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August 4, 2012 / calebdresser

The Boatyard

The boatyard was a patch of sloping gravel in the slum behind the government hospital. The men – it was only men – who worked it did not know that they were unusual. They took great baulks of smuggled hardwood from the interior and, amid piles of wood chips and discarded plastic bags, transformed them into sturdy open boats nearly thirty feet in length. The boats carried home-made lateen sails and were brighly painted, so the tourists liked to photograph them as they passed through the bay. The tourists did not bother to photograph the boatyard. This was the final, cinching mark of its authenticity. It felt good to be in a place where working wooden boats were built by hand.

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