The Human Wheel

This last february I found myself at a religious festival in the small outpost of Hsipaw, Burma. I had met a few local guys earlier in the day who insisted that I jump on the back of their bike and head out of town with to the pagoda that evening. When we arrived I was immediately drawn to the bright lights of the big ferris wheel at the end of the field.

 When I got there, I was slightly bemused by the apparent lack of cables and mechanics attached to the 40 foot wheel, and couldn't figure out how on earth the thing was meant to revolve. As if in answer to my question, two young men of about 16 darted towards the shakey wheel, and scaled it in a matter of seconds.

Once at the top, and the passenger somewhat insecurely seated in the bottom cart, the first youth hurled himself from the top, gripping on to one of the other carts, pulling the wheel around with him. The second swiftly followed suit, and the wheel began to gather pace. Two others at the bottom now grabbed the swinging carts flying past them, and where launched into the air to the top of the wheel to repeat the process. The system became a sort of dance as the boys rotated and launched and rotated and launched and the wheel spun round much to the delight of the little passengers.

Of course, I had to have a go..