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Following another inquiry about t he s t r uc t u re, I le a r n t hat t he mater ia l i s ba mb o o. Ba mb o o! You have got to be kidding! These build ings are dozens of stor ies high, and the bamboo framework goes all the way to the top. The uprights, cross pieces and diagonal supports are all tied together w it h somet hing t hat resembles rope. I am fascinated to lear n that the strapping material is also bamboo – narrow, f lexible strips of bamboo. Until now my knowledge base regarding bamboo has not extended beyond the fishing pole from the smokehouse. A not her fa st-for wa rd – I a m walking along a dirt path in rural southern China. The walkway is elevated about two feet above rice fields on both sides. Other paths form a tan grid laid across a sea of tender g r e en s t a l k s of r ic e . Separate from the walking paths, a network of shallow ditches crisscrosses the field. The purpose of the stroll is to see a waterwheel that takes water from the lower level of a ditch and delivers it up to the level where the rice is growing. I am captivated by the device as I observe that every part and piece of this waterwheel is fashioned from bamboo. T he f r a me work of t he whe el a nd t he suppor t st r uc t ure a re bamboo stalks about an inch in diameter, each of which could be my old fishing pole. The wheel is 141

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Tidewater Times September 2011  

September 2011 Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times September 2011  

September 2011 Tidewater Times