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Himalaya

Day 80: Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake, China 
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Namu, the nicest narcissist.
Michael Palin - HimalayaThere are problems, however. The architect backed out halfway through, she's had to sack the last lot of builders and is down to her last 5000 yuan (about 350).

She looks around at the mess, apparently unperturbed.

'My mamma think I'm crazy.'

I walk down some steps to a long, curving room with floor-to-ceiling window spaces, and there is the woman who so affected her life. There is Mamma, almost silhouetted against the declining sun. She's short and wiry, wears a Mao-style fur hat and is smoking a cigarette. A doughty little lady with shrewd, quick eyes. She sees me taking in the bare walls and empty sockets of the unfinished room and when I turn back to her I can see the ghost of a smile. A quiet smile of satisfaction. Or is it just the smile of experience, the smile of a mother who knows that she understands her daughter better than her daughter will ever understand herself.

On the way back to the hotel we pass by the local village, to which Namu donated a school for 60 children. We detour to look at it. It's run down and neglected. We can't get in but we circle it and try to peer inside. Namu mutters something. She looks puzzled and vaguely hurt by the state of it, but I have the feeling she's not surprised.

A little deflated, we return to the road. Namu dives into a car and heads back. Needing a bit of a breather, I walk back beside the lake, which is peaceful and unspoilt here.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 80: Lugu Lake
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Lugu Lake
  • Book page no: 189

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  • China
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