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Palma-idiotic-palm-tree Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

Palma’s widest road that isn’t an autopista (motorway) is probably the Paseo Maritimo, official name Avenida de Gabriel Roca (the engineer who designed the thoroughfare).

Tagging-writing-Palma-vandalism-walls Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

 It’s built on reclaimed land, creating a border between El Terreno, the delightful neighbourhood in which I live, and the sea.

 I suppose every Mediterranean city and town has a screaming thoroughfare right next to the sailing boats and the beach umbrellas, so nothing new there. What is new is that in Palma they are actually going to make it narrower instead of widening it.

 Yes, there will be more restaurants, more bicycles and more trees, and the cars will have to make do with two lanes in each direction instead of four. To accommodate all the new trees, most of the old, big shady trees have been removed, leaving only tall palm trees.

Paseo-Maritimo-shorn-of-real-trees Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

Palm trees are silly, aren’t they. I hate them. What are they for? They are not beautiful - just long sticks with some crap on top. They give hardly any shade with their thin and spiky leaves. They look naff, fake, like the worst excesses of those 1970s wallpapers. 

As far as I know, the palm trees in Mallorca don’t even have coconuts. So what are they for?

The palm trees in China’s southernmost point, Hainan Island, although also pretty naff and silly, at least are indigenous and have a purpose: To produce coconuts.

Hainan-coconuts Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

 I had been looking forward to drinking fresh coconut water straight from the nut, for during many beer-laden trips to mainland China I had fallen in love with 椰樹 Coconut Milk as a tasty hangover cure full of electrolytes or potassium or something. 

It's available from the excellent Chinese supermarket i Uetam street, and I have one every time I'm there. 

.download Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

 But my first (and probably last) fresh coconut water turned out to be a big nothing burger! It had absolutely no taste. I was so disappointed that I had to make a film. 

 

My Cantonese student ah-On and I had come down from Guangzhou on the slow train. Ah-On thought it took a long time and the word 'plane' was mentioned, but our 18 or so hours on the train had nothing on the large group of holidaymakers from Heilongjiang in the farthest north east of the country. 

They had been on the train for three days and nights, many even without as much as a hard bunk to sleep on, but they were still full of beans. They were decked out in full holiday regalia: Hawaiian shirts and shorts, as well as up to three floppy hats - per person.

Hainan-Hawaiian-shirts Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

For Hainan is known as the Hawaii of China, probably because there are palm trees, in the same way as Suzhou is called the Venice of China because there are canals. Compared to Heilongjiang, presumably the Siberia of China, the people on the train must have thought Hainan was boiling with its 12 or so degrees, while ah-On and I, wearing wool, shivered our way through the tasteless coconuts.

Hainan-ah-On-and-coconut Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

Tropical paradise my arse. But they did produce a lot of coconuts, and in fact my beloved Coconut Milk drink was produced on that very island! 

By the way, I just checked their website and found some interesting nuggets.

"You can tell how good this Coconut Milk Drink is by tasting it when you drink one." Heh! So that's how you do it. "Like sipping coconut juice directly from the coconut." Er, no. sipping coconut juice directly from the coconut has exactly zero taste.

They go on to say: "Do you know that one of the top ten most powerful corporations in the soft drink sector, Coconut Palm Group specializes in deeply processing tropical fruits like coconuts." Now I do! 

On the bottom it says:

"WARNING:
Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals including lead and cadmium, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

A Perfect Choice for a Healthy Drink!"

Mmmm. Lovely. I don't think the lead and cadmium come from the actual trees, no matter how much I dislike them - but I wouldn't put it past them either.

The other day I saw on a poster the local government pledging to plant 10 000 trees in Palma, to lower the temperature in the streets. Wait, is that in addition to or including those in Paseo Maritimo?

I hope to God they won't be palm trees. 

Hainan-tropical-toilet Palm Trees, Hainan Island and Cantonese - PenAndWok.com

Hainan Island, where even the toilets are in a holiday mood, is WELL worth a visit though! And of course the people there, unless they are Mandohooligans, speak Cantonese. 

Now this language can be yours for a low price with high entertainment value, when you learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian!  

Today's Cantonese: 我好無鍾意椰樹!O hou m jung yi ye suk! I hate palm trees.