Author: Polly Greeks
Title: Embracing the Dragon
Destination: Great Wall of China
Length: a few months
Type: mostly hiking
The story: In 2001, PG is working as a journalist in New Zealand. She does and interview with Nathan Hoturoa Gray (who at the time is trying to walk the length of the Great Wall), falls in love with him and decides to tag along. They walk together for a few hundred kilometers, share the hardships and the joy, and eventually they make a decision on their relationship.
Polly Greeks’s different story from the Great Wall
I thought it was funny that while Gray’s account of the whole ordeal was just so horrible, this one wasn’t that bad. Okay, PG doesn’t have a clue about China (much like Gray), but she seems to have a broader perspective than him. And by broader perspective I mean that she doesn’t just talk about her esoteric findings all the time.
There is the story of a relationship to tell here, and a strange country that is worth to explore, and PG tries her best to do that. In fact, just when she is taking her time to give us a few details about the people she meets (like the rich guy who takes them in on his country estate), her writing is really at its best.
So why is this only a 5/10 then? Well, the book could have used some more polishing. I would have particularly liked for her to get rid of Gray’s bullshit:
“‘The Chinese can tell what you’re thinking. They’ll respond accordingly,’ Nathan told me.”
But it wasn’t such a bad read after all.