East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

How much we changed

I have just finished reading the memoir of an Italian missionary priest that went from Hong Kong to Moscow in 1928, crossing China by train, river boat and various land transports (caravans, camels, etc) as he traced backward the itinerary originally travelled by Marco Polo.

Interesting read, all things considered, especially because father Capra, that’s the name of the priest, basically covers the same ground of the classic Fleming-Maillart Chinese Turkestan adventure, only with a completely different perspective. Where Fleming and Maillart are witty and crisp, turning a bemused eye on the ups and downs of their adventure, father Capra acts as an envoy not only of the Church but of the Italian Royal Geographical Society, and the Fascist Regime. His observation as not only cultural, but political and economic.

Continue reading