|A Christmas Message from Michael
by Michael Palin on 19 December 2003 4:24pm
I don't want to sound like the Queen or anything, but it seems as good an
opportunity as any to use this season of festive cheer to post a quick
update on progress through the Himalaya.
At times I thought I might never see Christmas 2003. Especially on the trek
up to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. As if steady climbing and increasing
altitude weren't enough, my entire nasal and bronchial system decided to
protest at what I was doing, with the result that I could hardly breathe,
speak or move by the time I reached the Camp at 4,095 metres (13,400 feet).
However the camera recorded my discomfort and there will be croaky pieces to
camera to remind me of the wretchedness of it all.
However, a month or so later I almost skipped up to Everest Base Camp and
was happy to go on following the yak herders well above the 5,350-metre
(17,500-foot) mark where we turned back. Though there was a lot of walking and often pretty uncomfortable
accommodation, we should have some pretty striking footage of the high
Himalayas as the days were bright and clear. The nights, however were pretty cold and as there is no heating in Tibet
everywhere felt pretty severe once the sun had gone down.
We reached Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, or Tibet as we
used to know it, in November and pushed on north onto the bleak and
curiously Sahara-like Tibetan Plateau - a huge desert at 15,000 feet.
We finished our filming in Yunnan in South-West China, where the Himalaya
ends in a series of mighty river gorges.
Back home in time to be sent out on the signing trail for the Sahara
paperback and the massive, rock-like, but totally brilliant (for the price)
Python autobiography. Thanks to all who came along.
Our team leaves again in January for more filming, and after that much
editing, commentary writing... oh, and I nearly forgot, a wonderful new book,
"Himalaya", which will bring me to the signing tables again in the autumn of
Rumours of my kidnapping in Nepal in October were a little exaggerated, but
we did meet with a group of Maoist guerrillas in a very out of the way
village, but they seemed not the slightest bit interested in us, and instead
abducted the military who had been detailed to look after us.
All will be revealed!
Suffice it to say that this has been as tough - and rewarding - a journey as
any I've ever done.
Happy Christmas and thanks to everyone who keeps the website buzzing away. We
all appreciate your contributions, so keep on telling us about YOUR travels.
I must go and stuff the turkey. Well, it'll make a change from yak,
December 19 2003
To accompany the upcoming series Michael's told you about, we have added a brief introduction to the Himalaya to Palin's Travels. To find out more about the region, including photos of Michael's journey and a map, visit <a href="http://www.palinstravels.co.uk/static-181"> the site here</a>.
We are also pleased to announce the lucky winner and runners-up to our recent 80 Days DVD competition.
Ása Bryndís Gunnarsdóttir won the competition, with a signed 80 Days DVD and paperback copy of Sahara. Congratulations Ása - we hope you enjoy many happy hours of viewing and reading!
Our runners-up, winning either a signed DVD or paperback, were:
Congratulations to everyone who participated. And, if you weren't lucky this time around, we are now running another competition. <a href="http://www.palinstravels.co.uk/static-150">Enter here</a> to win a copy of Basil Pao's photo collection, Inside Sahara, signed by Basil himself, as well as an exclusive Himalaya Production Team T-shirt.
That's all for now. May we wish you all the very happiest of festive seasons all around the globe. We'll be in touch again next year but, until then, all the very best,
The Palin's Travel Team