5 August 2013
It’s all bamboo
Did you know that bamboo could grow one metre in 24 hours? While this is directly dependent on the quality of the soil, bamboo is still among the fastest-growing plants (it’s actually a type of grass). There’s something to it that makes me fond of it, I don’t really know why, maybe because it can be used in many shapes and forms: some species are edible (bamboo shoots), most are sturdy and can be utilised for construction purposes, others find their way into musical instruments and bikes (no joke), or simply paper and textile. I don’t know, maybe it’s also because a forest of bamboo trees, with their slick and slender green stalks (the “trunks”), their regularly-spaced rings connecting each part of the bamboo, has something peaceful, symmetrical, harmoniously solid to it.
I had already experienced a brief journey on bamboo rafts in Thailand, sliding on a river into cavernous mountains full of bats. In Situ Cangkuang, a small Indonesian lake in West Java not far away from nearby volcanoes, I observed similar flimsy constructions. Long bamboo poles were stacked along the road, others were resting on the surface of the lake, probably waiting to be used to create yet another raft – “yet another” because there were already many rafts emptily standing by; Indonesian tourists had perhaps not yet flocked to that small, tranquil village a little bit lost in the middle of the countryside.
As you can imagine, being the only tourist – a Westerner what’s more – wandering in the area and the adjacent village, I immediately attracted attention from men, women and children alike. A group of young boys swam hurriedly and frantically towards me, shouting joyfully, making silly faces (they’re the ones you can see in the pictures at the end of the album). I’ll talk about the Indonesian ladies in an upcoming post – I actually already have it drafted but I am hesitant to publish it... I wouldn’t want to compete with Fifty Shades of Grey, hahaha (update: the post is now published).