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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xx                   A TWIG BRIDGE                             113

Diz. There are frequent glimpses of the river, which has
the exquisite green colour noticeable in nearly all the
streams of this part of Luristan. At a distance of a few
miles from Khanabad the valley, which has been pretty
wide, and allows the river to expand into smooth green
reaches, narrows suddenly, and the Ab-i-Diz, a full, strong
stream, falls in a very fine waterfall over a natural dam
or ledge of rock, which crosses it at its broadest part, and
is then suddenly compressed into a narrow passage be-
tween cliffs and ledges of bituminous limestone, the lowest
of which is a continuation of the path which descends
upon it by some steep zigzags.

Below this gorge the river opens out into a smooth
green stretch, where it reposes briefly before starting on
a wild and fretted course through deep, chasms among
precipitous mountains, till it emerges on the plains above
Dizful. These limestone cliffs exude much bitumen, and
there is a so-called bituminous spring. Our men took
the opportunity of collecting the bitumen and rolling it
into balls for future use, as it is esteemed a good remedy
for dyspepsia and " bad blood."

At the narrowest part of its channel the river is
crossed by a twig bridge wide enough for laden animals,
supported on the left bank by some tree-stems kept steady
by a mass of stones. In the middle it takes a steepish
upward turn, and hangs on to the opposite cliff at a con-
siderable elevation. The path up from it to the top of
the cliff is very narrow, and zigzags by broken ledges
between walls of rock. For loaded animals it is a very
bad place, and the caravan took an hour and a half to
cross, though only four mules were unloaded, the rest
being helped across by men at their heads and tails.
Several of them fell on the difficult climb from the
bridge. It would be bad enough if the roadway of
osiers were level, but it shelves slightly to the south,

VOL. II                                                                          I