Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Dayak bamboo bridge

A hundred years ago, Alfred Russel Wallace noted "Bamboo is one of the most wonderful and most beautiful productions of the tropics, and one of nature's most valuable gifts to uncivilised man." One can hardly say they are uncivilised nowadays, although many Dayaks still stayed in longhouses at the edge of modernity. This bridge looked exactly as what Wallace had described a hundred years ago, they have lost none of their masterful skills to harness this gift.

For me, crossing these wobbling bridges hanging 20 metres or so above the river was a leap of faith. It was almost like walking on tightrope except for the handrail, which by the way was so shaky I would not dare rest too much weight on them. It did not help to see that the thin wire cables that was used to fasten the bamboo poles were rusted....

A couple of months or so after my crossing, one of the bridges collapsed and 2 people fell down - fortunately there was no serious injury.


Titania said...

I guess it takes a bit of guts to cross over a bridge like this. What a shock if it breaks and one falls down...not knowing what is waiting in the water. I love Bamboo. One can use it practically for everything, even eat it!

Hermes said...

Amazing picture, not for me though. Just as an aside I am a big fan of Wallace and have read several of his fascinating books.

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