Mink Machine

Review: Full Circle

Full Circle

The BBC travel shows with Michael Palin are among the most well-produced mainstream narratives out there. He has made several trips made into books and TV series. This one describes a lap around the Pacific Ocean, a quite original itinerary.

He starts in Alaska, makes his way down eastern Russia to Japan and passes Australia before reaching South America, starting the long way up to Alaska again. The trip covered 50 000 miles in 270 days.

I found the book ten years ago in London and since then I’ve come back several times to reread some of the chapters when I was about to travel the same way as that particular chapter, such as the ferry passage across the Korea Strait or driving along Highway 1 in California.

Since he travels with an army of crewmen, the authenticity is unfortunately sometimes on par with Mariah Carey visiting an African village in high heels. But Palin mostly makes up for it by using his dry British humor and charming demeanor.

For instance, my favorite TV series by Palin is his Sahara excursion. This clip is from an episode where he boards a 2 kilometer long train to cross some of the desert:

As you can see it is not exactly a mainstream tourist destination, but at least he gets on the train. I would love to go on this train as well, but I suppose it wouldn’t work as smooth without being a celebrity followed by a team of cameramen.

Comments

No comments yet.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured stories

The dark days of Sarajevo

"The city survived on the edge of annihilation and has started to recover, but the stone walls still seem to cry out in lament of all the horrible things they have seen."

Reliving history in Washington D.C.

"As I entered the heavily guarded Rotunda in the center, some of the most famous documents in the world laid before me."

Alone in Kyoto

"I tried my best to sneak across the building, but the floor revealed me each time. I suppose I would make a lousy ninja."

Roaming the cobblestones of Istanbul

"Inside the church there are still traces of rune inscriptions made during the Viking age by Varangians, an elite guard made up of Scandinavian immigrant warriors."

A journey through Iran

"I woke up freezing on a Persian rug with aching back. Behind a corner I saw the damned rooster that kept me awake during many hours."

On the Trans-Siberian

"Since the toilets were locked during the seven hour stop, we had to bribe the provodnitsas to use the facilities. Then came the Mongols."