Achill Moser

Overall Rating: 1.5
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Author: Achill Moser
Title: Abenteuer China. [The China Adventure.]
Time: 1986
Destination: China
Length: a few months
Type: walking + a boat ride

Mixed bag of 80s

[Note: This one isn’t out in English yet I believe.]

The story: We’re in the 1980s, and German adventurer AM is in his early thirties. He embarks on two different trips through China, one of which is going to take him on foot from Turpan to Dunhuang in the Gobi desert, the other one being a boat ride along the Long River (Changjiang). Sometimes there is a buddy with him in order to take pictures, but he mostly travels alone.

Achill Moser’s landscapes and travel tips

The resulting book is an unorthodox mix of travelogue, coffeetable book and travel guide. In fact, it is essentially made up of 5 parts: a few paragraphs about the journey and about China in general, a travelogue about the walk through the Gobi, another travelogue about the boat ride along the Long River, a few pages of glossy photographs (which were okay) and finally a section with advice on travel in China in the 1980s.

Reading this book is like eating from a mixed bag of nuts. Some of them you might like, while others don’t quite suite your taste. I found the travelogue parts a bit too “dreamy”, with AM displaying a strong liking for the poetic aspects of traveling. Sort of like watching a movie with too many (and too long) panoramic shots. I thought AM’s insights about China were not very original, but they provided a non-China-expert view about the country as seen from the 1980s, and I thought that was pretty interesting.

not for everyone

You might like this book if you are a die-hard China fan, or if you are interested in this particular form of adventure. Don’t expect too much interaction with the population, don’t expect a coherent storyline, enjoy the pictures, enjoy looking at China before 1989.

A 6/10.

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