Himalaya by Michael Palin
Photographs by Basil Pao
Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004
Himalaya, Palin’s sixth travelogue, which accompanies the
BBC television series of the same name, is a diary of his journey
along the world’s greatest mountain range.
In 2003, Palin and his team journeyed for six months
for 3000 miles along the length of the Himalayas from the Khyber
the Brahmaputra Delta, passing through Pakistan, India, Nepal,
Tibet, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh – some of the most visually
but dangerous regions of the world.
Although he does give a brief historical and political background
to the areas in which he travels, Palin focuses more on the people
who live in the region and their cultures and customs. Expressing
a genuine interest in and respect for the people he meets, from
the Dali Lama to the people in the street, Palin displays extraordinary
good humour, patience and off-beat charm. It is Palin’s sense
of wonder and of fun in the situations that he encounters that
makes Himalaya a joy to read.
The 300 accompanying photographs by Basil Pao beautifully capture
the sensational sights and scenery of the journey.
Joanne O’Connor in The
Observer quotes a
survey in which 1,000 travellers were asked to name their ideal
Michael Palin came first, pipping Jesus Christ and Elvis. As the
ideal companion for the armchair traveller, Michael Palin, with
his unique wit, charm and wisdom, is unrivalled.
This book could easily have been a glorified rehash of the TV script
but, aided by the handsome photography of Basil Pao, it stands
on its own merits and Palin is astute enough to know that what
makes good telly doesn’t always work on the page. Palin’s
status as the world’s favourite travelling companion is safe
Joanne O’ Connor, The Observer
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