Archive for November 16th, 2007

There was a boat bopping around Isle Therese the other day … I watched it for a while from my veranda … a big, white, sleek thing with a helicopter pad on the back complete with helicopter.

Now, thought I, isn’t that exactly what everyone needs? A big white mutha of a well-slung vessel complete with chopper? What better to hug the shoreline of Mahé in, heh? Never know when one might need to hop quickly the four miles over to the other side of the island for … what?… some SupaSave youghurt, which by the way is going up to 14 rupees a tub next week.

I eventually mention said boat-of-superior-boaty-stuff, avec helicopter, to my well-informed spousal unit only to learn from him that during this given week it’s nothing but a trifle. Over on the Victoria side of things, there’s a big, white, sleek boat with TWO helicopters on the back helideck.

I’m guessing the one-chopper floater came over this side to avoid comparison and subsequent embarrassment — helipad envy.

Really! What could be worse than showing up in your big-ass-hangin’ bazillion dollar watercraft with sparkly chopper pleasingly perched aft at an island 1000 miles away from anywhere else only to find your parking space, or whatever is boatish for such a thing, is right down the way from a BIGGER one with TWO choppers?

Don’t know who the double-birdie boatie belongs to, but Radio Bamboo has it that the single-padder is the frippery of the owner of Tata, the huge Indian company that make cars, busses, and other carbon-producing mechanical clanky things, and that the big white mutha of well-slung vessel was tooling around Therese because Mr. Tata Boat Guy just bought it.

Great. This is what’s happening to my neighborhood: Bill Gates is carving a big honkin’ hotel to my left, with the addition of 20-some “executive villas” hewn into the scene; a Taiwanese company (Sofetel) is planning a big honkin’ hotel to my immediate right, also with 20-some executive villas; some Qataris are getting ready to plonk another huge hotel … WITH a dredged-up bit of bay attached as a ‘marina’ … and 20-some executive villas, just around the bend in Anse a la Mouche, and now the little wild island that makes up a bit of my lovely view is headed toward becoming something else.

Executive villas are going for $6 to 10 million to the sort of folks who hanker for big boats with helipads and toys of equal ostentatiousness, and although I’m sure some of them are right nice people, I don’t see them fitting into the Creole culture, shopping at SMB or working to level the Pearl S. Buck-type playing field that can only have the poor feeling even poorer in the face of so much bright and shiny loot.

I know we’re going to be looking a bit shabby in comparison with our simple wooden house, Mark’s desk-sized pirogue and our obvious lack of sycophants and hangers-on.

Progress, smogress, and ‘sustainable development’ is an oxymoron.

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