The Dream City, Paul V. Galvin 
Digital History Collection
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  AN AFRICAN BIMBA - The engraving faithfully represents an exhibit which was situated in the east gallery at the north end of the Transportation Building. It was constantly surrounded by visitors, who could only with difficulty believe that it had been used as a canoe in an African river. There was no caulking, nor did it appear that any effort had even been made to keep the water from entering the boat, though the drying out of the small logs may have made a change in the sea-worthiness of the craft. It was labeled "A Bimba, or Canoe, from Banguella, Africa." On the railing in the rear was a large crayon picture of a naked African propelling his bimba on a broad stream of water, much as any ordinary paddler would handle his boat. It is well held by the philosophers that where man sleeps under a banana tree, to be awakened for his dinner by the fall of a banana into his lap, he lets it go at that, and invents no helio-telephone to speak across space with the sun's ray, builds no Campania steamship to lash the ocean into a storm, nor girdles the earth in forty seconds with his telegraph. Yet why these negroes should build a log canoe when they might use a wool-skin or dug-out does not appear, either; and amid kyaks of Labrador, caiques of the dardanelles, gondolas of Venice, bragazzas of the Adriatic, phoenix-boats of Japan, bateaus of French pioneers, dug-outs, wool-skins and what-not, this bimba seemed to be the worst boat at the World's Fair.
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Digital History Collection
Page created: August 26, 1998