Régis Evariste Huc
Author: Régis Evariste Huc
Title: Travels in Tartary, Tibet and China
Destination: Northern China to Lhasa
Length: 2 years
Type: by caravan
An adventure – sometimes
The story: REH is a French missionary in China during the first half of the 19th century, during a time when many parts of the country are off-limits to foreigners and tensions between the British Empire and China are just about to boil over.
Régis Evariste Huc’s tough journey
This doesn’t keep REH from wanting to explore some of the least accessible areas of the country though, so he rounds up his colleague Joseph Gabet in order to undertake a long trek to Lhasa. The journey takes them almost two years, requires them to dress up as Lamas and learn several languages and dialects, and it almost kills them, but they eventually make it there. And this book tells their tale.
My reading experience was a bit mixed. While REH can be quite witty and straight-forward, keeping his storytelling short and interesting, I didn’t really enjoy some of the parts where he seems to be exposing his views on religion or on the general population. Of course this is probably due to his time and background, but it still gets a bit annoying sometimes. Anyway, the part where they had to cross the high plateau during winter was grade A adventure story material, and REH told it well.
insights and adventure
Overall, an interesting insight into Northern China during the latter part of the Qing-Dynasty, and a good adventure story at times.