Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China

Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China

Paul Theroux

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 0618658971

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Paul Theroux, the author of the train travel classics The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express, takes to the rails once again in this account of his epic journey through China. He hops aboard as part of a tour group in London and sets out for China's border. He then spends a year traversing the country, where he pieces together a fascinating snapshot of a unique moment in history. From the barren deserts of Xinjiang to the ice forests of Manchuria, from the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton to the dry hills of Tibet, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.
















front and had their pictures taken, some roistered there. On my second night the room next to mine was occupied by a pair of newlyweds playing Russian rock and roll on a cassette machine until, at two in the morning, I banged on their door and told them to shut up. The groom appeared, drunken and drooling and a foot taller than me, but when he saw I was a foreigner he decided not to attack me. Behind him in the room, a young woman encouraged him. In defiance, they turned the music even louder for

I was thrown out of my seat and bumped my head. "Sorry!" Mr. Fu said, still speeding. Most of the curves were so tight that Mr. Fu had no choice but to go slowly. And then I sipped tea from my thermos and passed cassettes to Miss Sun, who fed them into the machine. After a hundred miles we had finished with Brahms. I debated whether to hand her the Beethoven symphonies, as I listened to Mendelssohn. I drank green tea and looked at the sunny road and snowy peaks and listened to the music, and I

cravat." Mr. Xiao said, "People have started wearing them. And of course a tie is often necessary if you travel abroad." He had recently been to Singapore, he said. "I used to teach there," I said. "It is an economic miracle," he said, and smiled, adding, "and a cultural desert. They have nothing but money. Their temples are like toys to us. They are nothing—they are not even real. Their Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is an Oriental posing as a Westerner. But he is not all bad. For example, he

(Rehabilitation Through Labor) had declined in popularity. I specifically wanted to know what Comrade Ning thought about capital punishment since, along with Deng's reforms, in the three years between 1983 and 1986, 10,000 people were executed in China—and not only murderers, but also rapists, arsonists, swindlers and thieves. On August 30, 1983, there was a public execution in Peking of 30 convicted criminals. It was held in a sports stadium, which held a cheering crowd of 60,000 people. Soon

training center. We don't want these acrobats to be mind-empty, so after their morning practice they study math, history, language and literature." He said that in 1986, 30 candidates were chosen from 3000 applicants. They were all young—between ten and fourteen years old—but Mr. Liu said the bureau was not looking for skill but rather for potential. "We also have a circus," he said. "Also a school for animal training." This interested me greatly, since I have a loathing for everything

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