How a Costa Rican coconut can turn you into a ‘beautiful Barbie’

December 1, 2017

When I chat with journalist and Tico Times columnist Alvaro Murillo, it’s usually about politics – but this photo in his Facebook feed, published here with his permission, couldn’t help but catch my eye.

“Slim down with these pipas, cleaning your floors, giving it all you’ve got and reducing your belly,” says this sign, hand-lettered by a vendor at San José’s Mercado Central and photographed in November. “Transform yourself into a beautiful Barbie.”

A careless glance might lead a shopper to think the sign refers to the benefits of coconut water, but in fact, it refers to a Costa Rican house-cleaning hack. One traditional method of polishing the floor is to chop a pipa in half and let it dry out. (Green pipas are immature coconuts that still have their outer husk attached.) The cut surface of the coconut shell can then be used, ideally with a broom handle stuck into the top of the pipa, to polish a floor to a high sheen, au natural.

Or so I hear. If you clean your floors with a pipa, I want to hear some expert tips from you.

At any rate, would-be Barbies and Kens alike should keep this merchant’s method in mind for shedding those Christmas pounds after a few too many tamales this year: just apply a little elbow grease and you’ll burn those calories right off.

Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to kstanley@ticotimes.net. We’d love to see the sights with you.

You may be interested

6 questions for an aerial acrobat: ‘It means freedom, risk, and strength’
Arts and Culture
1479 views
Arts and Culture
1479 views

6 questions for an aerial acrobat: ‘It means freedom, risk, and strength’

Amanda Zúñiga - September 23, 2018

As our Weekend Arts Spotlight celebrates its third anniversary, we take a look back at the first edition of the…

Poetry, Cacique and memories at San José’s cultural dive bar: La Bohemia
Dining & Nightlife
984 views2
Dining & Nightlife
984 views2

Poetry, Cacique and memories at San José’s cultural dive bar: La Bohemia

Natalia Díaz - September 23, 2018

La Bohemia is something you can really only experience sitting with a self-made cheapskate gin and tonic in hand, watching…

In search of sustainability in Limón: What is sustainability?
Environment and Wildlife
798 views
Environment and Wildlife
798 views

In search of sustainability in Limón: What is sustainability?

Dr. Khosrow Farahbakhsh - September 23, 2018

I still remember the day I was asked to teach thermodynamics to a class of third year engineering students. I…