On one of my recent weekly shopping trips to "Netto", I was perusing the random phantasmagorical collection of consumer goods in the central aisle when I came across a pack of dish cloths made from bamboo! Yes, bamboo! Obviously they had been processed and woven but they are almost 100% bamboo and they wash our dishes very nicely.
Bamboo is quite an amazing plant. There are many different varieties and you can do lots of things with it. You can, like a panda, eat it. You can make drinking vessels from it and even knives. Musical instruments - drums and flutes. Rafts and poles to punt the rafts along. Fences, woven floor mats, baskets, containers for steaming food in, hula hoops, canes for runner beans, table mats... Its usefulness must surely outdo the very adaptable coconut palm.
In Macau, we saw a Chinese theatre's vast marquee erected near the Maritime Museum. When I pulled back the gaudy canvas and peeped inside - I could hardly believe it. The whole internal framework was constructed entirely of bamboo and this marquee could have easily accommodated five hundred people as well as a full size stage.
In Kowloon, opposite our room in the fantabulous Luxe Manor Hotel, I noticed a high rise building in the process of refurbishment and running up the exterior was a huge intricate network of scaffolding - again made entirely from bamboo. See the picture below. It made me think that long ago, westerners probably got the idea for tubular scaffolding directly from Chinese bamboo technology. Quite amazing:-
Kowloon April 2009