TUGGING AT MY HEARTSTRINGS
Bangkok, 9 October 2014
Our living room is small, but it has a magic view on the Chao Phraya River. Two of the living room’s walls are all glass and allow us a wonderful view up and down the river.
My wife and I maximize this view every morning by dragging our table out onto the narrow balcony which wraps around our living room and taking our breakfast – tea, cereal, and tropical fruit – all the while watching the parade of boats moving up and down the river.
Let’s be clear, the boats we see are not as handsome as these 1920s yachts.
I suppose the most striking boat we see are the long-tailed boats which skim across the river’s surface, their huge roaring motors in the stern peremptorily signaling their presence to one and all.
The water buses that ply the river aren’t so showy, but their raked bow gives them a certain allure.
My heart, though, goes out to the lowly ugly tugs which rumble slowly up and down the river dragging trains of barges behind them – slowly, so very slowly when the barges are full, slightly more jauntily when they are empty.
I sit there, watching them tug and strain, and will them on: “Go, little tug, go! You can do it! Attaboy!”
They may work hard, but these tugs are no shrinking violets. No drab work clothes for them. No siree, their owners paint them strong, happy colors, to signal how proud they are of their work partners. I mean, look at them!
As these tugboats pass, flaunting their color schemes, I can’t help but think dreamily of the tugboats of my youth, like Theodore the Tugboat
or Little Toot the Tugboat
or even Scuffy the Tugboat
Toot, toot!! Tug away, fellas! Job well done! I hope you get a rest and a good lube job in the evening. Toot, toot!!
Views of Chao Phraya river: my photos
1920s yachts: http://abrushwithsail.blogspot.com/2012/06/grand-yachts-of-1920s.html
long-tailed boat: http://swissnomads.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/long-tail-boat.jpg
water bus: my wife’s photo
tub boat and barges: my photo and http://www.panoramio.com/m/photo/47654772
colourful tugboats: my wife’s photos
Theodore the Tugboat: http://www.mtcw.ca/theodoretugboat/Tours.php
Little Toot the Tugboat: http://blog.keloland.com/lund/blog/2010/12/20/aunt-leilas-records/
Scuffy the Tugboat: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/scuffy-the-tugboat-sail-away-id-0375826963.aspx