Full Circle: One Man's Journey by Air, Train, Boat and Occasionally Very Sore Feet Around the 20.000 Miles of the Pacific Rim
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Volcanoes mark Palin's journey like stepping stones. He climbs one which has freshly erupted and is still smoking. He is forced to negotiate mountains and plunging gorges, cross glaciers and dodge icebergs. He follows great rivers like the Yangtze and the Amazon to some of the most remote places on earth, and he confronts the notorious Cape Horn and the windswept beaches of western Alaska.
The people Palin meets provide a constant supply of surprises, pleasures and lessons in life. He visits a Gulag camp in Siberia with one of its few remaining survivors, talks to head-hunters in Borneo, eats maggots in Mexico and rustles camels in the deserts of Australia. He's stood up on a date in Adelaide, taken short on the banks of the Amazon, allowed to land a plane at Seattle and sing with the Pacific Fleet choir in Vladivostok.
Full Circle is the record of a journey of several lifetimes and of the often colourful, sometimes disgusting, frequently hair-raising, once or twice hysterical but almost always beautiful world that stretches around the Pacific Ocean.
being taken onwards to Europe. The conquistadors, recognizing a good thing when they saw one, decided to become settlers. A land-rush followed the gold-rush. The colonists found that anything would grow here. The only trouble was that, as so many Indians had died either in fighting or from diseases like smallpox introduced from Europe, they did not have enough labour. So thousands of slaves duly arrived on the Spanish Main, carried from Africa in boats owned largely by Englishmen. With the
countries on the other side of the earth are less of a mystery and more of a revelation. This is a record of a year of wonder. Michael Palin London 1997 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, my undying gratitude to my fellow travellers. Most of them have trudged round the world with me before and they know that I can never convey in words my esteem for their work, their ability, and the fact that none of them makes a lot of noise at breakfast. Clem Vallance, once again, set about the
beside the road, are monuments to the Vietcong army that defeated the French and the Americans. Nothing grandiose or militaristic; often nothing more than a whitewashed obelisk. The box-girder bridges across the Red River still show patches and repairs from the American bombings of the seventies. We are in the centre of Hanoi by six o’clock - twelve hours after leaving Nanning. Two hours later I’m sat in a cyclo, something like a bath chair attached to a bicycle frame. My driver, who pedals from
the town in the early afternoon, our bus winding its way round long steep hairpins into a narrow gorge. All roads lead to Manila, but agonizingly slowly. The reason for much of our delay today is the same as the reason why Great Britain had a bad summer in 1992 - Mount Pinatubo. When this volcano erupted in June 1991 it was one of the biggest explosions of the century. It hurled ash and mud 25 miles into the air, high enough and thick enough for it to reach the band of cloud that circles the
these questions I put to my Indonesian travelling companion, Eko Binarso as we pull out onto the wet, steamy streets of Jakarta shortly after eight o’clock on a 650-mile drive between here and the north-eastern port of Surabaya from which we shall try to find a boat through the islands and on to Australia. Eko, short, thick-haired, mid-thirties, founder of a successful trekking business, reckons that on the whole people drive more calmly during Ramadan as their stomachs are less full, and