The woeful tale of hardscrabble sojourns through China has become one of the great cliches travel literature. Pamela Logan, a onetime engineer who developed considerable skills in the martial arts tries her hand at the genre. Her version involves an attempt to reach Lhasa on bicycle and hitching rides on long-haul trucks. She never did make it to Lhasa, at least not on that trip, but it's the adventure of the journey and not the destination that makes stories of this sort worth reading.
From Publishers Weekly
Aerospace engineer Logan had been a longtime karate student with more than 30 "special training" group karate retreats under her black belt when, in 1991, she embarked on a solo retreat to a remote area of Tibet. Logan aimed to visit the region of Kham, home of the fearsome Khampa warriors, who, Logan believed, actually lived the death-facing ideal that she had trained for in karate class. She planned to befriend and learn from these men who are "notorious not only for fierceness, but for banditry and mayhem all over the Himalayas." Logan spent two years preparing for this daunting goal, plotting how she would penetrate the feudal Kham, studying both Mandarin Chinese and Tibetan. All the more surprising, then, that she finds these near-mythical warriors quite early in the book and accords the great moment only scant mention before launching into an account of her impassioned efforts to visit Lhasa. Later, she will become equally driven to see the region of Mustang. Along the way, Logan displays some fine writing: "By now an azure watercolor wash was leaking from the eastern horizon." Mostly, though, she allows only partial glimpses of her journey and of the people she became enamored of as she traveled, resulting in a frustrating, seemingly aimless travelogue.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.