Hue: the River.
So, as we were traveling down the Perfume River in our non-Dragon Boat dragon boat to see the various tombs and temples that line the water's edge, we kept seeing boats like this floating--barely floating--past us. For the record, that's sand, which, according to our always-foppish, occasionally-lisping guide, was used in construction somehow (concrete, I suppose?):
Anyway, the interesting part was not the sand, but how they got the sand into the boats. As you might guess, this was not a simple, nor an easy, process. If I was to use one word to describe it, that word would be "backbreaking." And possibly "tiring" as well, since doing backbreaking work all day long when it's like 98 degrees out and humid is tiring. At least, I'd guess it was tiring, never having worked under those conditions. Or actually done that much backbreaking work. But once I did get a blister on my mouse finger, and let me tell you, it was terrible. I almost had to get workman's comp. This kid, who apparently spends his day using a really long shovel to scoop sand off the bottom of the riverbed and into the boat, could probably sympathize, because I'm sure that gives him blisters as well:
I know what you're thinking: how could that scrawny kid pull a bucket of wet sand up and into the boat? The answer is that he couldn't. Not without some help, at least. Every boat had a couple of people, almost always women, sitting in the back (under a tarp if they were lucky)(I use the word lucky extremely loosely here, obviously) and cranking away on the wheels that you can see in the picture below. The wheels were attached to the bucket/pole with some rope, so by turning the wheels the women helped the bucket guy (or kid) maneuver the bucket full of wet sand around. And you thought the bucket guy had a crappy job:
Once you've filled your boat up with all the sand it can hold, so much that the deck is only about an inch over the waterline, you go shovel said sand onto this big conveyer belt, which gets the sand onto the shore where trucks can take over, and collect your money. Then, of course, you start over ...
Could any job be any worse, you ask? Well, I suppose instead of moving sand around you could be moving, oh, say, gigantic rocks. That would be worse. Just ask these people:
And if you're too little to operate the shovel or the wheels, you get to mind the ropes. And get your picture taken, apparently:
And you think your job sucks ...
Previously, on my vacation:
- Hue: the Imperial Tombs.
- Hue: the Imperial Palace.
- Hue: the Streets.
- Halong Bay: the Videos.
- Halong Bay.
- Hanoi: the Random.
- Hanoi: Water Puppets.
- Hanoi: the "Hilton."
- Hanoi: the People.
- Hanoi: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hanoi: the Streets.