01 October 2007

Forbidden Journey

This is another excellent book by Ella Maillart. In this book she writes about her journey through China from Beijing down to Xi'an to the southern Silk Road between the Taklamakan and Tibet to Kashgar, and then down to Srinagar in Kashmir.

But what really makes her travel books different (especially this one) is that she traveled at the end of an era. Even though Maillart's trip through China was in 1935, just 72 years ago, it's a completely different world all across China. This trip would no longer be nearly impossible. A hassle, yes, especially along some parts of the journey, but in general very doable. The ethnic makeup of some areas has changed dramatically. The government is totally different. And most of all, the people are different. How could they not be?

Maillart truly is an amazing woman. One thing I learned about her today is that she organized tours to Asia for over 30 years till 1987. I would have loved to have traveled with her!


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