Setting out with pockets full of Mexican money (the currency used in China at the time), Maillart encountered a way of life now lost, but one that then had gone unchanged for centuries. Maillart describes it all with the sharp eye and unvarnished prose of a veteran reporter - the missionaries and rogues, parents binding daughters' feet with rags, the impatient Fleming lighting fires under stubborn camels.
It's a hard road, not that Maillart cares. At all times she is a witty, always-enchanted guide - except when it comes to dealing with bureaucrats. Forbidden Journey ranks among other travel narratives like Fleming's News from Tartary, (based on the same journey) and Robert Byron's The Road to Oxiana. But it is also a portrait of a fascinating woman, one of many women from the pre-WWII era who ignored convention and traveled in hidden lands.
It remains a vivid account of its time and a classic of travel literature.Forbidden Journey is the awe-inspiring story of Ella Maillart and Peter Fleming's trip from Peking in China to Srinagar in India, crossing hostile deserts and high Himalayan passes this travel book is full of accounts of the people who inhabited this wild and vast land, living in a way that had not changed in a thousand years.
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