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Full Circle

Day 72: Guiyang to Nanning

Michael Palin - Full CircleVery tired but slept badly. Sure sign of mental fatigue and we are not yet a third of the way round the Pacific. Lie awake, listen to the rain and think of the days ahead. A twenty-hour train journey south to Nanning and then a border crossing into Vietnam. Borders are the stress points on a journey like this. No country in the world welcomes a film crew with open arms, but this one looks particularly sticky. Communist country to communist country. Not a time for the weak or wounded.

It's 8.15 in the morning.

Turn over and try to grab another half-hour's sleep.

The telephone rings.

'You like Miss?'

Later. On the way to the station we pass a 30-foot statue of Chairman Mao. It is the first one I've seen in China. He is, I'm told, admired, but definitely no longer revered.

South of Guiyang our train runs through Mediterranean-like alpine scenery. Pine trees and sandy heathland. Dusk doesn't linger here and it's quite dark by the time I visit the dining car with John Lee, our Shanghainese fixer who has been a tower of strength on this leg of the journey.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 72
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Guiyang
  • Book page no: 104

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