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Full Circle

Day 63: The Yangtze River - Yichang to Wushan

Wushan, China 
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Nightlife, Wushan.
Michael Palin - Full CircleThe tree-lined main street looks about as dangerous as Disney World but he walks ahead of us like a Chinese Robert Mitchum, jacket hung loose across his shoulders, chewing on a matchstick. It's clear, after passing one or two attractive street-side establishments, that his idea of 'having a beer' means more than merely having a beer. We leave the main street and walk a little way up a side road where he conducts some business with a middle-aged woman who casts repeated and unimpressed looks in our direction before finally indicating a doorway. We climb three floors past dimly-lit rooms. We are shown into a glum reception area with leather sofas and are given a plate of biscuits. But it is not until the ladies actually appear that we finally catch on. Hasty exits all round. Honestly.

Unlike most small provincial towns, Wushan actually grows noisier as the night goes on. At midnight I set my Martin Amis to one side and pull the duvet over my head. The dissonant chorus of karaoke, bus engines, firecrackers, drunken arguments, riverboat sirens and the sharp, ugly 'eek!' of tricycle-taxi horns make rather a mockery of the 'Do Not Disturb' sign I've hung on the door. (Only in the morning do I find that it actually reads 'Do Not Disturd'.)
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 63
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Wushan
  • Book page no: 92

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