Saturday, June 17, 2017
"Look, Ma, No Hands!" Or, Getting Cheeky on the Grand Canal
As you can see, it's common for the drivers of mototopi, or large work boats, to steer them with--well, with what you can see for yourself. And even after living here for 6 years, and in spite of its indisputable practicality, it still surprises me.
Of course my 9-year-old son, who aspires to be a mototopo driver himself--and studies and mimics their every move as other kids around the world study and mimic the moves of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi--finds nothing at all curious about this way of steering. Rather, the only question in his mind is whether he'd prefer the smaller type of handle you see above or the type with the long upright extension, as below, against which you can lean back for maximum comfort while driving (note the black padding taped around the upright in the image below).
At the end of a work day I've seen drivers reclining against (and upon) this latter type of tiller looking quite contented indeed.
In any case, this is one of those cultural differences between us that I think best to let pass without much comment. I wonder, though, if it would considered acceptable for women mototopi drivers to steer in this way.
But as I've never seen a woman piloting a mototopo here, there's no way of knowing.