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Full Circle

Day 64: Wushan

Wushan, China 
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Hair wash and scalp massage, value for money from the hairdressers of Wushan.
Michael Palin - Full CircleWe are travelling in a fragile sampan which adds to the drama of the scenery, and Victor is pointing out the graves in the cliff walls and the holes from which there once projected, during the Han dynasty, about the time of Christ, the supports for a walkway running 60 miles up the gorge. He also answers my questions about the Chinese predilection for giving animal characteristics to natural features. At one point he congratulates me on spotting a small outcrop looking vaguely like a dog.

'Good,' he says. 'Good imagination.'

His English is quite fluent but spoken with a rolling American accent which can create misunderstandings. Dragon, for instance, sounds like 'jerking', and it's a while before I realize what 'Jerking' Gate Gorge really is. At another time he talks of 'hawk' regularly descending over the gorge. I look up but can't see anything. Birds are pretty rare in China - outside soup and cages. Fraser, our sound man, seeing my bafflement, asks:

'Do you mean fog?'

Victor nods vigorously.

'Yes, Yes! Hawk... thick hawk.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 64
  • Country/sea: China
  • Place: Danning River
  • Book page no: 94

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