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Himalaya

Day 76: Shigu to the Tiger Leaping Gorge

Michael Palin - HimalayaBefore we can have our heartstrings tugged, we have to survive a mile-long walk along the road out of town, as coaches swish by, stirring up clouds of dust. As we cough our way along in their wake, we can at least feel morally superior to the bus-bound tourist and soon we can feel physically superior as well, as our track winds up the hillside and the road slips out of sight below. We climb steadily upwards through scrubby woodland with big views of the southern end of the gorge unrolling below. Following a stone-built irrigation channel, we arrive at a farmhouse, in whose courtyard we loosen our boots and sit down at a table set with bowls of walnuts, sunflower seeds and crisp, delicious pears as round as apples.

The farm also has rooms and is run by Li Yuan's wife. Like him she is quietly efficient, attentive and smiles a lot. She's also a fine cook, providing us with a sumptuous lunch of rice, fresh mushrooms, liver and green chillies, kidney, pork, tomato and egg and a bowl full of quivering grey tubes that no-one touches.

They're both from the Naxi (pronounced Na-hee) people, one of the rich mix of ethnic minorities in Yunnan.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 76: Shigu to the Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Quiaotou
  • Book page no: 178

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