a new circular sawing blade is being installed.
Cutting continues. So does the noise. I’m the only one left who’s watching. It’s mesmerizing.
Shame about the writing...
Update today (15/12). Scenes of frantic activity. Morning, planks relocated. Afternoon, construction. Finished by 6:00 as the light starts to fade. Must be whisky night...