This morning Jose scampers up a coconut tree on the Island Academy grounds and separates coconuts from their necks. They fall with a thud to the sand where he collects them, uses his machete to scalp them, then pours coconut water into plastic jugs that he sells for a couple of bucks a gallon. Under the authority of the Queen of England, the beaches, whatever washes up on the beaches, and whatever grows on them is fair game for the public. All he has to do is climb and get them. A competitor uses a twenty foot extension ladder to harvest nature’s crop but Jose climbs the old fashioned way. When Jose climbs for his prize, he digs his feet into the coconut tree trunk and bows his legs. Then he extends his arms, holds on to the trunk, and pulls his legs up to his waist where he clamps them on the trunk again, extends his arms and hands, and repeats the process. His machete hangs on a rope tied to his belt loop. When he gets to the top of the tree he quickly cuts coconuts from their bunch with his machete. He climbs down in reverse order, and, when he touches sand, he collects his coconuts and throws them over the fence onto the beach. Business is brisk and a tourist from Ramon’s Village passes me with two gallon jugs, one in each hand. Coconut water is a health food favorite and reputed as some of the purest water on the planet. Jose’s best scheme would be to train a monkey to do his job with a little knife in its mouth and a pirate bandana around his head. All monkey’s should have to work for their coconuts.
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