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  • Location: China

China Road

China Road

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: Come along China’s Route 66

  • ISBN: 978-0747593355
  • Genre: Travelogue

What you need to know before your trail

Running 3,000 miles from the east-coast boomtown of Shanghai to the border of Kazakhstan in the north-west, Route 312 – China’s ‘Route 66’ – is a road that Rob Gifford has always wanted to travel. Gifford’s journey and his desire to get to the heart of this country make China Road an outstanding and funny travel narrative – part pilgrimage, part reportage – which illuminates a country on the move.

Travel Guide

China’s Route 66

He follows Route 312 northwest from Urumqi to the border with Kazahstan

Map from the book

Map from the book

The main strength of this book lies in the author’s ability to link the past to the present, the historic China to the modern Chinese nation.
This fascinating book delivers so much more even than it promises. The Journalist, Rob Gifford is leaving China where he has visited and lived for 20 years with his family. He has now sent his family home and is making one last trip from Shanghai in the east to the Kazakhstan border in far west. His route is the 312 road, which follows for part of its length the old Silk Road.

Shanghai – the glitz and glamour

Shanghai consumes for me four whole days. I could  have stayed weeks. He visits the old HJewish ghetto and realised that this was the pat of town where more than 20, 000 European Jews escaped in the late 1930s because Shanghai was the only place in the world that didn’t require them to have a visa.

Journey westwards

As he leaves Shanghai and travels westwards however, he encounters a very different China. He discovers it through travels and talking to his fellow travellers
“how foreigners see China often has as much to do with their own characters and prejudices……as the reality on the ground” (surely actually a good working hypothesis for any situation!).

The length and breadth of the country

This is a long journey but a fascinating one with a stop or visit to a series of small towns and even smaller villages. they’re not all easily accessible either which makes for a very interesting journey. China, and its people, is a country of contrasts he says.

“if you’re not confused, then you simply haven’t been paying attention”.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  China Road

Destination: China  Author/Guide Rob Gifford

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