Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts...

…and now I also have a machete.  We bought one at the hardware store, keeping in mind the plethora of coconut trees our backyard boasts.  When we scouted the piles of coconuts under the trees, though, Ivan thought we might want to pluck one right from the branches for freshness’ sake.  So he scooped me up onto his shoulder and I twisted a fresh one down.  Following the actions of the vendors we’ve seen, Ivan hacked away at the top of the coconut until we had a little hole.  We popped in a straw and enjoyed a cool sip of coconut milk.  Then, more hacking ensued, until we were left with two meaty halves.  We gobbled up as much as we could, but ultimately had to toss some in the fridge (coconut is really filling).  I am pretty pleased to now be among the ranks of proud machete wielders nationwide and to have a tool with which access to even more free food is easily available.
First, you get yourself a coconut.

Then you, or a capable friend, chops off the top with a machete.

Next, plop a straw in the top and sip the sweet coconut milk.

After the milk is gone, chop the coconut in half.

And have yourself a lovely meal.

St. George’s University was kind enough to affirm Ivan’s genius yesterday in the form of an informative email.  He received the Legacy of Excellence scholarship:

St. George's University offers exceptional students the opportunity to receive the Legacy of Excellence Scholarship. This partial-tuition scholarship is awarded to entering students who demonstrate the commitment and dedication necessary to achieve academic excellence in a rigorous medical curriculum.

The Legacy of Excellence Scholarship is based on academic merit and students' commitment to their school and to their chosen profession. The goal of this scholarship is to provide high-achieving students with the means to impact the medical profession in noble and humanitarian ways.

The University has attracted some of the best and brightest medical students from around the world. In support of the goal to continually enable students of the highest academic caliber to pursue their career goals without excessive financial burdens, we have developed this scholarship. SGU offers a state-of-the-art campus, accomplished professors and useful student support services that contribute to an unforgettable learning experience. (

I couldn’t say how many students applied for the scholarship, or how many were awarded, but I am still pretty stinking proud of my awesome husband.

Yesterday we attended a few seminars at school.  The seminars were mandatory for Ivan (although there was no form of attendance being taken), but I was also allowed to attend.  The first seminar was an introduction to the history and culture of Grenada.  It was presented by four Grenadian students.  I learned… a few things.  One key point I learned is that I am not the only person who indulges in the randomly placed digression.  Unfortunately, just as I thought I was about to learn something intriguing, the presenters would leapfrog to another topic entirely.  A lot of their deviations catered to the stereotypical college scene (i.e. skip a lecture on the U.S. military’s invasion to joke about local nightclubs).  I took notes, but they seem entirely unfinished.  For instance, there is a heading regarding spices in Grenada.  Below it: Cocoa, Nutmeg.  Then the seminar took a spin to discuss boating.  Now, I know we’ve only been here a couple weeks, but I am pretty sure Grenada has more than just nutmeg and cocoa in their spice market…

Some things that stuck with me: there are snakes in Grenada, but there are very few.  This is because a local superstition or folklore leads people to believe that snakes are bad luck, or represent a curse of some sort.  In response, people kill a snake if they see one.  Kind of a shame, right?  Leatherback turtles are the largest sea turtles in the world, are critically endangered, and nest on the coast of Grenada.  They can be seen in the evenings for a few months every year on the beach.  Grand Anse beach was voted the seventh most beautiful beach in the world.  The national dish is called “oil down” and the oil in the dish comes from the coconut milk in it.  The monkeys on the island (the same ones we have pictures of sitting on our shoulders) are Mona Monkeys.  They are an invasive species, native to West Africa.  They were introduced to Grenada in the 18th century after being transported aboard the slave ships.  Now, the monkeys can only be found in West Africa and the tiny island of Grenada.

The monkeys are a tourist attraction on Grenada, but are otherwise seen as a nuisance to the locals.  They are troublesome for farmers because they like to pick the crops, then throw the crops at the farmers.  They also like to steal food and anything shiny.  They have been known to break into homes (by “break in” I assume they climb in an open window) and wreak havoc.  Truly they are destructive pests, but I still think they’re charming in an old-world-monkey kind of way.

Tidbits: The world’s fastest 400m runner is 18-year-old Kirani James from Grenada; the 1970 Miss World beauty pageant winner was Jennifer Hosten of Grenada; the first largest producer of nutmeg in the world is Indonesia, the second is Grenada; there is an underwater sculpture park off the coast of Grenada that is accessible when snorkeling or scuba diving and it is creepy (Google underwater sculpture park).

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