into china

Boy, can school reading sometimes be interesting! This time it was a real pleasure to read John Man's 'Xanadu: Marco Polo and Europe's Discovery of the East'. In this book, he is tracking down the route along which Marco Polo travelled through China in the 13th century. Marco Polo was known to exaggarate and use his imagination when telling about what he saw and encountered in China.
Marco Polo's vivid and occasionally misinterpreted descriptions of his travels inspired the medieval artist Granger to depict dragons in China. Photo found at
Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 3 'Into China':

"Like a comet at the extreme adge of China's gravitational influence (..)"

"Far ahead, glowing beyond a corridor of mountains like a rising moon, loomed 'the glistening mass of a great snowy dome'."

"The borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan were as sensitive as sunburned skin (..)"

"(..) the surrounding peaks glowing like polished saws in the setting sun."

"(..) and all around, the mountains, rugged as crumpled cardboard, and snow-capped."

"The cleft which leaves the north peak several kilometres from the southerly one is now filled by the greatest of its fourteen glaciers, which looks like white scar tissue healing the mountain's wound."

"(..) a collection of hills that seem to belong on the moon: light grey, rounded as pillows, and veiled by a mist that turns them into ghost-mountains."

"The road passes a dreid-up lake made of sand so fine that the wind whips it into gossamer curtains, which drift like mist over the mountains, coating them with fine grey dust."

"An ice-cap clamps like a hand over mountain-top, with glacial fingers reaching down steep side-valleys."

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