There is a book title, I believe, called The Old Man and the Sea. Well, I spotted the lone man and the sea.
This provides a contrast to the large ships plying the waters off Port Louis.
For anyone that cares…
One is able to easily spot the difference between a boatload of local people and a boatload of hotel guests.
In case anyone is having trouble, look for the people wearing life jackets. That’s the clue. Or determine which boat looks like a load of refugees seeking a better life after paying a huge sum to ride in a tiny, unseaworthy skiff.
Thailand offers several forms of pollution to both residents and visitors, but the most-intrusive is noise produced by the ubiquitous long-tail boats. This unique feature of Thailand can be enjoyed along rivers or at the seacoast.
There oughta be a law...
A long-tail boat is an interesting develop in naval architecture. At some point, some local genius decided to mount an automobile engine on a boat. Why? Because he had one and needed to power a boat? Who knows? Modern-day versions have probably not evolved much from earlier models, beyond an increase in horse power and noise. For some reason, mufflers did not make the transition and seem to have skipped the notice of government regulators...if such an animal exists.
Anyway, the motor is mounted on a pivot at the rear of long, narrow boat. Size varies from putt-putt to monster-truck.
The drive shaft is extended by a long pole (‘tail”) and a propellor is added to the end.
The “driver”, or whatever he’s called (I have yet to she a female handling a long-tail boat, so there’s work for emancipationists yet to do.) Speed is regulated with a hand throttle.
The propeller is lowered into the water, power is applied, and off the boat goes. Anyone knowing the sound of a tractor or a Harley without its muffler will be familiar of the noise made by these nuisances (unless you need a ride). Unlike Harley's, these babies are working machines, not unlike a tractor. They are used to fish, carry tourists, or haul goods. I have never seen a "pleasure" long-tail, even if some drivers look as if they are having fun...
In Vietnam, one can observe the entire evolution of boats, from primitive to modern.
Most are for work, many are for living, a bunch for transportation, and a few for leisure.
Man first ventured onto the water--not counting floating on a log or clinging to debris after being washed out to sea by a tsunami--in something called a coracle. These are still used, as witnessed on the beach at Da Nang. At the later end of the spectrum, hydrofoils breeze along the Saigon River carrying passengers to and from I know not where. In between are all shapes and sizes of water craft, including the one which carried me to and from that country.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.