The Long March

The Long March

The Long March

The Long March

Excerpt

September 1955

In the plane flying east over the Gobi Desert there were two Czechs, three Russians, a Hungarian woman with her little girl, a South African, two French people. The first five were technicians, the sixth a technician's wife, all regaining posts they had been assigned to; the last three were on their way to China as guests of the government. At Bandung Chou En-lai had made an invitation good not only for the Conference nations but extended to include every country in the world: "Come and see." Not a little surprised at it and at our own selves, we were taking advantage of the offer. The South African was fair-haired, easygoing, casual; he was wearing a checked shirt and in his hand he held a carved and handsomely decorated primitive hatchet; he had just put in several months wandering from the Cape to Paris, London, Helsinki, Warsaw; at the Moscow airport there had been the drone of loud-speakers, but when he picked out the word Peking he rubbed his eyes: "Wake me up," he had said to a neighbor, "I must be dreaming." For my part, groggy from no real sleep and the thirty- six hours of Right punctuated by a series of silly little naps and red caviar breakfasts, I had the feeling not so much of traveling somewhere as of going to a ceremony. At Irkutsk, on the border between the USSR and Mongolia, the Russians had celebrated the imminent crossing of the line: it had been rounds of vodka, and we had touched glasses with Spanish and Portuguese passengers from another plane. We had landed at Ulan Bator, in the midst of a prairie that smelled of aniseed and warm grass; I had recognized figures, horses, the steppes I had once seen in Storm Over Asia. And now my nose to the porthole glass, gazing down at this colorless and naked desert beneath this misty sky, I was coming . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.