Every time we ended up camping along the coastal belt, it was usually in a coconut plantation or natural grove along the beach. The southern coast of India must have some of the biggest plantations that I have ever seen. These trees are also massive producers and one can see big clusters of coconuts hanging high up in the fronds. As with every camp there is the gathering of local villagers. Attracted to us out of curiosity, normally they stand around and just stare for about an hour then eventually move off. One thing that I have always noticed is that they will sit, look at where we sit or place our table or tent, then look up at one of the palm trees. They never comment, sometimes the glance will be longer with a few extra ones at the tree and then at us again, followed by a little smile. I have on occasions thought about this, followed by my own upwards glance at the trees fruit, but felt no need to take the “let’s say quiet” caution seriously.
We were well into our dinner preparations, Nick on the tomato and onions, Andy on the garlic and chicken portioning. Ramveer and I were busy with the potatoes. Preparing for our now famous pot stewed chicken. All the ingredients were lined up on the table; we had even bent the rule and put in 2 chillies. We were just waiting for the last few locals to head off, Ramveer had poured us each a cool drink and we were all engrossed in our phones looking at the maps for the next days run, trying to work out if I could cut over the bay on the railway bridge or if it would be better to head back inland. Each of us in our own worlds, trying to work this next days rout out out.
The next moment there was this massive explosion, the whole table seemed to have blown up. There were ingredients flying everywhere. Cold drink spraying all over, Ramveer had in the calamity fallen out of his chair. Plates had flown off the table. As quick as the chaos had arisen, so it passed. There we sat totally bewildered, basically wiping food from our faces, looking at each other trying to piece together what had just happened. I stared at the table and there the evidence lay amongst the chaos, a massive green coconut.
It was strange how suddenly with out any prompting every one looked up at the trees and started to rearrange their seating into lets say more open air.